SCHENECTADY — Union College’s first-team offense and defense hardly broke a sweat in their football season opener with Westfield State Saturday.
With the starters playing less than a half, the Dutchmen rolled to a 42-7 victory over the Owls in a display of complete domination on Frank Bailey Field.
Junior quarterback Will Bellamy was a perfect 11-for-11 passing for 192 yards and four touchdown strikes — three of them to sophomore wide receiver Andre Ross Jr. — and sophomore running back Ike Irabor added 108 yards rushing on 11 carries. Ross caught four passes for 125 yards. All of Union’s first-team players were pulled with four minutes remaining in the first half, and they never returned.
Backup quarterback John Germinerio used his unexpected playing time to his full advantage, as the junior Troy High graduate also completed all 11 of his passes for 67 yards and tacked on 22 yards rushing on two carries. Backup running back John Ferriera rushed for 81 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, Union held the Owls to just 126 yards of total offense, including a paltry 28 in the first half. The Dutchmen piled up 533 total yards and scored on four of their five red-zone opportunities.
For Union head coach Jeff Behrman, it was hard to knock much of his team’s performance on either side of the ball, and from the top to the bottom of his depth chart.
“Our offense and our defense got a lot of experience, and that should pay off for us as we go through the season,” Behrman said. “I thought we were able to run a lot of our offense that we weren’t able to do during our scrimmage, and we got to see the technique of a lot of four guys. It was a positive for sure getting so many players into the game.”
Behrman said he really didn’t know too much about Westfield State, even though the Dutchmen seemed to predict the Owls’ every move all afternoon.
“We just came out and ran our offense and our defense,” Behrman said. “We tried to keep it simple, because we didn’t have any film on Westfield State. Our defense had to keep it very simple, because they [the Owls] had a brand new offensive coordinator. More or less, we were playing our base offense and our base defense the entire game.”
As usual, Behrman got a superlative performance from his star trio on offense. Bellamy, Ross and Irabor put up stats in less than a half that many players don’t have in a full game.
“Offensively, we just allowed our playmakers to put the ball in their hands and make plays,” Behrman said. “No first-string player played in the second half.”
“Our coaching staff did a great job and had a great game plan today,” said Bellamy. “We just stuck to the game plan. All of our guys played so well today. It was great to have so many of our guys get so much playing time because there’s no replacing experience. All of our players got a lot of that today. We didn’t expect the score to be what it was.”
An example of how one-sided the game was occurred with 11 minutes left in the first half. Ross, last year’s Liberty League and ECAC Rookie of the Year, easily broke free from his defenders and was all alone in stride as he waited for Bellamy’s deep pass to come down.
“On that one play, I was nervous, because the ball seemed to be up in the air so long, and I didn’t want to drop it. I knew what Will would say,” Ross said of the play that turned into a 41-yard TD reception.
“My teammates allow me to make the plays I do because they block for me. We have so many weapons on this team. Like I said before, opposing teams can’t key on just one player,” Ross said.
Union visits Anna Maria next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Westfield State 0 0 0 7 — 7
Union 21 14 7 0 — 42
U — Ross 58 pass from Bellamy (Rodriguez kick)
U — Ross 10 pass from Bellamy (Rodriguez kick)
U — Beal 4 pass from Bellamy (Rodriguez kick)
U — Ross 41 pass from Bellamy (Rodriguez)
U — Ferreira 2 run (Rodriguez kick)
U — Ferreira 14 run (Halpin kick)
W — Cassidy 4 run (Pooler kick)