DIII football: Brockport advances to first-ever semifinal on last-second field goal
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – No. 10 Brockport football team advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in program history Saturday afternoon, defeating Delaware Valley 31-28 on a last-second field goal from senior Brett Renzi. This marks the first time in over 10 years that an East Region team has advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
After DelVal scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 28-28, the teams went back and forth for 9:41 without a score. Brockport got the ball back with less than a minute remaining in regulation and put together a drive that got them to the Aggies 16-yard line where they called a timeout with two seconds left. After two straight timeouts from DelVal, Renzi stepped up for the biggest kick of his life, and knocked it straight through the uprights as time expired, sending Brockport to the semifinals.
Brett Renzi. ICE. FINAL FOUR. pic.twitter.com/sllziMd50B— Brockport Athletics (@BportAthletics) December 2, 2017
Three different Golden Eagles broke single season records in the game, as Joe Germinerio and two of his favorite targets made their way into the Brockport record books. Germinerio threw for 297 yards in the game and now has 3,274 passing yards on the season, a new record.
DaQuan Hubbard needed just nine receiving yards coming into the game to break the single season receiving yards record, and shattered that mark with 125 yards on five catches. Fellow wide out Joseph Ortiz also made history, as his 11 catches put him at 75 on the year, eclipsing the previous mark set by Jake Spalik in 2012.
The Green and Gold never trailed in this game, as after a quick three-and-out on DelVal's opening drive, the offense punched it in on their first chance on a one yard rush from Germinerio. A few drives later they found the end zone again, this time throwing for the score as Germinerio found Ortiz for the 16-yard TD grab, putting Brockport up 14-0.
DIII football: Full interactive bracket with semifinals set
The Aggies managed to punch one in on a 68-yard catch and run late in the first quarter, and were threatening again late in the second. On second and thirteen at the Brockport 41, Matt Szymanski forced a fumble that was recovered by Nathaniel Keith III, giving the Brockport offense another chance with 1:44 left in the half.
They took full advantage, as Germinerio carved up the Aggie defense for 62 yards to get the ball to the one yard line where Tyree Brown ran it in for the score, giving Brockport a 21-7 halftime lead.
After receiving the ball to start the second half, the Golden Eagles came out firing on offense, running a double-reverse flea flicker on the first play from scrimmage that resulted in a 45 yard completion to Hubbard. They kept up the pressure from there, as two straight big rushes from Justin Morrison put the ball on the DelVal seven yard line, where Germinerio ran in his second score of the game.
That score appeared for a while to have sealed the game, until the first play of the fourth quarter when Delaware Valley's Dashawn Darden threw for a 25-yard touchdown that sparked a string of three straight scores for the Aggies, tying the game with nearly ten minutes to go.
Despite having been on the field for most of the quarter, the Golden Eagle defense came up strong with two straight defensive stands late to give Brockport a chance to win it in regulation. One of those stands was aided by a beautiful punt from Eric Yaeger that bounced right in front of the goal line, forcing DelVal to start a drive at their own three.
On the final drive of the game, Germinerio showed why he was voted the Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year, completing his first three passes for 26 yards before a six yard rush by Morrison put the team at the 16, giving Renzi a chance that he seized with conviction.
Nathaniel Keith III (14), and Matt Szymanski (11) ended the game with 25 combined tackles, and each forced a fumble and broke up a pass. Austin Dean was close behind with nine tackles, including two of the teams seven sacks.
Brockport will now travel to Belton, Texas next weekend to face defending champion and No. 1 ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor University in the National Semifinals.