Rob Sgarlata“Listen, Learn, Lead.”  Last year, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue spoke to our team after a hot August practice.  He challenged our student-athletes to listen, learn and lead throughout their time on the Hilltop.  In our meeting yesterday, I issued the same challenge to our team following a tough 17-13 loss to Patriot League opponent, Colgate.

Every Patriot League opponent is a challenge.  They are well-coached, talented and tough football teams.  Colgate proved to be all three of these things on Saturday.

Defensively, I thought our players did a great job of executing the game plan.  We limited Colgate to 17 total points on the day. We also forced three turnovers.  Captains Hunter Kiselick and Matt Satchell accounted for all three fumble recoveries.  Leo Loughery turned in another outstanding performance with 14 total tackles.  Freshman Brennen Sawicki had a breakout game with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss.

Colgate runs a ball-control offense and holds time of possession to limit the opponent’s offensive possessions.  To combat this, we knew we needed to be extremely efficient on offense.  In the first half, we were anything but efficient.  Seven total drives resulted in five punts, a turnover on downs, and a critical fumble in the red zone.

At halftime, we were able to regroup offensively.  We were able to put together a few good drives in the second half. No. 35 Joel Kimpela had an outstanding day with 104 yards rushing on 22 attempts with most of the yardage coming in the fourth quarter.  Justin Hill continued to be a dominant player with eight catches for 98 yards.  Henry Darmstadter continued to be a consistent weapon.  He was perfect on the day with two critical field goals.  Kyle Nolan scored our only touchdown of the day on a nice 10-yard touchdown run.

At the end of the day, a loss is a loss.  However, I was very impressed with how we came back in the fourth quarter.  At the start of the fourth quarter, Darmstadter hit a field goal to make the score, 17-3.  On the following kickoff, Ben Priddy executed a perfect “pop-over” kickoff which was recovered by freshman wide receiver Brandon Williams.  Four plays later, the score was 17-10.  Our defense forced a three and out on the next drive.  The energy on the sideline was electric as our offense took over from our own 23 yard line. The ensuing drive stalled and Darmstadter kicked his second field goal of the day to make the score 17-13. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure another possession, and the final score was 17-13.  A highlight film can be found here.

As important as it is for our players to “listen, learn and lead” regarding the Colgate game, I think it is as important for them to carry this concept into their everyday lives in the spirit of “4 for 40” and “Men for Others.”

This weekend, we honored our two Friends of Jaclyn adoptees, Elijah and Jackson.  Two years ago, we welcomed Jackson and Elijah to our team.  A video of our signing ceremony can be found here.

Friends of Jaclyn (FOJ) is an organization which matches children battling pediatric brain tumors with teams to improve their quality of life.  We were honored to have the organization’s founder, Denis Murphy, join us for the weekend.  None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of Coach Kevin Doherty on our staff.  Elijah and Jackson are very important members of our program.  Our experience with FOJ has been truly special.

We have started preparations for our road trip to face a good Bucknell football team.  Following this weekend, the message to our team is very simple: we need to play four quarters of consistent, Hoya football to win against any opponent.  There are many lessons to be learned on and off of the field from this weekend.  I look forward to seeing how our student-athletes lead us towards this challenge.

Rob Sgarlata

Leave a Reply