A Perfect September
The Golden Eagles football team is off to its best start since 2003.
Football coach Jason Mangone ’00 has coined this motivational phrase for the Golden Eagles, and it appears to be working. Five games into the 2017 season the team is a perfect 5-0 and ranked 15th in the country in Division III. It is the best start to a year since the program made four consecutive trips to the NCAA Championships from 2000 to 2003.
“We had a great month, but the regular season is only at the mid-point,” said Mangone, who entered his fifth season as head coach this season with a record of 25-17 and two ECAC bowl appearances. “The team is working hard to get better every day. The results come from the preparation and hard work.”
After an impressive 34-20 win at nationally ranked Hobart to open the year, the team posted eye-opening defensive efforts against Ithaca, St. John Fisher — dominating the Cardinals 38-7 in the Courage Bowl — and Utica before winning a shootout at Cortland, 52-38, last Saturday.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Germinerio, the Empire 8 Rookie of the Year as a freshman, leads the high-powered attack with more than 1,700 combined passing and rushing yards and 14 touchdowns through the five games. Junior transfer Justin Morrison had the unenviable role of filling the shoes of all-time leading rusher Dan Andrews ’17, but has posted extraordinary numbers himself with 703 yards and eight scores. He had one “hurdling” run at Fisher that left onlookers in awe and earned a spot on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10. Germinerio, Morrison, and the offense are operating behind five senior starters on the offensive line.
Seniors Matt Szymanski and Jake O’Connell lead the defense that has been the difference between this season and years past. The team nearly posted back-to-back shutouts and has benefitted from the four off-seasons of recruiting by Mangone and his staff.
“This is our first season with all players that this staff recruited, and it is showing,” said Mangone, who has a roster loaded with 23 seniors and 22 juniors. “We are deep across the board, and that leads to competition every day in practice as guys fight to get on the field.”
In addition to the depth, the quality is very noticeable. Both Morrison and freshman receiver Tyree Browne Jr. were NYS Players of the Year in high school. Brockport football has become a destination for such players.
“Our facilities and support are fantastic and players like the styles we play on both sides of the ball,” said Mangone, who gives high praise to his hard-working coaching staff. “Players know what we expect, from the moment we begin the recruiting process.”
The Golden Eagles, 3-0 in the Empire 8, host three opponents in their last four conference games, including Hartwick on Homecoming Weekend (October 21) and unbeaten and 20th ranked Alfred the following Saturday.
“One practice, one game, one week at a time,” said Mangone. “We expect to compete in every game, regardless of who we are playing.”
In 2017, it’s “so far, so good” for this edition of the Golden Eagles.