Marist Football fought off a late comeback by the Drake Bulldogs and headed back to Poughkeepsie with a 30-25 win, racking their first win of the regular season and their first PFL victory.
Sophomore quarterback Brock Bagozzi was a breakout on the offensive side of the ball and scored three touchdowns, one each passing, rushing, and a crafty and unconventional receiving touchdown to ensure the Marist Red Foxes’ first victory of the season.
Traveling away from home for the first time this season to Des Moines, Iowa, the Red Foxes entered the game with an 0-2 record and matched up against Drake (0-3) in their first Pioneer Football League game.
“Exciting team win, just so pleased of our guys to get this victory. A great start and gutsy effort in a back-and-forth game,” said Head Coach Jim Parady.
Bagozzi scored his first touchdown near the end of the first quarter, leading a quick and strong drive lasting just over two minutes before finishing it off with a flip pass to redshirt senior running back Glenmour Leonard-Osborne for a nine-yard score. The Marist offense started this drive, after a 92-yard touchdown drive from the Bulldogs, with a beautiful connection down the right sideline from Bagozzi to redshirt senior wide receiver Matt Stianche. This would set the tempo for quick offense and a perfect 4/4 drive passing from Bagozzi.
The Marist offense would get the ball again before the first quarter ended, after an opposing field goal put the Bulldogs ahead 10-7. Bagozzi and company marched down the field on a 12-play drive culminating in a fantastic trick play resembling the “Philly Special”, where NFL quarterback Nick Foles received a touchdown pass in the Superbowl in 2018. Redshirt senior wide receiver Scott Scherzer took the reverse from redshirt sophomore running back Amin Woods and threw to an open Bagozzi in the end zone.
“[He] got the ball to the right place and used his legs in some critical situations. He put the weight on his shoulders,” said Parady.
The Marist offense performed miles better than the first two games of the season, where they averaged 7.5 points. However, the defense stepped up in a big way, holding the Bulldogs to 79 yards rushing and 2.1 yards per carry. Veteran safety captain Teddy Wright had nine tackles and one tackle for a loss, with linebacker Arthur Pickney and Mike Arrington having seven and six tackles respectively.
“[The defense] stiffened up a bit, and was able to get off the field and hold Drake to 3-16 on third down,” said Coach Parady.
The Bulldog’s offense leaned heavily on senior quarterback Ian Corwin, who finished the day with 350 yards and a touchdown. The veteran played with relentless effort, leading his team to a double-digit comeback in the second half after being down 21-10 at the half, requiring the Red Foxes to stay resilient despite carrying a multi-score lead into the third quarter.
Marist scored their third touchdown after a Bulldogs failed fake field goal, where cornerback Tyhir Harley snuffed out the danger, handing the ball back to the offense. Marist ran another up-tempo drive with heavy run-pass offense usage– ending in a Bagozzi rushing touchdown from five yards out with 40 seconds left in the half.
Both teams traded field goals in the third quarter, but Drake scored on three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, with two field goals and a rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Dorian Boyland.
While the game felt in control for the Red Foxes, Drake miraculously took the lead with 3:36 left in the fourth after a 36-yard field goal. Drake got the ball after an unusual onside kick where Drake quarterback Triton Chandler, handling the kickoff duties, sent the ball over the line of Marist special teamers. As the red foxes had one returner deep and nobody in between, it was a race for the short kick and Drake recovered deep in Marist territory.
“[They] popped the ball over the second line, do you use the hands team or the regular return formation? [We] need to be better in that situation, obviously,” Parady said regarding the onside kick in the fourth quarter.
Down one with just over three minutes left, this was a career defining– albeit a short career– drive by Bagozzi. From their own 19, the red foxes drove down the field in 13 plays and finished with an Amin Woods score with 43 seconds left. Marist failed an ensuing two-point conversion, but the defense shut it down with Wright throwing Corwin to the turf on fourth down, sealing the relieving win.
“A lot of emotion back and forth, we were pretty much in command until the fourth quarter. We held them in the end,” said Parady.
Quarterback Brock Bagozzi reignited the offense for their first PFL win, giving the Red Foxes a season to look forward to. They look to use their momentum in conference play as they host St. Thomas MN next Saturday at noon.
Edited by Dan Aulbach