Soccer player

Footballer Bisson is having fun with the RPI football team so far

TROY – When RPI men’s football player Trevor Bisson agreed to join the football team last week, RPI football coach Adam Clinton tried to put this rare opportunity into perspective for him.

“You really have nothing to lose here,” Clinton told Bisson. “’They’re either going to take you off the field or they’re going to shake your hand and say,’ Thanks for trying. ‘ “

Last Saturday, in the rain and wind on Schenectady’s Frank Bailey field, Clinton looked behind the engineers sideline as his advice turned out to be prophetic.

The RPI players lifted Bisson, added to the roster five days earlier, on their shoulders after he landed a 36-yard field goal to beat Union 19-17 in the Dutchman Shoes game and put the Engineers in the playoffs of Division III of the NCAA.

RPI (9-1) will face Endicott (8-2) at noon on Saturday in a first round match in Beverly, Mass.

“It’s been a wild ride so far,” said fifth-year student Bisson. “I mean, going from thinking my career is over to kicking a game winner five days later. It’s just absolutely ridiculous and I’ve loved every second of it so far.”

The unlikely turn of events began on November 8, when the men’s soccer team discovered they would not be invited to the NCAA tournament. Clinton had previously been approached by RPI’s football assistant Jeff Dittman, asking if Bisson would be interested in changing teams if the football season was over.

RPI needed a replacement for senior kicker Conor MacDougall with a lower-body injury.

Last year, Clinton let RPI football coaches know that while Bisson was an American football player, he also kicked the Episcopal High School Baton Rouge football team, in Louisiana.

“I took goal kicks (in soccer), things like that, but you never know if you still have it or not,” said Bisson. “Lucky for me it was a bit like riding a bike again. I didn’t have to change too much.”

He showed up at the football field on November 8 for what he thought was a try that really wasn’t.

“In my mind it was not a try,” said RPI coach Ralph Isernia. “I think it was the first kick, (the punter) Zac (Montrief) was over there with me, and the ball came out of his foot, and I looked at Zac, and we both said, “Yeah, it’s okay that’s pretty good. “

Montrief, who reportedly took charge of the kicks, did his best to get Bisson up to speed. Montrief also made the transition from football to football, so he gave Bisson some pointers on his technique during field goals and kickoffs.

“He did a 50-yard run in high school,” Montrief said. “I was watching his movie Hudl (climax) and everything, and I was like, okay, if he’s got any more, then, yeah, he’s going to be fine.”

Bisson said his range is around 40 yards, although his winner against Union would have been good from further than that. He also kicked a 26-yard kick early in the fourth quarter and scored his only run thereafter.

“A little (nervous), yeah,” Bisson said. “But I’m glad I got some PATs and baskets earlier in the game because I think it really gave me confidence for the rest of the game. It was just muscle memory at that point. . “

Clinton said Bisson has a “low-key” personality that helps him in big times. He scored the decisive goal in his first football game as an RPI rookie. He also scored two last-minute goals in 2019, when RPI reached the NCAA quarterfinals.

Bisson was not a first name with football players when he joined the team, including its incumbent, senior Peter Lombardi.

“I learned he’s clutch,” Lombardi said. “Before each kick, he takes a deep breath, looks at the uprights, waves to me and we’re good to go. So he’s a player.”

Bisson, who isn’t a typical kicker at 6-4, 210 pounds, also shows some tenacity in football. He played football with a broken right forearm in high school.

Bisson chose RPI for its computer science program and soccer team. Now he is a footballer again and could be called upon to win another game on Saturday.

“I hope we are not in this situation, if we can win an easier one,” he said with a laugh. “But I would say it would give me more confidence that my team trust me, the coaches trust me and I just have to go out and do my job.”