LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College football team lost 16-13 to visiting Nichols College on Saturday at Alumni Field at the Leicester campus. The Bison of Nichols improve to 2-1 while the Hawks of Becker end the day at 1-2.
Becker junior quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y. / New Rochelle) passed for 149 yards and ran for another 86. Senior running back Hugh Holmes (Bowie, Md. / Charles Herbert Flowers) rand for 93 yards, while senior wide receiver DeJahn Dawkins (East Hartford, Conn. / Cheney Tech) caught four balls for 53 yards. Senior running back Brandon Mulling (Naples, Fla. / Gulf Coast) caught two balls including one touchdown reception. Senior linebacker LaDarrius Carter (Capitol Heights, Md. / Paloma Valley) led the defense with nine tackles.
Nichols' freshman quarterback Chris Mullins (Centreville, Va. / Merrimack College) passed for 250 yards on the day. Freshman running back Joshua Pierre-Charles (Millis, Mass. / Millis) had 50 yards on the ground while sophomore wide receiver Brenden Massey (Attleboro, Mass. / Attleboro) caught five passes for 124 yards and one touchdown. Senior linebacker Matt McEvilly (Clinton, Mass. / Clinton) had a game-high 12 tackles.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Sinkfield-Shelton found Dawkins for a 42 yard reception to the Nichols 23 yard line. But the Bison defense held, resulting in a failed field goal attempt from the Hawks as Nichols took control. Under center with first down from his own 20, Mullins found Massey for long pass that saw the sophomore receiver break a tackle and escape for the full 80 yards and the score, and Nichols took the lead 7-0.
Later in the first quarter, the Hawks drove all the way down to the Bison eight yard line but were stuffed on fourth down, once again giving control back to the visitors. The opening period ended with the teams exchanging punts on three straight possessions.
Becker was driving to start the second quarter, only to fumble as they crossed into Nichols' territory. This time, the Bison put together a nine-play drive and came away with a field goal to go up 10-0.
Down double-digits, Sinkfield-Shelton drove the Hawks down the field, capping off the drive with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Mulling on third down to get Becker on the board for the first time on the day, now trailing just 10-7.
Later with just two minutes remaining in the half, the Hawks were facing a 3rd and 20 and it seemed inevitable they would be forced to give the Bison another chance to score before halftime. Demonstrating his vaunted scrambling ability, Sinkfield-Shelton turned a potential sack into a 19 yard gain, setting up a first down after going for it on fourth down and eventually closing out the first half with a 42 yard field goal from senior running back Jacob Holmes (Worcester, Mass. / Westborough) as Becker tied it, 10-10 going into the break.
The third quarter began with both teams going three-and-out. Nichols drove down to the Becker 14 but a series of penalties and a valiant stand by the Hawks on fourth down saw the hosts take over from their own 28. This time, Becker converted with a 37 yard field as the Hawks took their first lead of the game, 13-10 with 2:30 remaining in the quarter.
The start of the fourth quarter saw the Bison driving deep in Becker territory. A costly pass interference penalty gave Nichols a first and goal from the two, and Mullins took it in himself on a sneak off the right tackle for the score. Becker freshman defensive lineman Christian Perkins
(Melrose, Mass. / Melrose) blocked the extra point attempt, and the visitors kicked off with a 16-13 lead and 13:55 left in the game.
A Becker drive took 7:21 off the clock, but ultimately ended in a punt. Nichols took over with a three point lead and 6:32 remaining in the game. Looking to run out the clock, the Bison forced the Hawks' to expend their final timeout with 1:47 left in a 2nd and 13 situation from the Becker 26. With a 4th and five with 16.8 seconds remaining, Nichols ran the quarterback option to pick up the first down and secure the win.
Next weekend will be Becker's bye week, but the Hawks will be back on the field on Saturday, October 1st when they travel to Gallaudet University for their 12:00 p.m. Nichols will have their next contest on Saturday, September 24th when they travel to Endicott College.