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The Captain's Log

Captains eliminated in NCAA

A deflating ending to an exhilarating season
Football+from+Unsplash
Football from Unsplash

In the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Captains faced the Randolph-Macon College Yellow Jackets in Ashland, Virginia. This game marked the Captains first NCAA tournament game since 2014. Despite the anticipation surrounding this game, the Captains were defeated 28-20. The Yellow Jackets will now face Ithaca College in the second round.

On the first possession, Randolph-Macon embarked on a ten play, 69 yard drive that ended with a touchdown to give them an early 7-0 lead. A pair of runs from sophomore running back Gunner White coupled with a catch made by sophomore wide receiver Colin Hart put the Captains deep into Randolph-Macon territory. Despite their efforts, a run from White on third down at Randolph-Macon’s three-yard line was stopped by the Yellow Jackets. This led to a made field goal from senior kicker Ryan Castle which made it a 7-3 contest.

After the Captains defense forced Randolph-Macon to punt, the offense had a chance to take the lead with a touchdown. Key completions from senior quarterback Matt Dzierski to Gunner White and Trey Hayes put the Captains in the red zone once again. A 9-yard run from White on a third down at Randolph-Macon’s 19-yard line put the Captains one step closer to the end zone. However, the possession ended at the Yellow Jackets 1-yard line when White could not convert a fourth down attempt.

As has been the case for most games, the Captains defense continued to make big plays. After a pair of rushing third down conversions put the Yellow Jackets into Captains territory, senior defensive back Kindrick Braxton intercepted a pass in the end zone that kept the score at 7-3 at the end of the first half.

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On Randolph-Macon’s first possession of the second half, the Captains were able to force another turnover. This time, it was a fumble that was recovered by junior linebacker Andrew Worsham. This gave the Captains offense a shorter field to work with. The offense made the most out of this opportunity by scoring a touchdown through a 1-yard run by Matt Dzierski. The extra point by Castle gave the Captains a 10-7 lead, their first of the game.

Randolph-Macon was very quick to respond. The Yellow Jackets were able to score three touchdowns on their next three possessions. Their defense helped gain momentum as they forced the Captains to punt on two consecutive possessions which allowed the Yellow Jackets to build a 28-10 lead. With 9:03 remaining in the game, the Captains were able to attempt a comeback as Dzierski found Hart for a 60-yard touchdown pass that trimmed the Yellow Jackets lead to 28-17.

On Randolph-Macon’s next offensive possession, the Captains defense was able to stand tall through a sack on third down that led to a 42-yard field goal attempt. The field goal was blocked by sophomore linebacker Pat Sullivan and was returned to the Randolph-Macon 45-yard line. A completion to senior tight end Kyle Lynch gave the Captains a chance to add six more points to their total. Unfortunately, the Captains were only able to muster a field goal which made it a 28-20 ballgame. A failed onside kick attempt from Castle allowed the Yellow Jackets to defeat the Captains.

Despite the loss, this season has still been one of the Captains best in recent memory. The team finished the regular season with a record of 7-3, good enough to win their first New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championship since 2015. While most would have hoped for the Captains to advance further in the tournament, this game could mark the beginning of a new era for Captains football.

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