No. 25 Brockport wins battle with Alfred, clinch conference title

Courtesy of goBrockport.com

BROCKPORT, NY — The nationally-ranked No. 25 Brockport football team joined elite territory on Saturday becoming just the second program in the 18 year history of the Empire 8 Conference to win three consecutive titles.  The Golden Eagles have earned the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship courtesy of a 16-7 victory over visiting Alfred University on Saturday afternoon at Bob Boozer Field.

The Golden Eagles have now won eight consecutive contests and improved to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in Empire 8 play.  Brockport has one more regular season contest left on the docket as the Golden Eagles travel to Morrisville next Saturday to take on the Mustangs at 12 p.m.

Following Saturday’s regular season finale at Morrisville, the Golden Eagles will await notification of the championship qualifying teams which takes place on Sunday, November 17th.  The first round of the NCAA Championships will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23rd.  Opponent, location and time of the NCAA First Round games are to be determined.

Brockport’s conference clinching win over Alfred came courtesy of another gutsy effort by the defense, two scores from running back Jala Coad, and an incredible 11:28 fourth quarter possession that took 21 plays and spanned 84 yards.  The clock eating drive resulted in an insurance field goal for the Golden Eagles (24 yards) from the foot of senior Dustin Moyle to put the home team on top 16-7.  Brockport’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the next possession to lock up the victory and the Empire 8 crystal.

Coad finished the day with 26 carries for 81 yards and two scores.  He now has 15 total touchdowns this season (14 rushing, one receiving) and leads the conference with 90 total points. Brockport’s rushing attack as a unit did not disappoint, piling up 201 yards on 58 carries. Freshman Rashad Law had a big day on the ground for the Golden Eagles as he totaled 77 yards on just five carries (15.4 yards per carry).

Senior All-American candidate Alex West led the Brockport defense once again as he posted nine tackles and 1.0 sack for a loss of nine yards.  He also posted two QB hurries.  West now has 25 career sacks and needs just one more to tie the program-record of 26 set back in 2002. Andrew Covais, the reigning conference defensive player of the week, had another big day as he made five stops and added one quarterback pressure. Josh Greenwood stepped up and made five stops in the middle to go along with one sack.

Brockport struck first at the 10:14 marker of the first quarter when Coad capped a 10-play 74 yard drive with a two yard TD run to hand the home team an early 6-0 lead.  Less than four minutes later the Golden Eagles took advantage of a botched punt attempt by Alfred that handed the Brockport offense the ball on the visitor’s two yard line.  Coad’s number was called once again to punch in the TD from two yards out on the ground to deliver a 13-0 lead to the eventual conference champs.

The defenses were on display for the remainder of the half and the score was set at 13-0 in favor of the Golden Eagles as the halftime horn sounded.

Alfred put a small scare in the Golden Eagles early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Casey Boston connected with A.O. Othman for a 66 yard touchdown pass to cut the home team’s lead to just six points, 13-7.

Brockport answered with the knockout blow as the ensuing drive lasted 11+ minutes and resulted in the title ensuring field goal.

Brockport’s nationally-recognized rushing defense was on display once again as it held Alfred’s E8 leading rushing attack to just two rushing first downs and 17 total yards on the ground.  The Saxon’s headed into Saturday’s contest with a league-best average of 257.5 rushing yards per game.

Brockport has won 18 consecutive regular season home games and they have not lost in front of the home crowd at Boozer field during a regular season game since Sept. 24, 2016. The Golden Eagles have also won 21 straight Empire 8 Conference contests.  They will look to post their third consecutive unbeaten season in conference play next Saturday at Morrisville.

The Golden Eagles dominated the time of possession battle once again, in part due to the 11+ minute fourth quarter game-sealing drive.  Brockport finished the day with a 36:40-23:30 advantage in TOP. Brockport was also 2-for-3 on fourth down conversions and scored on 3-of-4 red zone chances.

Brockport has now joined Ithaca College as just one of two teams in league history to win three straight conference titles. Ithaca won four straight titles from 2002-2005, however the Bombers shared the title with St. John Fisher in 2004, making Brockport the first team in league history to win three straight outright titles.

It was also senior day on Saturday, and the Golden Eagles honored their 15 graduating upperclassmen prior to the start of the contest.

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