NEWTON, Mass. – In dreary conditions and facing a 16-0 first half deficit to Becker College, Mount Ida College football looked to be in the worst of shape. The Mustangs, however, scored the next nine points to climb back into the game, and then scored two touchdowns in the last six minutes to deliver a delirious crowd full of parents and alumni celebrating Mount Ida Fall Fest a 23-19 victory in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Junior running back Travis O'Brien (Portsmouth, R.I.) punched in an 11 yard score to give the Mustangs the lead for the first time all day with 3:30 left in the game, capitalizing on a fumble by the Hawks with a drive that took just forty-five seconds.
O'Brien ran for 83 yards on the day and sophomore quarterback Jack Sheehan (St. Petersburg, Fla.) threw for 183 yards and a touchdown on 17-33 passing, including a 22-yard pass to Matt Greenman (Portsmouth, R.I.), which pulled Mount Ida to 16-9 at halftime.
The Hawks got themselves in front by taking the opening drive 67 yards and punching in a 1-yard run by Brandon Mulling (Naples, Fla.), but the Mustang defense held the Hawks to 1-11 on third down and allowed just ten points throughout the whole game.
Rainy, sloppy conditions caused problems for the Mustang special teams, and Becker capitalized on back to back Mount Ida punts, where muffed or high snaps led to a team safety, and then a fumble recovery, as Shane Padeni (Leicester, Mass.) pounced on the ball in the end zone.
A safety for the Mustangs put the home team on the scoreboard, as Devin Broadley (Hyannis, Mass.) pinned the Hawks at their own two yard-line, and on the first play of the next possession, Dwayne Hunter-Parker (Waterbury, Conn.) got to running back Jacob Holmes (Worcester, Mass.) in the backfield and dropped him in the end zone.
The Mustangs got the ball back and went for it on fourth and 16 at the Becker 22, with Sheehan's pass for Greenman tipping off the defender's hands, and the senior wide receiver was able to snag it out of the air off the deflection and scamper into the end zone.
Holmes, who also handles the kicking duties for Becker, knocked home a 22-yard field goal with 9:18 left in the game to re-up the Hawks lead to ten points, but Mount Ida took the ball and used eight straight pass attempts to get down to the Becker ten-yard line, starting with a 26 yard completion from Sheehan to Shakir White (Salem, Mass.).
Sheehan took care of business by rushing for a 5-yard touchdown, and Tyler Rogers (Bridgewater, Mass.), added the extra point to pull Mount Ida to within a field goal.
Three plays later, Driscoll fumbled at the Becker 39, and Mount Ida's Josh David (Sandown, N.H.) pounced on the ball.
Already in the opponent's end, Sheehan hit White for another 26-yard hook-up, before O'Brien's 11-yard rush on 1st and ten gave Mount Ida the lead.
With just seconds remaining, Becker got the ball back at the Mount Ida 45 yard line, but Mike Obianigwe (Roslindale, Mass.) got to Becker quarterback Mitchell Driscoll (Rutland, Mass.) from behind and knocked his pass down as the quarterback tried to heave it towards the end zone.
Driscoll was 4-17 for 107 yards passing, with DeJahn Dawkins (East Hartford, Conn.) catching two passes for 59 yards. Dawkins also punted five times, averaging 40.2 yards per punt.
Chris Medeiros (Pelham, N.H.) and Sean Chinova (Watertown, Conn.) had seven tackles apiece, while sophomore Charles Wade (Monroe, Conn.) had three tackles, half a sack, and three quarterback hurries and freshman Jarques Jones (Baton Rouge, La.) had two pass breakups.
For the Hawks, LaDarrius Carter (Capitol Heights, Md.) had eleven tackles, while Angel Flores (Azusa, Calif.) had seven tackles, 2.5 for a loss.
Mike Elsey (Killingly, Conn.) caught a team-high five passes from Sheehan, and Greenman caught four balls for 38 yards.
Mount Ida (3-4, 3-1 GNAC) hopes to continue their momentum in the conference when they head to Paxton next Saturday for a 1:00 pm game against Anna Maria College.
Becker (2-5, 1-3 GNAC) looks to knock off Husson next Saturday at 12:00 pm, as they begin a three-game home stretch to end the season.