BANGOR, Maine — Husson University welcomed future Eastern Collegiate Football Conference opponent and first-year program Anna Maria College of Paxton, Mass., to the Winkin Complex Saturday afternoon.
It wasn’t a warm welcome.
Husson scored on its first offensive play and racked up 452 yards of total offense en route to a 63-12 victory over the youthful Amcats, who started 11 freshmen on offense and seven more on defense.
Anna Maria quarterback Santino Simone fumbled while trying to pass on the first play from scrimmage and sophomore defensive lineman Chris Dalecki made the first of his two fumble recoveries.
On the next play, senior tailback Julius Williams scampered 18 yards to give 1-1 Husson the lead for good.
“I went to squeeze it and throw it and it slipped out of my hand,” said Simone.
“I meant to pick it up and run with it, but I just jumped on it,” said Dalecki.
Husson made it 9-0 with 5:36 left in the first quarter when sophomore linebacker Dillon Shaw sacked Simone in the end zone for a safety and the Eagles broke the game open with touchdowns 1:09 apart later in the period as freshman tailback Byron Jackson reeled off a 13-yard touchdown run and sophomore quarterback Jack Hersom ran an option play 8 yards into the end zone.
Jackson’s run was set up by four Williams carries for 61 yards, including a 44-yard dash, and Hersom’s TD capped a three-play, 28-yard drive after linebacker Keenon Blindow pounced on a fumbled snap.
Mike Toothaker’s 4-yard run, following Dalecki’s second fumble recovery, made it 30-0 1:06 into the second quarter.
“I got lucky. I was in the right place at the right time,” said Eliot’s Dalecki.
Williams added a 5-yard run midway through the second quarter.
Ramael Barton’s 73-yard punt return and Jamie Bonnell’s 3-yard run made it 51-0 in the third period, and Brett Kwaak’s 7-yard run expanded it to 58-0 in the fourth quarter before hard-running Ernie Jones’ 6-yard run gave 0-3 Anna Maria its first points.
Carlos Romero kicked a 16-yard field goal for Husson before Stephen Johnson’s 3-yard run for Anna Maria and DeVaughan Mitchell’s 102-yard interception return on Anna Maria’s ensuing two-point conversion pass capped the scoring.
Williams finished with 119 rushing yards on 10 carries as the Husson offensive line of tackles Jon Benson and Jason Cross, guards Brad Deuring and Ben Emmott, center Mike Austin and tight end P.J. Dowe opened gaping holes for him and the other backs.
All are seniors except sophomore Deuring.
“The credit goes to the line,” said Williams. “They did everything first and I just followed them. Whatever they leave open, I take. We were focused and ready to go today.”
“Their offensive line was big and strong and they did their assignments. And their running backs were real fast,” said Amcat linebacker Troy Barnes.
Husson rushed for 365 yards on 52 carries.
The impressive Jones picked up 58 yards on 13 carries for Anna Maria.
Dalecki had 5½ tackles to go with his two fumble recoveries to lead Husson’s defense, which limited Anna Maria to 201 total yards and just 96 rushing yards.
Nick Keene had five tackles while Kyle Vanidestine and Dylon Therrien had four each.
“Their defense was quick and they had some big boys,” observed Simone.
Kevin Fitzpatrick’s game-high 7½ tackles led Anna Maria. Lamar Jones and Steve Sao Pedro had six each.
“Our kids have good character. They never stopped playing,” said Anna Maria coach Marc Klaiman. “Husson has a good team. We’re mostly freshmen playing against men. There’s a difference between an 18-year-old man and a 22-year-old man.”