It appears as though Husson University will go into Saturday’s crucial Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game against Norwich University (Vt.) with a first-time starter at quarterback.
Sophomore Jack Hersom, who took over for the injured James McCandless in the first game of the season, suffered a concussion in Saturday’s 39-14 loss to Springfield College and coach Niles Nelson listed Hersom as “doubtful.”
McCandless is still sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Hersom has completed 45 of 81 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns. He has been intercepted seven times, including twice by Springfield. He completed 7 of 16 passes against the Pride for 49 yards.
Nelson said one of three freshmen will start in his place: Auburn’s Cody Goddard, Veazie’s Kash Keezer or Ivan Somerville of Tampa, Fla.
Goddard has completed 2 of 4 passes for 40 yards and Keezer is 1 of 1 for eight yards. Somerville hasn’t thrown a pass.
“Whoever manages the offense best in practice will get the start,” said Nelson. “They’re all a little bit different. Cody throws the ball very well; Kash does a lot of running and throws the ball well and Ivan does a little bit of both as well.”
Nelson said he has confidence in all three and pointed out they will have plenty of help.
“We’ve got a veteran offensive line; we’ve got some pretty good running backs and some pretty good fullbacks and receivers,” said Nelson.
The Eagles did regain the services of running back Justin Lindie against Springfield after he missed three games with a shoulder injury.
Lindie led the Eagles in rushing against the Pride with 45 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
“He ran well. He made some plays on his own. It’s always good to have that,” said Nelson.
The Pride racked up 315 rushing yards and 98 passing yards en route to the victory and limited Husson to 119 rushing yards and 53 in the air.
Springfield, now 4-1, entered the game as the No. 2-ranked Division III team in New England.
“’They’re a very good football team,” said Nelson. “We have to be more consistent with what we do offensively and, defensively, we have to stop teams on third down.”
Springfield converted 11 of 19 third-down plays into first downs.
Nelson also said Husson’s kickoff and kickoff return teams need to improve.
Norwich enters Saturday’s 1 p.m. game with a 3-0 conference record compared to Husson’s 1-1 mark. Norwich is 3-3 overall while Husson is 2-3.
Mount Ida is 3-1 in the conference, SUNY-Maritime is 1-1 and Gallaudet is 2-2 while Becker is 0-2 and Castleton State is 0-3.
The top two teams in the conference play in a championship game.
Husson has games left against Mount Ida, Becker and Castleton State. Husson has beaten SUNY-Maritime and lost to Gallaudet.
Norwich has beaten Gallaudet, Mount Ida and Becker.
Nelson said his team will probably have to beat Norwich to entertain any title-game aspirations.
Julius Williams leads the Eagles in rushing with 350 yards on 79 carries. James Dobson is the leading receiver with 11 catches for 169 yards. P.J. Dowe, Alfonza Brooks and Jamari Young each have seven receptions.
Defensively, linebackers Bobby Gilbert (36 tackles) and Keenon Blindow (29) and lineman Chris Dalecki (28½) have paced the Eagles. Dalecki has five tackles for losses and linebacker Emeka Uwasomba has 3½.
Husson coach duo aces 1st season
For the better part of the last two decades, coaching stability was the least of Husson University’s concerns when it came to the school’s varsity golf team.
Bruce MacGregor tallied 1,251 career wins and finished last season with a third straight North Atlantic Conference title. But last year would be his last as he opted to retire after 17 seasons.
Husson then took a novel approach and hired former Husson players Jason Harvey and Ed Meo as co-head coaches.
Rather than prove the adage of too many cooks spoiling the soup, the Harvey-Meo duo has thrived, leading the Eagles to their fourth straight NAC championship and aiming to be among the title contenders at the New England Championship tournament on Cape Cod, Mass., Monday and Tuesday.
“We both played for this team and both have the same philosophies,” said Meo. “Jason does a lot of the administrative stuff and paperwork where I’m out here and on the road with the team most of the time.”
Harvey, who also coaches Husson’s baseball team, finds the dual coaching arrangement beneficial.
“Myself having a busy schedule as baseball coach and working in admissions, it’s been great to have Ed here,” Harvey said. “I’ve put our home tournaments together and he’s been more hands-on. It’s been a semi-easy transition for the most part.”
With just one sophomore joining two juniors and two seniors to make up the team’s top five players, experience and maturity have helped, but they haven’t been the only factors.
“The guys have really grasped what we’re trying to do and run with it,” said Harvey. “The talent we had coming in and coming back, it made things so much easier. Coach MacGregor had a good solid team already in place.”
As far as philosophy, both coaches espouse the mental part of the game first.
We’re all about one shot, one after another,” Meo explained. “Don’t linger on the last one or look ahead either. You have to grind it out.”
Meo, Harvey and the players also credit home course Penobscot Valley Country Club pros John Murray and Chad Curley for helping the players fine-tune their games.
“They’ve helped us a lot through Skills and Drills, along with coaches Harvey and Meo, in practice and the mental parts of the game,” said top player and junior Kevin Byrne of Winslow.
The rest of the team includes junior Mike Hersey from Presque Isle, sophomore Matt Loubier of Winslow, senior John Ellis of Belfast and senior Ben Estabrook of Bangor.
“We get out on the course with the guys and with the help we get from John Murray and Chad Curley, it gives them [players] a lot of individual attention and instruction,” said Harvey.