The Wesleyan Cardinals closed the 2015 season with a hard fought 13-17 loss to Trinity College in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action this afternoon on Jessee/Miller Field.
Trinity got on the board first, taking advantage of a short Wesleyan punt on a windy day to start its second rive of the afternoon at the Wesleyan 45-yard line and scoring on two plays. Bantam sophomore QB Sonny Puzzo completed a 33-yard pass to classmate Bryan Vieira on first down to the Cardinal 12-yard line, and rookie RB Max Chipouras ran it in from seven yards away on the next play with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
Trinity junior S Patrick Dorsey stymied Wesleyan's best drive of the first half with an interception of a pass by Cardinal freshman QB Mark Piccirillo at the Bantam 21-yard line, and Trinity senior captain Kyle Pulek accounted for the lone points of the second quarter with a 24-yard field with 4:43 on the clock. Pulek had a 38-yard attempt blocked by Wesleyan junior Jordan Stone with 55 seconds before halftime to keep the Trinity lead at 10 after two frames.
The Cardinals scored for the first time on a three-yard run by senior tri-captain RB LaDarius Drew with 8:11 remaining in the third quarter, capping off a seven-play, 65-yard drive that saw Piccirillo complete three passes for 53 yards. Puzzo was picked off by Cardinal junior Zac Cuzner on the ensuing Trinity possession, but Wesleyan could not capitalize, and Trinity scored its second touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by Chipouras.
Trinity gave Wesleyan two chances to pull to within a field goal with fumbles in its own end in the final 5:02 of the game. Junior RB Nick Gaynor lost the ball at the Bantam 10-yard line and it was recovered by Cardinal senior Anthony Daversa-Ross, but the Trinity defense held Wesleyan to nine yards on eight plays and stopped Piccirillo on 4th-and-goal from the Bantam two-yard line to keep score at 17-7 with 1:42 on the clock.
Wesleyan got the ball back moments later, however, recovering a fumble by Puzzo at the Trinity one-yard line and scoring on a one-yard run by Piccirillo with 1:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. Bantam junior Yosa Nosamiefan blocked the extra-point try to keep the Bantam's lead at 17-13, and senior Paul McCarthy recovered Wesleyan's onsides kick to allow the Bantams to run out the clock.
Piccirillo and sophomore Gernald Hawkins combined to complete nine passes in 19 tries for the Cardinals. Daversa-Russo led all defenders with 12 tackles (nine solo) and Shayne Kaminski contributed nine tackles for Wesleyan.
The Cardinals finish the season with a record of 5-3 while Trinity finishes the year at 7-1.