The Georgetown Football team (1-10, 0-6 Patriot League) was defeated by the Colgate Raiders (7-4, 5-1 Patriot League) 35-10 on Senior Day at Cooper Field Saturday, putting a cap on what has been a trying season for the Hoyas. Georgetown got off to a dream start, as sophomore defensive end Khristian Tate intercepted a screen pass and took it to the end zone on the first play from scrimmage before the Hoyas extended their lead to 10-0 with a field goal on their next possession. Colgate , however, would score the next 35 points in the game and won a share of the Patriot League title with Lehigh (5-6, 5-1 Patriot) in the process. The Raiders were led by three touchdown passes from freshman Grant Breneman to junior wide receiver Thomas Ives.
In front of a crowd of 2,211 at Cooper Field with the Hoyas 27 seniors’ families in attendance and a sizable contingent of travelling Colgate fans, it was the Hoyas who began as the hungrier team. Senior quarterback Tim Barnes said that the seniors had “just one more ride,” and they certainly started like it. After the Raiders received sophomore punter/kicker Brad Hurst’s kickoff to open the game, Tate stepped in front of a Breneman swing pass to senior running back James Holland Jr. on the next snap and took it the other way for a 26-yard touchdown. It was Tate’s second touchdown of the season, the defense’s third overall, and the first points for the Hoyas in three games. On the ensuing possession, the Hoyas turned the Raiders over on downs near midfield before stringing together their best offensive drive of the game highlighted by first down catches from junior wide receiver Michael Dereus and senior running back Alex Valles, capped by a 36-yard Hurst field goal that extended their lead to 10-0.
Colgate quickly responded with a backbreaking 13-play, 68-yard drive that finished with a 5 yard touchdown run from Holland before the Raiders defense forced a three-and-out on the Hoyas’ next possession. A 45-yard punt return from defensive back Ryan Castillo set Colgate up with great field position, which they capitalized on with a 2-yard touchdown catch by Ives to give the Raiders their first lead. The teams then traded punts before Colgate sophomore defensive back Abu Daramy-Swaray intercepted sophomore quarterback Gunther Johnson’s pass deep in Georgetown territory. The Raiders made good on the Hoyas’ miscues again with a 19-yard touchdown catch by the 6-foot-5 Ives on a fade route where he out-jumped the 5-foot-9 Ramon Lyons, and the half ended with Colgate holding a 21-10 advantage.
“We have to sustain [the momentum]. We gave them two short fields there and they did a good job converting drives,” Georgetown head coach Rob Sgarlata said.
Matters only got worse for the Hoyas after the intermission, as the Raiders scored on their first two possessions of the second half on drives of 17 and 7 plays, respectively, with Ives adding the exclamation point with a highlight-reel one-handed catch in the corner of the endzone for his third score of the day. For the Hoyas offense, Barnes, making his return to the field after being held out for eight weeks due to injury, took over the quarterbacking duties for good in the second half after splitting time with Johnson in the first frame, yet neither enjoyed much success as the Hoyas only gained 101 yards through the air on the afternoon.
“They got great guys up front, they do a number of different things on defense, and their scheme is just solid,” Barnes said of the Colgate defense.
With the team’s fate more or less sealed by the end of the third quarter, the Hoyas were left playing for pride in the fourth, which senior defensive back David Akere ensured by keeping the Hoyas motivated on the sidelines. If there was standout performer for the Hoyas on the day, it was Akere, who led all players with 14 tackles to finish his Hoya career with a whopping 274, good to move him into 5th on the program’s all-time leaderboard.
“It’s an incredible honor, I enjoyed my time here at Georgetown, I wish I would’ve finished first if I had known I was in the running,” Akere said with a laugh when asked about the accomplishment.
On a day where the Hoyas offense struggled immensely, as they have for much of the season, Akere and the defense put in an inspired performance despite the final score, in a game where they were on the field for a taxing 44 minutes.
“One thing we really harp on is embracing adversity, we know that sometimes we have to battle, but you fall down, you get back up, and that’s what we believe in,” Akere said.” “We know we’re going to play a lot of snaps, we’re going to get tired, but we can’t really show it.”
The Hoyas offense was outgained by the Raiders 378-140 and didn’t record its first third down conversion until the fourth quarter, after Tate had recorded his second takeaway of the game with a fumble recovery deep in Georgetown territory. The drive would stall there, however, and the Raiders failed to add to their 25-point advantage as they missed their field goal attempt wide right on the ensuing possession. A perfectly placed deep ball to Tommy Jesson down the left sideline after the missed field goal was the highlight of Barnes’ day, accounting for 38 of his 72 yards.
The offense again failed to advance after the big play, and the Raiders only had to kneel the ball down to wrap up their ninth Patriot League title. By virtue of their 41-38 loss to co-champions Lehigh earlier in the season, however, the Mountain Hawks will earn the Patriot League’s automatic bid to the FCS Football Playoffs, while Colgate will be hoping to earn an at-large bid.
The Hoyas will be disappointed with the result, but Sgarlata pointed out some positive takeaways from the season, including the 18 freshman who saw playing time over the course of the year and the emergence of Johnson at quarterback in Barnes’ absence.
When asked about seeing the Hoyas’ seniors leave, however, Sgarlata said, “It’s hard, it’s really bittersweet…the whole crew is really special to us. I’ve spent a lot of time with those guys over the years, and it’s really great to see what they’ve become.”