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Marist Seniors Win at Home for Last Time
It is always an incredibly difficult task for any college athlete to say goodbye to the arena that they have called home for the past four seasons. For 17 players from the 2008 Marist football team, it was time to say one final goodbye to Tenney stadium at Leonidiff field on Sept. 25th during senior day when the Red Foxes squared off against the Iona College Gaels.
It was an emotional time for all of the Marist College seniors as they walked with their families from the goal line to midfield where Marist College President Dennis Murray, athletic director Tim Murray, and head coach Jim Parady greeted them prior to the start of the game.
Once the game started, it took the Iona College Gaels just under two minutes to score the first touchdown of the game. The first three plays from scrimmage by Iona were direct snaps to wide receiver Anthony Tumbarello, who rushed for 25 yards on three carries. Junior wide receiver Joe Murgalia gave the Gaels a 7-0 lead after a one-yard touchdown carry.
“Anytime you play an Iona team, they are going to come up with six, seven, eight gadget plays that are special,” Parady said. “Snapping the ball directly to a receiver or doing the fake punt that they ran. Special teams and offensively you have to prep for that. They don’t use the same ones week to week. Our defense knew the fake was happening, but Iona executed well.”
The Foxes responded quickly however, and tied the game at seven following a Keith Mitchell 10 yard touchdown run at the 6:38 mark in the first quarter. Mitchell totaled 101 yards on nine carries in the contest.
The Red Foxes soon got the ball back on their own 20-yard line. On his first carry of the drive, Bo Ehikioya erupted for a 50-yard gain. Five plays later, Ehikioya scored on a three yard run that gave the Red Foxes a 14-7 lead.
On their first possession of the second quarter, it took Marist just five plays before taking a 21-7 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run from freshman Ryan Dinnebeil.
The Foxes would hold the 21-7 lead until their second drive of the third quarter when Dinnebeil scored on a two-yard run to give the Red Foxes a 28-7 lead. This would close out the scoring for the rest of the game.
It was truly an impressive victory for the Red Foxes, who had possession of the ball for just under twenty minutes in the second half. The Marist defense also had three interceptions, two by Rory Foley and another by junior Christian Dunnigan.
“I think that what our defense did in the game impressed me the most,” Parady said. “We gave up a first score against them, and it looked almost unstoppable. We knew going into that game that they had a great offense that has scored a lot of points. For our defense to be able to shut them out for 57 or 58 minutes of the game is a great accomplishment. A big part of that was the pressure that we got on the quarterback, and the interceptions stop drives.”
In addition to the excellent defensive play by the Red Foxes, an even bigger accomplishment was made by Bo Ehikioya. With his 221 total rushing yards against Iona, Ehikioya surpassed Jovan Rhodes and became Marist’s all-time rushing leader in its Division I history. Ehikioya has now amassed 3, 217 rushing yards in his career, 61 more than the record previously set by Rhodes.
Given such an intense schedule, wins have certainly been hard to come by for the Red Foxes although they have played well all season.
“It’s a good feeling for them (the team), and I’m happy for them. You can play well and not win but when you do that it hurts even worse,” Parady said. “For them to get that feeling of victory in the locker room it kind of solidifies the work that they put in, and this win was their reward.”
The 3-5 Red Foxes now travel to the Bronx, N.Y. to battle the Fordham Rams. The matchup of the Rams is one of three remaining games of the season. The Red Foxes could still conceivably finish the season over .500.
“They’re very athletic, and they are up and down,” Parady said. “Their head coach is frustrated by their lack of consistency and I can relate to that. Two weeks ago they played Yale, and beat a very good Yale team 12-10. He is kind of perplexed about their consistency, but they are very athletic. They returned mostly everyone from last year’s team so we are hoping to keep them off balance.”
‘09 Seniors win at home for last time
By Phil Terrigno, The Marist Circle