BANGOR, Maine — Husson University football coach Gabby Price made a quarterback change a week and a half ago and it has paid dividends.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Seccareccia from Bangor unseated Dover-Foxcroft’s Ryan Stroud and completed 12-of-17 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Stroud, as Husson upended Castleton State (Vt.) 34-3 on homecoming weekend Saturday afternoon.
Six of Seccareccia’s 12 completions went to his former Bangor High School target Josiah Hartley for 78 yards, including an important 28-yarder that led to the Eagles’ first touchdown.
Husson improved to 2-2 overall, 1-0 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, while Castleton State fell to 1-3, 0-1.
“Josiah and I have had chemistry ever since our sophomore year at Bangor High,” said Seccareccia, who had been playing safety. “Today it worked to our advantage.
“And I can’t explain how great the support was from the team. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my offensive line,” added Seccareccia referring to Tyler Lyle, Alex Young, Cody Ziegenfus, Matt Archer and Val Honore.
“Joe did a great job today. I’m really proud of him,” said Hartley. “He’s a great athlete, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s 6-foot-6.”
Hard-running tailbacks Byron Jackson and Kyle McKinnon broke numerous tackles and combined for 222 rushing yards for the Eagles. Senior Jackson gained 125 on 15 carries and McKinnon racked up 97 on 16 attempts. McKinnon scored twice.
“The offense clicked today,” said Jackson. “We had the bye (off) week (last weekend) and we said we had to get our offense going to help the defense out. We needed to keep them off the field and keep them fresh and we did that.”
Husson had scored just 20 points in its first three games.
Husson spotted Castleton State a 3-0 lead on Robert Lineberger’s 27-yard field goal but the Eagles marched 65 yards on 11 plays to take a lead they would never relinquish on a five-yard run by Ryan Dorso. The 28-yard pass over the middle from Seccareccia to Hartley on third-and-13 keyed the drive.
“It was a cover two so I knew (Hartley) had the middle of the field (open) for a quick second and I put the ball up there for him to catch it and he made a great play,” said Seccareccia.
Husson extended the lead with 1:51 left in the half on an eight-yard pass from Seccareccia to Ben Foss, who made a terrific leaping grab in the back of the end zone.
“I knew he found an open space and I threw a jump ball for him,” said Seccareccia.
That completed a 12-play, 80-yard drive.
Seccareccia completed his first 10 passes.
Husson scored on its first possession of the second half as a 49-yard run by Jackson on a draw play was followed up by McKinnon’s 20-yard TD run.
Stroud, who is now a slot receiver, caught a 17-yard TD pass from Seccareccia in the corner of the end zone to make it 27-3 with 6:07 left in the third quarter.
“I was jostling with (free safety Tucker Stone) and as I was falling back, the ball was right there,” said Stroud. “Joe did a real nice job. He put the ball on us and we were able to catch it.”
McKinnon ran 18 yards for his second touchdown of the game with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
“They beat us to the punch in terms of physicality,” said Castleton State coach Marc Klatt.
“They were the better team today. They came out flying around and made some great plays,” said Spartan junior wide receiver Kevin Alberque, who had a game-high 140 all-purpose yards on six catches for 66 yards and 74 return yards.
Husson linebackers Stephan Dance and Ellis Throckmorton led the Eagles’ defensive effort. Dance had five solo tackles and assisted on eight more while Throckmorton had five solos and four assists in addition to a highlight-reel one-handed interception.
Castleton State freshman quarterback Tyler Higley completed 13 of 28 passes for 156 yards. Soren Pelz-Walsh hauled in five for 66 yards to complement Alberque’s six catches.
Linebacker Leo Audy (6 solos, 8 assists) and Stone (4 and 7) led the Spartans defense.