LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College football team loss 22-13 to visiting Norwich University on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field in Leicester.
The Hawks of Becker (2-3 / 1-1 ECFC) were led by senior running back Jacob Holmes (Worcester, Mass. / Westborough), who had 43 yards rushing on ten attempts and three catches for 28 yards, including one touchdown reception. Junior quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y. / New Rochelle) threw for 48 yards and one touchdown, while senior Brandon Mulling (Naples, Fla. / Gulf Coast) had one touchdown catch for 21 yards. Senior wide receiver DeJahn Dawkins (East Hartford, Conn. / Cheney Tech) had three receptions for 21 yards and six punts for 191 yards. Senior Hugh Holmes (Bowie, Md. / Charles Herbert Flowers) rushed four times for 19 yards.
The Cadets of Norwich (1-4 / 1-1 ECFC) split their quarterback duties between junior Nolan Aurelia (Stratford, Conn. / Bunnell), who had 14 yards passing and 25 yards rushing, and junior Philippe Bazinet (Otterburn Park, Quebec, Canada / Ecole Secondaire Saint-Joseph / Kents Hill), who finished with 106 yards rushing and one score and 35 yards passing. Junior running back Quincy Williams (Brossard, Quebec, Canada / Trinity Pawling) was a workhorse with 21 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back Patrick Brown (Pooler, Ga. / South Effingham) ran 12 times for 59 yards.
On the opening drive, the Cadets drove down the field and had a third and two from the Becker 17. Becker senior defensive lineman Alexander Stewart (Gifford, Fla. / Sebastian River) burst through the Norwich offensive line to tackle the running back for a loss, forcing the visitors to settle for a 36 yard field goal from senior kicker Wesley Medeiros (Gilford, N.H. / Charlotte Christian School) as Norwich went up 3-0.
Becker ran off six plays on their first drive, but was ultimately forced to punt. Norwich went to the ground game and put on a 12 play drive 5:45 drive, the highlight coming when the Cadets went for it on fourth-and-one from the Becker 25. Brown converted, and it would lead to a 16 yard rushing touchdown from Williams. A failed two-point conversion put Norwich up 9-0.
The Hawks went three and out on their next opportunity, and after a short Becker punt the Cadets took over with excellent field position at the Becker 48. With Bazinet under center, Norwich drove down to the Becker 18, ending in another Medeiros field goal and the score 12-0.
On the ensuing drive, Sinkfeld-Shelton broke loose on third down, scampering seven yards for a first down on the Becker 34. On the very next play, however, the Cadet pass rush finally got to the signal-caller, as senior linebacker Jake Apthorpe (Honeoye Falls, N.Y. / Honeoye Falls-Lima) sacked Sinkfeld-Shelton for a loss of eight yards and forcing a fumble recovered by the Hawks. Becker would ultimately turn it over on downs, once again giving Norwich excellent field position at the Becker 39.
With Aurelia under center, the Cadets reached the 22 yard line off an option run. On first down, Becker junior lineback Angel Flores (Azusa, Calif. / Azusa) made the defensive play of the game, stripping Aurelia of the ball. Senior Davin Collins (Far Rockaway, N.Y. / New Utrecht) recovered the ball for the Hawks and returned it 48 yards to the Norwich 27. Four plays later, Sinkfeld-Shelton found Jacob Holmes in the endzone, and Becker got their first score of the game, 12-7.
Norwich responded before the break with a 13 play drive before kicking another field goal with just five seconds left in the first half. The teams went into halftime with Norwich leading 15-7.
Both teams struggled on offense to open the second half, as the Becker defense managed to stifle a Norwich rushing attack that had been so dominant in the first two quarters, but the Hawks were unable to capitalize on offense.
Becker received the opening kickoff but a pair costly penalties soon backed the Hawks up at their own three yard line. The hosts were forced to punt as Norwich took over at their own 47. The Hawks finally stifled the Cadets' rush on their drive, and this time the Norwich field goal attempt went wide right. Becker's drive soon fizzled as Sinkfeld-Shelton was sacked on back-to-back plays, and another short punt gave Norwich the ball back on the Becker 37.
Going for it on fourth down and four, Norwich was stopped well short on a tackle by Stewart. Now with sophomore Mitchell Driscoll (Rutland, Mass. / Wachusett) under center, Becker went three-and-out, but a good punt forced the Cadets to start at their own 14. Norwich had a third-and-one from their own 38, but were stuffed on back to back rushes, forcing another punt.
That remained the story until, with less than five minutes left in the game, Driscoll Driscoll escaped from the pocket, and, with two rushers on him, found Mulling for a 21 yard touchdown pass, Becker's first score since the middle of the second quarter. A failed two point conversion left the Hawks trailing 15-13 with 4:19 remaining.
But on the ensuing drive, Bazinet, under pressure at midfield, broke loose and ran 41 yards for the score, putting the Cadets up 22-13. Becker got the ball back with 2:25 left but Driscoll was intercepted with 45 seconds remaining, ending the game.
The Hawks of Becker will take the field next Saturday when they travel to SUNY Maritime for a 2:00 p.m. game. The Cadets of Norwich will be back in the Worcester area next Saturday when they play at Anna Maria College for a 1:00 p.m. ECFC matchup.