Following last year’s full and somewhat bumpy introduction into the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL), CHC's 2017 campaign was full of success and record-breaking moments.
Week 1 (L, 17-27 vs. Navy): Opening the season at home, Chestnut Hill College took on a formidable foe in the United States Naval Academy, who just a season prior shut out the Griffins 43-0. It was clear early on the Griffins had no intention of falling to a similar fate as they actually got on the board first with a field goal midway through the first quarter, and managed to keep the game close going into the half. Down just 10-7 coming out of the half, CHC had its opportunities but couldn’t convert. Still, losing to Navy by just 10 points was certainly a great way for the Griffins to open up their season as it helped build confidence in the team that beating these league powerhouses was not out of the question.
Week 2 (L, 7-20 vs. Penn): Another tough opponent followed in week two as the Griffins faced last year’s CSFL champion, the University of Pennsylvania, and once again fought valiantly. CHC found itself on the losing end of the box score by just 13 points. Defensively, this was a great result as the Griffins held Penn to its second fewest points of the season and fewest in a victory. The Griffins lone points came in the third quarter, when Mike Marino ’20 hooked up with Domoree Hill ’20 for an 81-yard touchdown.
Week 3 (W, 30-18 vs. Mansfield): With two of their toughest opponents on the schedule out of the way, the Griffins picked up their first win of the season, on the road, as they defeated Mansfield University thanks to a dominant rushing attack. Sef Penson ’20 ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, while Marino passed for 152 and threw another touchdown to top receiver, Hill. Punter Dante Fuchs ’20 connected on all four of his extra point attempts, and averaged 59 yards on five kickoffs to be named the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week for the first time.
Week 4 (L, 52-12 vs. Army): From the first whistle, it was clear that the Griffins found themselves overmatched as they took on Army, who finished the year undefeated. To CHC's credit, they did not get shut out like they had the year before, but in the end, Army’s high-powered attack and shutdown defense, both of which were best in the CSFL, proved too much for the Griffins.
Week 5 (W, 49-7 vs. Caldwell): The toughest part of their schedule behind them, CHC returned home to take on Caldwell University and gave their fans a game to remember. Allowing just seven points to their opponents, the Griffins controlled the contest from the beginning thanks to a career day from Marino. The sophomore QB completed nine passes, four of which were for touchdowns that all went to different receivers. Hill led the way with 97 yards. Also catching TD passes were Jonathan Barber ’20, Tyler Clayton ’20 and Reggie Robinson Jr ’19. Marino added two rushing touchdowns, all of this in the first half, en route to his being named Offensive Player of the Week for the first time. Fuchs appeared on the CSFL weekly report for a second time as well, thanks to hitting seven extra point attempts in the win. The 49 points were the Griffins’ highest of all-time.
Week 6 (W, 56-14 vs. Post): As it would turn out, records are made to be broken because just one week after setting a program high in scoring against Caldwell, CHC topped it against CSFL and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) rival, Post University. The Griffins were masterful, scoring eight offensive touchdowns, five through the air, and holding their opponents to just two. Robinson Jr. led the way with a pair of receptions, both of which went for scores, with Hill, Clayton and Joe Lee ’20, also catching passes that went to the end zone. For the second week in a row, Fuchs was named Special Teams Player of the Week thanks to his eight extra points converted and 59.1 yard per kickoff average.
Week 7 (W, 28-3 vs. Franklin Pierce): Saying goodbye to a trio of seniors, Kadeem Pankey, Josean Perez and Shane Pitts, Chestnut Hill College finished off the season with a three-game winning streak as they defeated Franklin Pierce University at home in the last game of the year. Again, defense was the story for the Griffins as they held the Ravens to just a lone field goal all while scoring 28 points. Marino, who was named the CSFL’s Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, completed 15 of his 21 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns. Hill, his favorite target, caught six of those passes, two of which were for touchdowns.
Overall, the season saw the Griffins finish as the fourth best team in the league, right behind the two service academies and the defending champions, in terms of total offense and total defense, third in third down conversion percentage, second in sacks, second in red-zone offense and third in red-zone defense. The Griffins also finished third in home attendance with almost 1500 members of Griffin Nation coming out to support them in their four home games.
Marilee Gallagher '14