Football Earns First Win Since 2011, Beats SCS 10-7

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Football Earns First Win Since 2011, Beats SCS 10-7

Photo from Stockton Photo Inc.

Photo from Stockton Photo Inc.

Photo from Stockton Photo Inc.

NATALIA ALVAREZ PAGAN and James Best

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Pace Football won their first game since the fall of 2011 on Sat., Nov. 15 when they defeated the Owls of Southern Connecticut State University 10-7. The win comes in the final game of a trying season for the Setters, finishing 1-10.

The first half saw both teams battle it out defensively as the teams traded drives before the Owls broke free with Seth Sheridan rushing in from three yards for the touchdown.

Down 7-0 the Setters came right back later in the quarter as junior Valentino Miles broke away for a 48-yard run down the Owl’s six-yard-line. Three plays later, senior Brian Beeker scored the touchdown from the three yard mark to make it 7-7.

Coming back from the half the score was still tied up with Pace receiving possession of the ball, taking advantage of a 44 yard kickoff return by freshman Jhalen Bien-Aime, setting it up for Pace at the 41-yard line.

The Setters continued their drive, stalling momentarily at the 10-yard-line but Pace ended up taking the lead as freshman Jan Strzelecki booted a 27-yard field goal, making it 10-7.

“The key in that situation, as with every play in football, is to do your ‘1/11’,” said senior defensive back Akwasi Degraft about the play mentioned above. “There are 11 players on the field and each one has a specific job to do. As a player you trust that your brother will get the job done and he trusts that you’ll get your job done.”

Both teams put themselves in positions to score, with Pace attempting a fake field goal but missing at one point in the game, but the Setters were ultimately able to hold off the Owls for the win.

“We came out fighting in the second half; we knew if we kept the momentum on our side we would be celebrating in the locker room afterward,” said Beeker who led the team in passing with 59 yards. “Jan did a great job getting the ball through the uprights to put us in the lead. Overall we just stayed focused and didn’t settle for being ahead.”

Staying focused or “keeping it tight,” as head coach Andrew Rondeau refers, is all about maintaining focus and not letting outside distractions that are out of one’s control defer you from the task at hand.

The win was not only the first one for the Setters since 2011, when they beat Stonehill College 23-20 in the second game of the season, but it also represents the first win the program has ever had against Southern Connecticut State in 21 meetings.

Rondeau expressed happy sentiments for his team, especially for the seniors to be able to win in their final game.

“We lost some players before the game, but that turned out to be a good thing because now the other players can see just how important they are when they commit to doing good. It was good the guys got to see the fruit of their labor,” Rondeau said. “I’m very happy for the seniors especially.”

According to senior running back Blair Wyn,n, the younger players wanted to win the game for the seniors, five of them being the only remaining players from that 2011 team.

Rondeau mentioned that this meant that only five players on the team had experienced a college win in their careers. But that’s not the case anymore.

“Every game, we come focused and ready to play, but this last game especially you could feel the intensity and focus in both the offense and the defense,” Degraft said. “For us seniors we knew it was the last time we were strapping on our helmets for Pace.”

Looking ahead, the graduating seniors seem to share the same sentiment, that this win will provide the team with a foundation to keep moving forward in order to become better next year, as noted by running back Jashon Dawson.

“Now we take this as an opportunity to spring-board into recruitment and hopefully get more involvement from the campus. We want people to give us a chance, to say ‘hey they won a game, they’re getting better’

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