Dan Piersma, Assistant Sports Editor
As the year winds down, it brings with it an end to fall sports at Utica College. The Pioneer football team’s season officially ended, finishing without a bowl appearance one season after winning the ECAC Scotty Whitelaw Bowl against Ithaca College.
The team finished 5-5 on the year and 4-1 when playing at home. Utica’s catalyst for missing out on postseason action was the team’s play away from Charles A. Gaetano Stadium with a record of 1-4. The season ended on a positive note, however, as they beat Hartwick College by a score of 58-14 on Senior Day.
The few losses that were by single digits against teams who made the tournament are ultimately the ones that will sting the worst but the team never gave up.
“After tough losses, they always rebounded very well,” Head Coach Blaise Faggiano said.” It was a season coming in the team knew they had an uphill battle and that it wasn’t going
to be an easy road by any stretch. We knew that going in that we had one of the toughest schedules in the country.”
It is now going to be time for offseason to start and recruiting players to come play for Utica.
Since taking over, Faggiano said he aims to recruit solely to increase the potential for the success of the football program each season.
The team had over 30 seniors this year and were a part of something historic, according to Faggiano.
“This is the winningest senior class in Utica College football history,” he said. “In four years, they recorded 22 wins. This is the recruiting class of the tuition reset and the dome.”
In addition to finishing the season on a high note, they also had multiple members from the team get selected to all-conference teams.
Michael Carr-Johnson, Elijah Belle and Kwasi Addo were named first-team selections. Peyton Miller, Jack Derby and Anthony Beaubrun were a part of the second-team selections. John James O’Connor was selected to the honorable mention all-conference team. John Nish represented the team as the Sportsman of the Year in the Empire 8 and Maki Medici was named the Special Team’s Player of the Year.
Next season has already started for the Pioneers as the team is ready to bounce back and they plan to make it to another bowl game.
“We’ll clap for our seniors as they leave and 2020 starts right now,” Faggiano said.
The coach said he will start recruitment in the next few weeks and is happy with where the program is right now.
A few of the players will head to play in all-star games as well. There is a belief among the coaching staff that a couple of the guys could go on to further their careers as football players after college.