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Despite suffering key injuries, football team picks up steam

Bears enter game against Holy Cross without star linebacker, criticial cog in Bruno’s running game

Fresh off its first win of the season, the football team hopes to even out its record when it hosts the College of the Holy Cross Saturday.

The Bears’ (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) season got off to an ignominious start with a loss to Georgetown University, but the team’s performance has improved markedly in the past two weeks. It took a fourth-quarter comeback for reigning Ivy League champion Harvard (3-0, 1-0) to beat Bruno, and the Bears beat the University of Rhode Island (0-6) in the 99th battle for the Governor’s Cup last Saturday.

The Bears head into their upcoming game with the Crusaders (2-4) without the pressure of trying to get a monkey off their back.

“Guys are getting more confident,” said defensive captain and linebacker Dan Giovacchini ’15.

Head Coach Phil Estes P’18 had a more measured take on the mood after the win against URI.

“The guys were out here, enthusiastic, but I think it was business as usual,” he said. “One thing about these guys, they do a good job of throwing the losses away, and I think they do a good job, when we win, to put that aside and focus on the next opponent.”

Unfortunately, the Bears were dealt a pair of big injury blows on their way to their triumphant win. Giovacchini was injured on the game’s penultimate play, suffering a high ankle sprain, and will miss this week’s game.

Estes said he appreciates all that his captain brings but has confidence in his defense and backup linebacker Max Tylki ’17.

“We lost (Giovacchini) in the second half of the Harvard game, and Max Tylki came in and did a nice job,” he said. “But any time you lose your captain, you lose the emotional side of it as well as the physical side. It always hurts because he’s a great leader and has a lot of experience, but this creates an opportunity for someone else to step up.”

In a painful turn of events for a struggling Bruno offense, the other major injury for the Bears was backup quarterback Seth Rosenbauer’s ’16 head injury. A large part of Bruno’s success against the Rams, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound human tank entered the game at tailback and proceeded to shred the Rams’ defensive line, rushing for 53 yards on just 10 carries. For reference, starting running back Andrew Coke ’16 gained eight more yards on 12 more carries. It still remains unclear if Rosenbauer will play against Holy Cross.

Estes said Rosenbauer “did a great job” against the Rams and will be “a big part” of the offense if he is indeed able to play.

Bruno has taken big strides since its two season-opening losses, but Estes was far from satisfied with the team — especially the offense.

“The big thing right now is we need to score more points,” he said. “Averaging 12 to 13 points a game is not going to win a lot of football games for you.”

The defense was more a point of pride for Estes, but he knew the team still has to improve. “Defensively, I think we played pretty well,” he said, adding that “there’s still some things we can tighten up on some of the big plays we’ve given up.”

With another week’s growth under their belts after the win, the Bears are ready to take on the Crusaders.

“Holy Cross will be good,” Giovacchini said. “It’ll be a good challenge for us. … This is certainly a big week, and I think we’re starting to feel a sense of urgency … coming into league play, so we definitely want to get the momentum going.”

Estes’s game plan is simple: Score “more points than they score.”

Saturday’s kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. at Brown Stadium.


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