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Brockport wins sixth straight Courage Bowl over ST. John Fisher University

Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics

By Zachary Harnischfeger

ROCHESTER, NY-- The Brockport Golden Eagles traveled to Growney Stadium for the 18th annual Courage Bowl. They were looking to extend their Courage Bowl winning streak over the St. John Fisher University Cardinals and they delivered just that defeating the Cardinals 35-18.

The Golden Eagles struck first early in the first quarter after QB Ben Gocella connected with TE James Altenburger on an 8-yard highly contested touchdown pass in the back on the endzone to cap off an 8-play 44-yard drive. This gave the the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead.

Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics

The Cardinals responded with a touchdown of their own five minutes later. QB Aaron Chase delivered a 5-yard touchdown strike to his TE Declan Faery to give the Cardinals six points. After a missed PAT, The Golden Eagles led 7-6 after one quarter of play. This was just the second touchdown the Golden Eagles had allowed through four weeks.

At the beginning of the second quarter Gocella tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, connecting with WR Nolan Slywka on a 1-yard touchdown pass. Late in the second quarter, after an interception by Brockport DB Louie Usera gave the Golden Eagles the ball at their own 36-yard line, RB Gino Fontanarossa punched it into the endzone on a 4-yard touchdown run, to give the Golden Eagles a 21-6 lead at the end of the first half.

"One thing I feel that really stands out is our communication," Louie Usera said. "If you see on the field we are constantly talking to each other every single play. I feel like that helps us so we are on the same page and making plays together, that's what we do," Usera said.

The St. John Fisher Cardinals came out firing to start out the third quarter. The Cardinals defense forced a Brockport three-and-out and began their possession from their own 38-yard line. Chase and the offense marched right down the field on 13 plays for 62 yards, which was capped off by a Chase 9-yard rushing touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, The Golden Eagles led 21-12.

Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics

Usera corralled his second interception of the game early in the fourth quarter and returned it 48 yards to deep into Cardinals territory. A few plays later, Gocella recorded his third touchdown pass of the game, an 11-yard toss to Altenberger, his second touchdown catch of the game to make it 28-12 Brockport.

"They were driving on us a little bit but we showed some heart in the end," Usera said. "Our defense bends

but doesn't break. I was just sitting in coverage and reading the quarterbacks eyes, and when Raylens (Boutin) hit the quarterback, the ball was in the air and I caught it," Usera said.

With just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Brockport RB Jala Coad scampered into the endzone for a 4-yard rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 35-12.

Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics

The Cardinals didn't go down quietly. Chase scored his third touchdown of the day, an 8-yard run, to finish off an 11-play 75-yard drive making it 35-18. This is how the game ended.

"It's great... they're a good football team," Brockport football head coach Jason Mangone said. " It means a lot to come out here and play well and get a W and have a team win. The defense buckled down in the third quarter when we stalled on offense. It was just a great team win today," Mangone said.

Ben Gocella finished the game 11-18 passing for 143 yards and three touchdowns. James Altenburger had five receptions for 66 yards and two touchdowns and Gino Fantanarossa finished the game with 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 touches.

The win improves Brockport to a 4-1 overall record and 1-0 conference record. The Golden Eagles host Hartwick College on Saturday Oct. 7th at 1pm for Homecoming weekend.

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