University of Maine defensive tackle Charles Mitchell will never forget his first visit to Portland’s Fitzpatrick Stadium. It was last spring for the annual Jeff Cole Memorial Scrimmage.
He was hurt and couldn’t play in the scrimmage but, as head coach Joe Harasymiak addressed the team after the game, the coach announced that Mitchell had been awarded a scholarship for his hard work and development.
“It was such a relief for my folks, having that (financial) burden lifted off their shoulders,” said Mitchell, who is now healthy and looking forward to Saturday’s crucial Colonial Athletic Association game against Delaware.
“I’m proud to be going back to Portland. I didn’t get to play in the spring but I’m glad I’ll be playing in this game,” said Mitchell. “Hopefully, the good vibes will keep coming.”
Mitchell has earned his scholarship, racking up 40 tackles including eight for lost yardage. He has 3.5 sacks.
“Chuck has been very productive. He’s explosive and he plays hard,” said Harasymiak. “I’m excited about having him a couple more years.”
“I’ve been happy with the way things have gone,” said the 6-foot-1, 255-pound Mitchell, a native of Piscataway, New Jersey. “I’ve had a lot of support from the guys. We’ve been working hard, focusing on the task at hand.
“I give a lot of credit to the coaches. They have put me in the right place at the right time. And I trust all the guys around me to make plays,” added Mitchell.
The Black Bears face a Delaware team that is second in the conference in rushing offense (191.6 yards per game) but last in passing offense (117.6).
“Our main focus is to stop the run and make them a one-dimensional team,” said Mitchell.
Delaware (5-3, 3-2 in CAA) at UMaine (4-3, 3-3 CAA), Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland, 2 p.m.: This is a must win situation for both teams if they are to keep their Football Championship Subdivision playoff hopes alive.
“Maine is always very physical and they have real good balance on offense,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco. “It’s going to take a lot of attention on our part to look at ways to handle their balance.”
UMaine head coach Joe Harasymiak pointed out that Delaware leads the conference in time of possession (32:19) so his team is going to have to make the best of its scoring opportunities. “We aren’t going to get a lot of possessions so we’re going to have to be effective on offense.”
The UMaine coach said his team has moved the ball well but they have to be more efficient in the red zone.
UMaine is led by the league’s leading rusher, Josh Mack (168 carries, 979 yards). Chris Ferguson has completed 116 of 206 passes for 1,358 yards with Jaleel Reed (23 catches), Jared Osumah (22) and Mack (20) being his leading receivers. Jaron Grayer (59 tackles), Sterling Sheffield (51, 4.5 sacks), Mitchell and Kayon Whitaker (5.5 sacks) have keyed the defense.
Delaware features Kani Kane (96 carries, 437 yards) and Kareem Williams (84-424) but quarterbacks Joe Walker and J.P. Caruso have completed only 49.4 percent of their passes. Troy Reeder (63 tackles) and Nasir Adderley (49) headline a solid defense.
Alfred State (1-7, 1-4 ECFC) vs. Husson (7-1, 5-0), noon Saturday at Bangor: Husson brings a five-game winning streak into this Eastern Collegiate Football Conference matchup and is averaging 46 points per game during that stretch.
Coach Gabby Price’s club is now tied for fourth in the New England Division III poll.
Husson senior John Smith rushed for 247 yards and four touchdowns in 14 first-half carries last weekend as the Eagles routed Anna Maria 70-13. The Fayetteville, Georgia, native now leads NCAA Division III in rushing yards per game (185.9), is second in rushing yards (1,487), third in points per game (15.0), total touchdowns (20) and rushing touchdowns (20) and 14th in yards per carry (7.01).
Junior defensive back Quan Soyini, who had two interceptions against Anna Maria to bring his season total to seven, leads NCAA Division III with 2.4 pass breakups per game and is second with 0.9 interceptions per contest.
Alfred State, a first-year ECFC member, scored its first victory of the season last weekend, rallying from an 8-0 deficit to defeat Mount Ida 18-8. The Pioneers have struggled offensively, averaging just 13.1 points per game.
Springfield (8-0, 5-0 NEWMAC) at Maine Maritime (1-6, 1-4 NEWMAC), noon Saturday at Castine: Maine Maritime faces its biggest test of the season against the nationally ranked Pride.
Springfield is rated 21st in the American Football Coaches Association top 25, 22nd in the D3football.com national poll and heads up the New England Division III rankings. The Pride averages 448 rushing yards per game to rank No. 1 in NCAA football regardless of division. Springfield also is ninth in Division III scoring offense (44.3 ppg) and 10th in total offense (491.4 ypg).
MMA allows 315.9 rushing yards and 40.7 points per outing.
Both teams were idle last week.
The Mariners continue to be led by senior quarterback Corey Creeger of Biddeford, who averages 99.3 passing yards and 89.1 rushing yards per game and has accounted for 13 touchdowns, eight through the air and five on the ground.
Saturday’s other Maine college games: Bowdoin (0-7) at Bates (1-6), 12:30 p.m.; Tufts (4-2) at Colby (0-7), 1 p.m.
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