The Georgetown football team (7-2, 3-1 Patriot League) trekked eight hours north to Worcester, Mass., this past weekend to take on league-leading Holy Cross (4-4, 2-1 Patriot League). But the Crusaders were not the biggest obstacle the Hoyas faced, as driving snow blanketed Fitton Field and reduced second-half visibility to nearly zero.
On a day where the weather was making headlines all along the east coast, the Blue and Gray hoped to make a headline of their own by dispatching the Crusaders and keeping their post-season destiny in their own hands. A win against the Crusaders would set up a Patriot League championship matchup with Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., Nov. 12.
And win is just what the Hoyas did, controlling the game from kickoff until final whistle. The 19-6 victory was the result of a consistently dominant defense and a tough running attack — two of the team’s calling cards during this successful season.
Georgetown’s defense got off to a hot start before the Family Weekend crowd of 4,000, forcing Holy Cross to punt on the first possession of the game. On their opening drive, the Blue and Gray took the ball 61 yards before the offense stalled and senior kicker Brett Weiss connected on a 28-yard field goal to give the Hoyas the early lead.
With the wet snow beginning to fall With the wet snow beginning to fall midway through the first half, the rest of the half was solely punts and turnovers until Weiss knocked another field goal through the uprights with 1:16 remaining in the half.
During this key stretch, the Blue and Gray forced four turnovers. Senior cornerback Jayah Kaisamba picked up a fumble, and senior defensive back David Quintero intercepted a pass from Holy Cross senior quarterback Ryan Taggart three drives later.
The two others both came during the second quarter on special teams, as senior wide receiver and captain Jeremiah Kayal picked up a Holy Cross fumble off of sophomore Matt MacZura’s punt and Weiss recovered a loose ball on the kickoff following his second field goal.
At the start of the second half, with conditions on the field worsening, the Hoyas abandoned the pass and began to exclusively run the ball. The strategy worked, with the Blue and Gray rushing seven times for 55 yards on the first drive after the intermission, culminating in a 27-yard scoring scramble by junior quarterback Isaiah Kempf, aided by big blocks down the field to give him room to run.
While Kempf completed 4-of-13 pass attempts for 55 yards, his contribution to the run attack and the backfield’s tough running was vital to the squad’s success in the slippery snow. Senior running back Chance Logan led the way for the second straight week, carrying the ball nine times for 78 yards, with his second to last touch going for a 34-yard touchdown to seal the game.
Sophomore running back Nick Campanella’s strength running between the tackles complemented Logan’s quickness, a combination which kept the ball in the Hoyas’ hands and the Crusaders’ defense on their heels. Campanella ran 17 times for 46 hard-fought yards.
Senior defensive end Andrew Schaetzke and junior linebacker Robert McCabe once again stood out on the defensive side. Schaetzke’s two sacks earned him the Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award, given for the most outstanding performer in the Holy Cross Family Weekend game. He also was named Patriot League defensive player of the week. McCabe contributed 13 more tackles to push his season total to 107.
Because games against Fordham are not included in Patriot League standings due to the Rams’ decision to start offering football scholarships, next Saturday’s senior day will have little practical impact on the Patriot League championship.
Still, seniors such as Kaisamba, Logan and Schaetzke will say goodbye to a program that they have led to prominence in their final season on the Hilltop. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the MultiSport Facility.