Marist Football Closes Season With Disappointment

The Marist Red Foxes (4-7, 4-4) end their season with a disappointing loss to the Bucknell Bison (2-8).

After having their senior day spoiled by Valparaiso last week, Marist looked to end their season on a high note as they traveled to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. But it was far from it as after leading for the first three quarters, Bucknell scored 14 unanswered in the second half and never looked back. 

The Bucknell offense put together a quick and calculated drive to start. However, they were stopped in their tracks as redshirt junior Tyhir Harley jumped Bucknell quarterback Nick Semptimphelter’s pass for the clean interception. 

Marist’s offense would capitalize on the turnover as running back Amin Woods would drag a defender into the end zone, as the Red Foxes quickly went up 7-0. 

The second drive was more of the same for the Bison offense, as sophomore defensive lineman Nick Jackson would take Semptimphelter down for the sack. Brock Bagozzi and his squad could not put together a response as they were forced to punt after a tough false start penalty. 

The Red Fox defense seemed to have made a crucial stop on fourth down, but a brutal defensive holding was called in the endzone. This allowed for the Bisons to continue their march down the field. 

Using the penalty as insurance, Bucknell could not find the endzone but managed to tack on a 31 yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with under two minutes to play in the first quarter.  

Marist almost lost the ball on their first drive of the second quarter as the snap soared over Bagozzi’s head, but he managed to scramble back and recover the ball after losing 21 yards in the process. Bucknell could not use that as momentum, as their offense continued to run cold. 

Both offenses were running cold, but the Marist special teams made a phenomenal play. Redshirt junior Dominic Donahue managed to pin Bucknell on their own one yard line with a gorgeous punt.

The special teams play was all for nought as running back Rushawn Baker decided to put his squad on his back, turning a near safety to a 25-yard gain. This brought life to the Bison, but they could not keep the spark, as Marist’s defense eliminated the drive on fourth down. 

The Bucknell defense looked to do the same, as the referees brought the chains out on a fourth and one. Woods’ second effort on the rush kept the Red Fox drive alive as the nose of the ball passed the chains by less than an inch. Woods again capped off the drive as he burst through the line on another fourth down, scoring his second touchdown of the game from 27 yards out. 

Redshirt senior Luke Palladino’s extra point attempt was blocked, making the score 13-3 with just over a minute left in the first half. 

The Red Foxes managed to lock down the Bison’s last minute push, as the first half ended with Marist up by 10. 

The Marist defense stayed hot coming out of the break, as they forced Bucknell to punt on their first drive of the second half. Much like Donuhue, the Bison punter Ruben Anderson managed to pin the ball at the Marist two yard line, forcing the offense to play with their backs against the wall.

Semptimphelter would try to inspire his squad as they started on the Marist 44-yard line. He hit wide receiver Damian Harris on a sideline snag to pick up a first down, and after being chased out of the pocket, the junior quarterback would fire a dart to Okeyo Ayungo for a considerable gain of 23 yards. 

The defense had the Bison offense on the ropes as Semptimphelter was faced with a fourth and two situation. He did not let that bother him, as he hit a wide open Rushawn Baker in the end zone. The extra point by Matt Schearer was good, as Marist only led 13-10.

It was all Bucknell as they forced a quick three and out for Bagozzi and the Red Foxes. But the offense once again ran cold as the Marist front seven regained control of the ground. It did not matter however as the Bison forced the second three and out in a row with a Brent Jackson sack on Bagozzi as the final seconds of the third quarter winded down.

Baker seemed to be the only source of offense for Bucknell, as he opened up the fourth quarter with a huge 29-yard sprint. Nick Semptimphelter took some notes from his running back, as he handled the snap and scampered into the end zone from 10 yards out. Along with the good extra point, the Bison took their first lead of the game 17-13, early into the final quarter of play.

After another quick fourth down for the Marist offense, the Bison seemed to be in control for the rest of the quarter. On a third and short situation, there was hope as a flea-flicker pass to the end zone seemed to have been broken up, but a late flag was thrown.

The Bucknell offense was yet again given another chance as defensive holding was called on the redshirt freshman Austin Trimble. The defense was given a break however, as a trick play to offensive lineman Casey Stephenson resulted in an ineligible receiver penalty, forcing a field goal. 

The field goal was no good, as the Red Foxes were given the ball just down four with just under four minutes to play. 

But the offense remained stagnant.

The Bison took over deep in Marist territory, where they proceeded to ice the game as Rashuwn Baker scored his second touchdown of the game. The extra point was good, as Bucknell took a two score lead they would never relinquish. 

Marist finished their season with a 4-7 overall record, and a 4-4 PFL record. 

The Red Foxes had an up and down year, as they had some great wins, but even more disheartening losses. It was not the way Marist wanted their 2022 season to end, as they only managed one home win.

Losing key playmakers on both sides of the field will definitely leave its mark on the team, but they will bounce back.

Edited by Andrew Hard

Photo from Kira Crutcher

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