By Neil Kavanaugh
The Catholic University Cardinals hosted the Springfield College Spirits this past Saturday as part of Catholic U’s alumni weekend, falling to the Spirits 23-11. The stands were filled with Cardinals from past and present cheering on the boys in black and red. Before the football game began, current students and alumni celebrated being a Cardinal at the pre-game tent party.
The Spirits took the lead in the beginning of the first quarter with a field goal to make it 3-0, but the Cardinals drove for 75 yards to take the lead, commanded by sophomore quarterback Brady Berger. The Cardinals chose to go for the two-point conversion to make the score 8-3. However, the Spirits regained the lead on the following possession, the first of three straight scoring drives for Springfield, one of which was a result of the Cardinals failing to stop a key fourth down conversion.
The Spirits amassed 245 yard of total offense in the first half. They were 3 for 3 inside the red zone, and limited their opponents to just 39 yards of total offense. The Cardinals managed to hold the Springfield offense from getting any more points on the board in the second half, but they were unable to overcome the first half lead that the Spirits had built themselves. Outside of a 32 yard field goal, courtesy of freshman defensive back Sean Gould with 12:13 left to play in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals failed to put up any points against a formative Springfield defense.
At half time the cheer team and dance team performed and the winners of the homecoming court were announced. The winners were seniors Alexis Anelli and Saad Abed. Both were crowned by President John Garvey on the field.
The Cardinals put up a total of 275 yards, but struggled on third down conversions, completing just 6 of 16, and were forced to punt on six separate occasions. The Spirits had a total of 381 yards of offense, but 344 of those yards came from the run game, which the Cardinals seemed unable to stop. The highlight of the game was freshman defensive back Tommy Antonucci’s first career interception on one of the Spirit’s three pass attempts. Sadly, the Cardinal offense went three and out with that possession, and gave the Spirits good field advantage on its own 42 yard line.
“It was a heart breaker for us. The name of the game is execution, and although in certain aspects of the game we played very well, we just didn’t do enough to pull out a victory,” said junior defensive back Joseph Bukuras.
However, there is reason for hope on the horizon Cardinal faithful.
“We had a decent game against a talented team. We have a lot of young players, and it’s only a matter of time until we improve and win games like that,” said junior tight end John Graham.
“No matter the outcome of any practice or game, our coach always echos the same message, ‘win or lose, the answer is always the same: get better’,” said Bukuras.
The Catholic Cardinals play their final road game on Saturday at Sabine Field in Norwich against the Norwich Cadets. Kickoff is at noon.