By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
The 2018 UMass Dartmouth men’s football team has been off to a roaring start as the team has come together both individually and collaboratively to put their mojo into full swing this season. However, on Saturday September 29th, the team fell to Western Connecticut 27-40. However, the Corsairs still have a lot going for them as the season still has a lot to offer.
Western Connecticut has been undefeated this season and started the game off strong with a 13 to 6 lead in the first quarter. Although the Corsairs outscored the Colonials in the third quarter, 7-0, it was not enough to take home a victory.
Colonial’s senior Kyle McKinnon was the star of the game, rushing for 75 yards and three touchdowns to lead Western Connecticut to victory. The Corsairs managed to score a touchdown in every quarter of play, but nothing more than that. They were outscored by a second touchdown in all but one quarter.
Corsair’s sophomore quarterback Stephen Gacioch did it all for the Corsairs, leading them in both passing and rushing yards with 300 and 61 respectively and throwing for three touchdowns plus an interception.
The Corsairs still managed to put together some stellar plays on both sides of the ball despite the loss. Of the game’s many highlights, Junior Connor Russ shined with nine tackles while fellow junior Mo Rainford contributed seven stops and a sack along with an interception for UMass Dartmouth.
Corsair’s head-coach Mark Robichaud is impressed with how the team is coming together overall this year. “The kids are doing a great job. They are working hard, they are focused and motivated. This year’s start has been great. Beating the defending MASCAC champion Plymouth State was outstanding. We had a similar start in 2015 but faltered mid-season,” said Robichaud. “We are working hard not to let that happen again.”
The defense in particular has shined for the Corsairs this season. “There are many [standout players], our defense has been absolutely outstanding that last two weeks,” said Robichaud proudly. “Jake Burkhead, Antonio Slaughter, Connor Russ, Samm Ejiasi, Zakk Rodrigues have all been tremendous. On the offensive side of the ball, Stephen Gacioch, Matt Mitchell, Steffan Gravely, Leroy Brown, Gage DaSilva and Antonio Mitjans have played very well.”
Winning though, takes commitment and hard work. “We play on Saturdays, we watch film and have a light practice on Sundays. Monday’s players are off, we practice two hours a day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and then have a light practice on Friday,” said Robichaud.
The team is always providing support for one another, it is part of their mantra. “We try to ensure our players are focused and that they execute their assignments every play. We encourage them to do their jobs and play for their teammates,” said Robichaud.
The team as well as the coaches love the energy they feel once they are out on the turf.
“Being on the field is a privilege,” Robichaud states. “I love watching the team compete, there is nothing like it.”
Come support the team in their next Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference game against Bridgewater State on October 13th. The game starts at 4:00 p.m. on the Corsairs Cressy Field.
As for the Western Connecticut Colonial’s they head off on the road take on Worcester State on Saturday, October 6th at 12:00 p.m.
PHOTO COURTESY: CORSAIR ATHLETICS