Strong Defensive Effort Isn't Enough For Golden Eagles, Fall to Ithaca in Home Opener
Brockport, NY --- The #20 Brockport Golden Eagles lost their home opener Saturday, falling 23-8 to the Ithaca Bombers. It was a strong start for the Brockport defense, earning a safety thanks to a sack of Ithaca quarterback A.J. Wingfield by defensive ends Josh Greenwood and Hakeem Yaya. Ithaca soon swung the momentum in their favor, as Wingfield connected with wide receiver Andrew Vito for a 71 yard touchdown, putting the Bombers up 7-2. They would later add a field goal to that total to take an 8 point lead.
After a sluggish offensive start by Brockport's freshman quarterback Jack Cheshire, head coach Jason Mangone told him to "play like a grown up". Cheshire responded by leading the team down the field, resulting in a 1 yard touchdown run for Jala Coad. Coad would end up rushing for 76 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, a major improvement from the opening game against Framingham State. On the 2 point conversion attempt, Cheshire's pass intended for wide receiver Imhotep Cromer was knocked away by Ithaca safety Cade McDermott. The teams went into halftime with Ithaca leading 10-8.
The second half began with Cheshire throwing an interception to Ithaca linebacker Miles Haynes, which was returned for a touchdown from 40 yards out. The offensive struggles would continue for the remainder of the game, in part due to losing starting center Conner Latimer for the game to injury. The Golden Eagles would not find the end zone again, with Cheshire throwing 24 completions on 52 attempts for 235 yards and 3 interceptions. Coad and Cheshire each lost a fumble, resulting in a total of five Brockport turnovers.
The main bright spot for the Golden Eagles was the defensive line, which put pressure on Ithaca's quarterback and offensive line all game long. They were able to hold a potent Bombers backfield to just 19 yards. In addition, wide receiver Imhotep Cromer had a very solid performance with a total of 94 yards on 8 catches. In the end, it wasn't enough to swing the game. The Golden Eagles will get set to try to bounce back next Saturday as they take on the University of Rochester at home.