Sep 20, 2014
DUDLEY, Mass. - Junior Quillian Respass (Huntington, N.Y.) rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown and threw for 100 to propel the Nichols College football team to their first win of the season, a 10-3 triumph over non-conference foe Becker Saturday afternoon before nearly 3,000 fans at Vendetti Field.
Freshman Ryan Jacques (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) recorded 2.5 sacks and junior William O'Keefe (Trumbull, Conn.) racked up two more as the Bison defense held the Hawks to 185 yards of total offense while sacking Becker signal callers six times on the afternoon. The win was the first collegiate victory for first-year head coach Dale Olmsted.
"I really never envisioned my first win," said Olmsted. "I just go to work every day like these guys do. We work as hard as we can and whatever happens, happens. If you do that, things will take care of themselves. It wasn't our cleanest game. Becker is a good team who fought to the end. We're very fortunate to get this win. It's also a little overwhelming. It was a tough week of practice, but we rallied together. We help each other on and off the field, and I'm just so proud they were able to win this game."
Senior Brett Franciosi (Leominster, Mass.) was one of three Bison with three receptions on the afternoon and combined for 103 yards – 62 of which came on a kick return to open the second half. Senior Felipe Njeim (Stoughton, Mass.) and sophomore Grant Klimek (Toms River, N.J.) rushed for 22 and 21 yards, respectively.
Defensively, the Bison surrendered just 48 yards on the ground on 30 attempts (1.6 ypc). Becker junior signal caller Dylan McGuire (Somers, N.Y.) came off the bench in the second half and finished contest 3-of-9 for 101 yards – highlighted by a 68 yard hookup with junior Nicholas Sherman (Hartford, Conn.) – that led to a 26-yard field goal late in the third quarter by freshman Aryeh Moslavi (Fair Lawn, N.J.) that cut Becker's deficit to seven at 10-3.
The contest remained scoreless for the first 29-and-a-half minutes before Respass capped an 11-play, 81-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. He accounted for 51 of the 81 yards on the drive (28 rush, 23 pass) and was also aided by a roughing the passer call against Becker that negated an interception.
In the third, Franciosi's return was followed by a 23-yard scamper from Respass that gave the Bison first-and-goal from the six. The drive culminated in a 26-yard field goal for Klimek – the first of his career and the first for Nichols this season – to extend its lead to 10-0.
The turning point of the contest occurred with the Hawks driving for the tying touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Aided by four Nichols penalties, Becker worked its way down to the Nichols 22. On a fourth-and-5- McGuire took off running and picked up the first down, only to be stripped of the ball by freshman Brett McEvoy (Wrentham, Mass.). Classmate Brian Jones (Plainville, Mass.) recovered the ball and the Bison took over at their eight-yard line with 9:19 remaining in regulation.
Nichols proceeded to march 85 yards down the field, using all but 28 seconds of the game clock. After turning the ball over on downs at the Becker seven-yard line, McGuire was intercepted by freshman Brian Camacho (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on his own 29 to end the game.
"This is just outstanding," said Olmsted. "We work so hard each and every week and try not to look at the scoreboard. We just do what we need to do and play hard each and every play. This is a great win for Nichols College, especially on Homecoming weekend with all of the Bisontennial events going on. We started out a little slow. We bent but never broke. I'm so proud of the way our kids and coaches responded."
Junior captain Connor Richard (Londonderry, N.H.) paced Nichols with eight tackles while freshman Patrick Isacsson (Canyon Country, Calif.) recorded his first career interception. Sherman led all receivers with 81 yards receiving while freshman Nasir Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) tallied 20 yards on the ground for the Hawks. Sophomore Anthony Kaplan (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) notched a game-high 10 tackles (eight solo) as the Becker defense registered 11 tackles for loss on the afternoon.