By: Joseph Siegel
The Sacred Heart football team closed their 2017 season on Saturday, Nov. 18 when they hosted Wagner University for Senior Day.
The seniors would not finish their career with a win, as Sacred Heart lost to Wagner 28-15.
The team finished up their 2017-2018 season with an overall record of 4-7 and 2-4 in conference play.
With Sacred Heart honoring 22 seniors in the game, head coach Mark Nofri will have to make major changes for next year’s season.
“Records don’t show the true effort,” said Nofri. “This is one of the best teams I’ve been around from a chemistry and talent standpoint, records don’t speak for who they are.”
Nofri knows the team has the talent to succeed in the future years.
“Obviously the way the kids have been playing hard and all four quarters they never give up,” said Nofri.
Though the team fell short of achieving their goal of winning the Northeast Conference (NEC), the team had many encouraging statistics.
“We’ve had a pretty good year, we placed second in the conference in overall points,” said Nofri.
Senior quarterback, Kevin Duke, was a contributing factor as to why the team succeeded in many offensive categories.
“Kevin loves his teammates and the game,” said Nofri. “Turnovers aren’t all on him but if you look at the games Kevin plays well in, we came out on top. We’ve been very happy with his progress and for him staying healthy all year.
Duke set new program single-game records with 39 completions, 62 pass attempts and 429 passing yards against Bryant University on Nov. 4.
“There are a million different ways to look at it,” said Duke. “Yes I broke some records but we lost the game. I would rather win the game than break millions of records.”
Duke put together an impressive senior year, finishing with 2,596 passing yards and 15 total touchdowns.
“I could have been a lot better in situations, but this season has shown our progress and talent,” said Duke. “The chemistry I have with the receivers and offensive line, gives this team the trust to have me to throw the ball 62 times.
The team recognized seniors Dylan Ackerson, Kevin Daly, Jake Davis, Jaylin Deveau, Kevin Duke, Matthew Du Pilka, Vincent Favorito, Alec Finelli, Josh Freiria, Mickey Haller, Matt Ilalio, Anthony Merejo, Michael Montemurro, Mustapha Noibi, Andrew O’Neill, CJ Parvelus, Brendon Slade, Paul Stanton, Max Trudeau, Mike Whalen, and Khaamal Whitaker.
“Senior day is always sad and emotional since you see these athletes come in as young freshmen,” said Nofri. “Seeing all the kids’ growing pains, and now they are young men ready to take over the world, they represent the true meaning of a student-athlete.”
One positive note the team had from their loss on Saturday is that their quarterback Duke will not be graduating.
“Tough to have emotions when you have a fifth year,” said Duke. “I have made a lot of good friendships with these kids, we left all we had on the field, training room, and inside the classroom through our four years.”