By Danielle Achin
The Framingham State football team opened Homecoming Weekend with a 34-10 victory over Mass. Maritime, securing the 2022 Kelley Cup Oct. 29.
The Kelley cup game is named after the father-and-son combination of Framingham Head Coach and Athletic Director Tom Kelley, and Mike Kelley, a Mass. Maritime Academy football assistant and head baseball coach.
The players weren’t the only ones commemorating the victory. The game was just as memorable for the fans in the bleachers as many were alumni of the FSU team who came to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the program at the University.
After Mass. Maritime won the coin toss, the first quarter opened with the Buccaneers’ Charlie Naylor completing a 10-yard pass from Marc Murphy for the 7-0 lead with just over seven minutes for the play.
Less than three minutes later, the Rams countered with Manny Lara completing a 50-yard pass from Noah Leonard. This set up Devaun Ford for a 15-yard rush to the end zone, tying the game 7-7.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, the Buccaneers took back the lead 10-7 when Mike Epifano scored on a 32-yard field goal.
Framingham retaliated and Ford pushed through the line for the first down at the 30-yard mark.
With just over nine minutes remaining in the half, Ford broke through the middle and carried a 21-yard handoff from Leonard for the touchdown.
With a completed kick from Matthew Farley, the Rams took the 14-10 lead.
FSU took control of the field and ended the quarter with a 1-yard rush from Omarion Otto. With Farley’s kick attempt blocked, the score was 20-10 at the half.
At 8:19 in the third quarter, Marcus McBean snuck through the line at the 1-yard mark and carried 5 yards for the touchdown.
With another completed kick by Farley, the Rams were leading 27-10 over the Buccaneers.
Mass. Maritime attempted to fight back, but the Rams’ defense proved triumphant as safety Chase Buono stopped two major plays to keep the Buccaneers from advancing down the field, keeping the score 27-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
With just over two minutes left in the game, the final touchdown was scored with an intense play from McBean after completing a handoff from Leonard and jumping over the defensive line into the end zone.
Farley finished the game with another completed kick for the 34-10 victory for Framingham State.
With the win, Ford commented on how victories like this are never given - they are earned by the work that is put in.
He said, “We were coming in with a new game plan. We had the bye week last week, so we really were trying to put everything together. We just knew we had to come in and execute what we’ve been working on all week and it worked out for us.”
Nicholas Gordon said a big motivator for them to play their hardest comes from Head Coach Tom Kelley himself.
“We do it all for TK [Tom Kelley] at this point,” he said. “We just want him to end the season happy. We knew how big this game was for him.”
The Rams are scheduled to travel next to Bridgewater State and faceoff against the Bears in more MASCAC action Nov. 5.