Sometimes, the best form of healing for a team that’s struggling is to face the team that has the worst record in the conference. Marist took advantage of that, and then some, playing their best performance of the season, as they beat Presbyterian 37-7 on Homecoming Weekend in Poughkeepsie.
The win marked Parady’s 150th as head coach of the Red Foxes. He is especially grateful to achieve that milestone with his players, past and present.
“It was special, especially during Homecoming Weekend,” said Parady. “You get to share it with all the guys who were a part of it over the years…this is a really special group of guys and they fought hard to do what we wanted them to get done. They have had setbacks, but they never gave up. They continued to fight, fight, fight until we got there.”
This was also Marist’s fourth annual “Set the Expectation Game”, where players and coaches wore shirts and purple ribbons to raise awareness of domestic violence.
“Us and Stanford have hosted the most ‘Set the Expectation Games’… and even before this game we’ve been involved with this cause for over 13 years,” said head coach Jim Parady. “It is very important to us as a program and the message that we’re sending out there.”
The Red Foxes got off to the hot start that they needed, and it came from both the defense and the offense.
On the third play of the game, Presbyterian’s redshirt junior quarterback Nate Hayden threw a ball that ricocheted and landed right in the diving arms of redshirt senior Clayborne Fields III, giving the Marist offense the ball at Presbyterian’s 37-yard-line.
When the Red Fox offense came out onto the field, they knew they had to take advantage of this unexpected, beneficial situation.
“Taking advantage of the opportunities that came to us were very important,” said Parady. “We have been frustrated with the lack of execution at certain, critical times in games…but today we made very big plays.”
Marist took full advantage of this great situation, with true sophomore quarterback Brock Bagozzi leading a strong touchdown drive. This included an incredible pass to redshirt sophomore receiver Brett Landis, who high-pointed the ball over a Blue Hose cornerback, effectively “Mossing” him in the process.
The drive ended with a two-yard touchdown run from redshirt senior running back Glenmour Leonard-Osbourne, his third of the season.
The game quickly transitioned into a defensive battle, where neither team’s offense could find any momentum.
This was the case until the halfway point of the second quarter when Bagozzi bombed a 48-yard pass to redshirt sophomore receiver Matt Stianche, a player who has become an intriguing deep target because of his speed and 6-foot-3 frame.
This pass took the Red Fox offense down to Presbyterian’s eight-yard-line, and a couple of plays later, Bagozzi handed the ball off to redshirt sophomore running back Amin Woods for a four-yard touchdown score.
The Marist running backs were a four-headed monster today with Leonard-Osbourne, Woods, redshirt sophomore Devin Thompson and redshirt sophomore Tristan Shannon combining for 149 yards and four rushing touchdowns on the day.
“Personally, I feel like [having multiple running backs] makes us all better and it showed today,” said Woods. “Being able to co-exist with other talented running backs creates a great atmosphere.”
This made the score 14-0 in favor of Marist, making this the third game where Marist has had a double-digit lead all year. They won their two other games with this sizeable lead.
The Marist defense pitched their best game of the season against a Blue Hose offense that honestly did not look like it belonged in Division I. Even with all of the injuries Marist has sustained on the defensive line, including a recent MCL injury to Miles Kauderer, the pass rush was able to bust through the Presbyterian offensive line at will.
Presbyterian alternated quarterbacks throughout, moving from Nate Hayden to true freshman quarterback Tyler Wesley, but it didn’t matter – they were all flustered. Graduate student defensive end Aaron Acosta always somehow found his way to the backfield, and while it didn’t lead to sacks, he made his presence known.
“[The gameplan defensively] was to keep them rattled,” said graduate student linebacker Mike Arrington. “We didn’t want to let them get comfortable and we tried to show things that they haven’t seen to try and confuse them…to mess up their reads and keep them guessing.”
In the second half, Presbyterian recovered an onside kick, an outcome that you don’t see very often nowadays. This didn’t phase today’s stout Marist defense, and they forced another three-and-out which led to yet another Marist touchdown drive, giving the Red Foxes a 27-0 lead.
Special teams were also perfect in this performance, with both the punting and kicking games in top form. In the first quarter, redshirt junior punter Dominic Donohue pinpointed a kick to Presbyterian’s one-yard line. With awful field position, the Blue Hose went three-and-out, giving the Marist offense incredible positioning. This was a peak example of all three phases of the game being complimentary with each other, leading to unstoppable play.
Redshirt senior kicker Luke Paladino went 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 48-yarder in the second quarter, to solidify the perfect performance all around from Marist today.
For the fourth quarter, Logan Brabham came in as the second-string QB over fellow redshirt freshman Diego Arroyo, who has carried that mantle throughout the season to this point.
Arroyo and the rest of the quarterbacks on the Red Fox roster would eventually come into the game for at least a snap each, but not before Brabham led a touchdown drive of his own to give the Red Foxes a 37-0 lead.
The Red Foxes’ record is now 3-5 with a 3-3 record in the PFL. Their next game will see Marist go down to Kentucky to take on Morehead State in another PFL showdown, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. next Saturday.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Kira Crutcher