The spring game, a chance for the entire Marist football roster to get loose and show off their talent in a spirited offense versus defense rivalry.
With some odd rules dictating the points for each side of the ball, it was returning starting quarterback Brock Bagozzi who shined the brightest out of the units, leading the offense to a 31-30 victory over the defense on Friday night.
While all quarterbacks on the roster got reps in the scrimmage, it was Bagozzi who took the offense downfield three separate times in the game today and rushed for two touchdowns of his own. Newly-promoted offensive coordinator Casey Tocshes tested his playbook with the quarterback in the new offense, which looked dominant whenever Bagozzi had the ball.
“I think the quarterbacks were fantastic decision makers; they distributed the ball where it should have gone,” said Tosches
The true final score, however, is somewhat of a mystery, with the scoreboard operators frantically communicating with the coaching staff to figure out how many points the defense should legitimately be awarded.
This was the first year with a new scoring system for the spring game, with the game sometimes not being scored at all. The spring game’s purpose was for the entire Marist roster to see some play and get reps in preparation for the new season. With that comes special rules designed to speed up the pace of play, including a constant running play clock and specialized points to keep score for the offense and the defense, who were poised against each other tonight.
In years past, the team has done a draft before the game depending on the size of the roster to determine the matchup, as well as offense-defense matchups without any score at all. Today’s system was experimental but made for some lighthearted competitive scrimmage play between the two units. The new system awarded the defense points based on making stops, with a sack being worth a point as well as three-and-outs and turnovers determining the score.
While Bagozzi was the big playmaker, quarterbacks Diego Arroyo and Logan Brabham got the rest of the snaps in the first half as the second and third strings of the unit. As Arroyo took many deep shots downfield, the defense scored their first points of the matchup in the second quarter with a sack on Arroyo.
The defense forced a three-and-out on Brabham’s first possession, which awarded the defense three points as Tosches’ offense shifted back to Arroyo and Bagozzi’s offense at the end of the second quarter. Brabham was put back in the game when the defense began to figure things out on its own, intercepting Brabham and freshman quarterback Sonny Mannino throwing a pick on his first offensive snap.
“I think you got some younger guys in there that were able to find their rhythm a little bit, that’s concerning to me somewhat in that we have to find it quicker and come out of the locker room better,” said defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey. “It took us 30 minutes to kind of find it.”
After the turnover, freshman quarterback Cole Boyd showed off his patience by throwing a 30-yard lob pass for a touchdown on his first snap of the game to Jake Ciolino. Freshman transfer from the University of Rochester Derek Bufano got his first offensive reps as a Red Fox, completing consecutive passes and setting up running back Carter James to take it to the end zone.
As the final quarter proceeded, pandemonium from the sidelines and the small crowd ramped up as the final score was a mystery, being changed to 28-28 with under a minute left. As the continuous clock winded down with ten seconds remaining, kicker John Reyes hit a game-winning 47-yard field goal for the offense, who embraced at the buzzer with their kicker.
“MARIST WINS, MARIST WINS!” said the PA announcer. Being the spring game and with the real “score” unknown, the whole team gathered to celebrate their first play since last November, the score being irrelevant in the end.
Marist will open its season on Sept. 2 when it travels to Georgetown for a non-conference matchup.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Jonathan Kinane