Holy Cross Defeats Colgate in First Ever Football Game at Polar Park

Mike O’Brien ‘23
Chief Sports Editor

In addition to the inauguration of President Rougeau, the festivities of Family Weekend were continued at Polar Park, where College of the Holy Cross played host to Colgate at the park’s first ever football game. Usually occupied by the Worcester Red Sox (better known as Woo Sox), the baseball diamond was converted into a gridiron for the Edward Bennett Williams Classic, named after a Holy Cross alumnus who was recognized as America’s leading trial lawyer and an enthusiastic sports fan. 

Photo courtesy of Rick Cinclair at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Coming into the game, both Colgate and Holy Cross were undefeated in Patriot League play, with the Raiders beating Lehigh by a score of a 30-3 and Georgetown 28-21, while the Crusaders got their first win in Patriot League play last week with a 48-14 trouncing of Georgetown.

Under the lights of Polar Park, the Crusaders came out swinging and took an early 7-0 lead just 2:18 into the first quarter after a 22 yard Peter Oliver rushing touchdown. This was an early glimpse into what was a huge night for Oliver, finishing with 153 yards on the ground. 

The Crusaders’ defense enjoyed a productive first half, which forced three Colgate punts, a turnover on downs, and a field goal on their five offensive possessions of the opening two quarters. Despite allowing an impressive 99 yard kickoff return to Colgate right before halftime, Holy Cross still took a 21-10 lead into the break behind two more rushing touchdowns from Tyler Purdy and Jordan Fuller. 

Holy Cross’ dominance in their rushing game was immediately picked up to start the second half, as Matthew Sluka took off for a 35 yard rushing touchdown just 13 seconds into the third quarter to effectively salt the game, making the score 28-10. To make matters worse for the Raiders, on their ensuing drive, quarterback Grant Breneman’s pass was intercepted, handing the ball right back to HC. 

Right before the end of the quarter, Coach Bob Chesney pulled out all the stops for the Crusaders; lining up for a field goal to make the game 31-10, kicker Derek Ng ended up receiving the snap, rolled out and threw a touchdown pass to Cullen Honohan. The trickery was telling of how easy the day was for the Crusaders, and they went up by a score of 35-10.

But they weren’t done yet; with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Matthew Sluka found the end zone with his legs again to make the final score a 42-10 blowout. Holy Cross had complete command over the game, finishing with 114 passing yards to the Raiders’ 59, rushed for an eye-popping 359 yards to Colgate’s 111, forced four turnovers to the Raiders’ forced two, and converted on six third downs to Colgate’s two. 

With this dominant performance, the Crusaders move to 5-2 on the year, and take on Lehigh on the road this Saturday at 12:00. Starting off their Patriot League campaign with two convincing wins, if HC can keep the ball rolling against their four remaining league games to end their regular season, a possible Patriot League Championship three-peat is not out of the question. 

Categories: Sports

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