Springfield Ground Game Topples Football

Ethan Farrah - WPI Football 2021

WORCESTER -- Springfield football stayed undefeated in NEWMAC play, as the visiting Pride upended host WPI 46-17 on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Springfield improves to 3-0 in the conference, 4-3 overall, while WPI stands at 1-5 overall, 0-3 in the NEWMAC. 

Springfield scored in all four quarters, doing much of their work on the ground. The Pride racked up 591 total yards of offense, including 547 yards rushing, averaging 8.3 yards per attempt. Three members of the Pride reached the 100-yard mark, led by 192 yards on 16 attempts and two scores from quarterback David Wells (Shelton, CT). Isaiah Cashwell-Doe (Woburn, MA) finished with 110 yards on eight carries with one touchdown, while Patrick Ladas (Berlin, CT) netted 102 yards on 15 carries with a score. 

WPI's Brendan Olexa (Hatboro, PA) was 18-of-26 for 260 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. Ethan Farrah (Grafton, MA) racked up a career-high 99 yards receiving, pulling down three passes with one touchdown. Tommy Emrick (Windham, NH) also notched a career-high with 93 yards on five catches and one score. On the ground, Zachary Levy (Bellingham, MA) had 26 yards on seven attempts, while Christian Luizzi (Latham, NY) had 24 yards on two carries. 

Blake Bragaw (Niantic, CT) led the Crimson and Gray defensive corps with 10 tackles, while Frankie Polito (Shrewsbury, MA) had eight. Nica Hesel (Downingtown, PA) had two tackles for loss. 

WPI scored first, as Bryce Wade (Modesto, CA) nailed a 26-yard field goal to cap an 11-play, 66-yard drive that put the Engineers up 3-0. Springfield then needed just 20 seconds to take over the lead, which it did not relinquish. Wells broke a 74-yard run on the first Pride play from scrimmage, as the visitors went up 6-3. Springfield added a safety and a 36-yard field goal from Christian Hutra (Holmes, NY), to close the first quarter with a 11-3 lead. 

Drives from both teams stalled early in the second quarter, until Springfield's second drive of the frame ended in a one-yard touchdown from Wells to make it 18-3. The drive left just nine seconds on the clock, and though WPI's Olexa had a pair of completions, the clock ran out and the game went into the break with Springfield up 15. 

WPI's Jake Letourneau (Little Compton, RI) forced a Springfield fumble to open up the third quarter, but WPI could not take advantage, ending a nine-play drive with a sack and a pair of incomplete passes. The Pride took over and needed just three plays as Ryan Deguire (Schenectady, NY) rushed for a 54 yard touchdown to make it 25-3 where it would stay after three. 

A high scoring fourth quarter saw WPI score its first two touchdowns of the game, but Springfield tacked on three scores to extend the lead. The Engineers opened the action with an Emrick touchdown off of a 34-yard strike from Olexa that cut the lead to 25-10. Springfield answered with back-to-back rushing touchdowns, a 72-yard Cashwell-Doe sprint and a Ladas 12-yard score, pushing the advantage to 39-10. Though WPI added an Olexa to Farrah 58-yard touchdown, the Pride cemented the victory with a 2-yard touchdown run from Nicholas Raneri (North Attleboro, MA). 

Both teams continue NEWMAC action on Saturday. WPI goes on the road, playing at Norwich at noon, while Springfield hosts Merchant Marine at 1pm.