BANGOR, Maine — There are only a handful of players on the Husson University football team who had tasted victory wearing the Green and Gold.
On Saturday afternoon, some of those upperclassmen were among the contributors as the Eagles ended a 16-game losing streak with a 28-22 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference win over Anna Maria at the Winkin Complex.
“They say the first one is the hardest to get and we’re looking forward to building up from here,” said Husson head coach Sean Murphy, who also earned his first victory as a collegiate head coach.
Ryan Dorso’s 75-yard touchdown run with 1:49 remaining provided the winning margin as Husson (1-2) earned its first victory since Oct. 9, 2010. That also came against Anna Maria.
Murphy hopes Saturday’s win will help get his team started back on the path toward winning more consistently.
“It’s exciting to see the progress we’ve made in two years begin to translate in game results,” Murphy said, “and, while we still have a lot of work ahead of us, this is the perfect motivator for continued progress.”
With only five seniors among 15 underclassmen on the 2012 roster, Husson is rebuilding around a large crew of 56 freshmen and sophomores.
The win over Anna Maria came as Eagles solved what had been a deficiency during its streak — the ability to run the football.
Dorso, a sophomore from Farmingdale, racked up 202 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns to spearhead the win.
Husson also netted 113 yards through the air behind senior quarterback Kash Keezer of Orono (8-for-22, 113 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). Tight end Ben Foss, a junior from Wales, made three receptions for 33 yards. Dorso had another for 33 yards.
The Eagles prevailed by limiting the AMCats to six second-half points after surrendering 16 in the first half. Husson surrendered 33 first downs and 349 passing yards, but was able to limit Anna Maria’s scoring opportunities.
Freshman safety Derek Smith of Bangor was the defensive catalyst. The former John Bapst High School standout racked up a game-high 12 tackles, registering an interception, a forced fumble and a pass break-up.
Junior end Ernest Wiggins made 10 tackles, while Nelson Perez added nine. Sophomore linebacker Stephan Dance provided eight tackles and returned a fumble 60 yards for a score.
Husson has a bye this week as it prepares for a Sept. 29 ECFC contest at Becker College.
The University of Southern Maine features four people who will be inducted with the inaugural class of the Little East Conference Hall of Fame.
Longtime women’s basketball coach Gary Fifield and former women’s basketball All-American Ashley Marble of Topsfield are among those to be enshrined, along with USM Director of Athletics Al Bean and former Huskies AD Dr. Richard Costello.
The ceremony is scheduled Oct. 27 at the Providence Marriott Hotel in Providence, R.I.
Other honorees include UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball coach Brian Baptiste, Eastern Connecticut women’s basketball player Allison Coleman and men’s basketball stars Adam DeChristopher of Plymouth State and Alex Butler of Rhode Island College. Joining them are athletic administrators John P. Clark of Plymouth State, and Dr. William Moore and Charlie Titus of the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Fifield is just one of a handful of coaches to reach the 600-win mark. In 24 years at USM, he has guided the Huskies to 24 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, including five trips to the Final Four and three appearances in the national championship game.
Fifield’s teams have compiled a 273-31 record (.898 winning percentage) and 19 LEC championships. He has been the league coach of the year 13 times.
Marble was the cornerstone of USM teams from 2004-07, leading them to a 119-10 record. The former Woodland High School star was a three-time LEC Player of the Year as the Huskies won four-straight league titles on the way to the NCAA tournament, including two Final Four spots.
Marble is USM’s career rebounding leader with 1,157 and ranks second in career points with 1,981. She holds the single-season record for points (693) and scoring average (23.1 ppg), both set during 2006-07, when she was named the Division III Player of the Year by D3hoops.com and Women’s DIII News.
Under Bean, the LEC increased its sports sponsorship to 17 athletic programs from 1995-2000. At USM, he has been a student-athlete, assistant coach, sports information director, assistant athletic director and athletic director.
Bean has been president of the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators and served a four-year term on the NCAA’s Division III Management Council. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors and the ECAC.
In 1986, Costello was named the executive director of the fledgling Division III men’s and women’s basketball conference. During his four-year tenure, the LEC expanded its sponsorship to seven sports.
Costello worked at USM for five decades and served as an assistant coach, head coach and athletic director. Upon his retirement from coaching, he held the distinction of being the only coach in NCAA history to win at least 200 games in both men’s and women’s basketball.