At this Saturday’s Homecoming, Rowan football secured their first win of the season against William Paterson University in dominant fashion.
Coming into the week, the Profs defense allowed 24 points in each of their last two games, their lowest mark of the season and a sign of their continuous improvement. They had a tough challenge coming into the week, playing a William Paterson offense that scored 48 points just a week prior.
Rowan’s defense accepted the challenge in stride, forcing five turnovers and holding the Pioneers to 10 points. One crucial player to the defense’s success is junior linebacker Mike Mascioli, who racked up 12 tackles and was swarming the ball throughout the game.
“It was really just everyone doing their part. Everyone being in their right fits and I just capitalized on the opportunities that I had,” Mascioli said.
On the other side of the ball, junior wide receiver John Maldonado flashed plays of brilliance once again. Maldonado finished Saturday with six catches, 153 yards and one touchdown. It was the most receiving yards Maldonado hauled in all season.
Maldonado’s most notable play of the game came with 4:50 remaining in the second quarter when quarterback Mike Husni fired a ball deep down the left sideline in Maldonado’s direction. Maldonado had two defenders on him and the ball looked to be intercepted at first, but he ripped the ball away and found himself with a clear path to the endzone.
“I was working to get the DB [defensive back] off of me and then the ball landed right in between the two DBs and into my lap a little bit, and I kind of did pull it away from both of them. And then they ran into each other and I just took off with it and ran,” Maldonado said.
Maldonado’s touchdown was the second time the Profs would take the lead. And they didn’t give it back after that.
One player that helped the Profs maintain that lead was sophomore kicker Jake Hurler. Hurler was 4-5 on his field-goal attempts and 1-2 on extra points, a performance sufficient enough to secure New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
With under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Rowan led 22-10 and William Paterson took over trying to mount one last comeback. On third and 13, Pioneer’s quarterback Spencer Lee dropped back, threw and was intercepted by Mascioli over the middle of the field, effectively putting the game away and giving Mascioli his first interception of the season.
“I dropped right. I was backing up and I saw the hitch coming in behind me and I just dropped back to my spot and I jumped right in front of it,” Mascioli said. “He threw it, like, right to me, kind of. But it felt good. It felt good to get my first of the year. Hopefully, I’ll get many more.”
For Head Coach Jay Accorsi, he was thrilled to see his players get their first win of the season.
“You’re happy for the players because they’re the ones who put in all the time and the effort and the energy, and, you know, you just want them to catch a break and enjoy a win and the fun part of it,” Coach Accorsi said. “You knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time, and it did today.”
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