Springfield Pride pummeled on Senior Day

A FIELD GOAL BY SOPHOMORE KICKER CHRISTIAN KAPP BROKE the 7-7 tie just before halftime to give Rensselaer a 10-7 lead going into the second half of the game.

In a manner fitting for Senior Day, senior quarterback Jeff Avery found senior wide receiver Logan Gaddar for a 44-yard touchdown to give the Engineers the lead late in the fourth quarter against the Pride of Springfield College. Avery passed 185 yards along with his 19th touchdown pass of the season, and Rensselaer won 17-14 to improve to 7-2 in 2015.

Early on, Springfield’s pistol offense, which featured a heavy supply of quarterback keepers, threw the Engineers’ defense off-balance. On Springfield’s second drive of the game, quarterback Jake Eglintine sprinted through the RPI defense for a 60-yard touchdown run to give them a 7-0 lead.

The Engineers responded with a nine-play, 56-yard scoring drive on their next possession. Avery rolled out and rushed for 15 yards on third down and three, near midfield, to move the chains. Later, he threw to senior wide receiver Pat Hogan for 16 yards, to move the ball to the Springfield 5-yard line. Senior running back Austin Amery capped off the drive with two runs for five yards and a touchdown, tying the game at seven.

In the second quarter, senior defensive back Brad Gahagan made a key stop on a Springfield fourth and one, tackling Eglintine for no gain at the RPI 33. Later in the quarter, Gaddar returned a Springfield punt 13 yards to place the Engineers at the Springfield 44. A 10-yard run by senior running back Matt Lane and catches by Gaddar and sophomore running back Johnny Ramsdell moved Rensselaer to the Springfield five. A pass interference penalty on Springfield gave the Engineers first and goal at Springfield’s 2-yard line. However, Springfield didn’t yield another yard and an incomplete pass by Avery on fourth and goal gave the Pride the football back.

The Engineer defense forced Springfield into a quick three and out, giving the offense another shot at the end zone with two minutes remaining in the first half. On third and six at the Springfield 26, Avery eluded the pass rush and picked up the first down. Just before the half, sophomore kicker Christian Kapp nailed a 30-yard field goal to give Rensselaer a 10-7 lead at the break.

Midway through the third quarter, Eglintine broke away from several RPI tacklers and ran down the right sideline for an 88-yard Springfield touchdown, giving the Pride a 14-10 lead. Then, the defenses took over, forcing two straight punts each.

With 6:38 left in the fourth quarter, the Engineers took over at their own 48-yard line. Sophomore running back Mike Tivinis took two carries for 18 yards to move the ball into Springfield territory. A holding penalty then moved the Engineers back to the Springfield 44-yard line. On first and 20, Avery looked down field for his favorite target. Gaddar broke free from his defender, and Avery threw the ball high, allowing Gaddar to haul it in for a 44-yard go-ahead score.

The Springfield offense stalled quickly on its next drive as the Engineer defense clamped down on the elusive Eglintine. On fourth and three, junior defensive lineman Thomas Bennett and senior linebacker Mark Grimes surged through the Pride offensive line and wrapped up Eglintine for no gain, effectively ending the game for Rensselaer.

The backfield committee of RPI totaled 114 yards rushing, led by senior rusher Nick Schlatz, who compiled 57 yards. Gaddar finished with six catches for 95 yards and a score to lead all receivers.

Eglintine led all rushers with 192 yards on 24 attempts for Springfield. Springfield only attempted two passes the entire game, completing one of them for 12 yards.

Pride linebacker Dominic Traversa led all defenders with 11 total tackles, while senior linebacker Mark Grimes led the Rensselaer defense with nine. Junior linebacker Alex Greenidge added eight tackles while senior defensive back Philip Lanieri III had seven in his last home game. Lastly, sophomore defensive lineman Diego Cuitino recorded the only two sacks of the game for the home team.

RPI will compete for the Dutchman’s Shoes Trophy against upstate rival Union College in its final game of the season next Saturday, in Schenectady, New York.