Soccer player

Soccer player elevates RPI football to victory in Dutchman Shoes match

SCHENECTADY – The crazy latest chapter in the Dutchman Shoes Trophy rivalry ended with RPI winning over a field goal from a kicker who was not on the squad a week ago.

Trevor Bisson, a Division III American football player who joined the football team on Monday, split the uprights with a 36-yard player in the rain without having time to give the Engineers a 19-17 triumph over Union in front of a crowd of 3,550 people. at Frank Bailey Field.

With the win, RPI (9-1 overall, 5-1 league) tied Ithaca for the Liberty League regular season title and gets the league’s automatic offer for the NCAA playoffs due to his head-to-head victory over the Bombers on October 30.

“It was just an emotion that we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to win it,” said Bisson. “I’m so happy for our team and, God, it was fantastic.”

RPI coach Ralph Isernia signed Bisson to replace regular kicker Conor MacDougall, who was injured against Hobart on October 16. Isernia waited until the football team was not selected for the NCAA tournament on Monday, then contacted men’s football coach Adam Clinton about Bisson’s availability. Bisson tried for the team that day.

“He’s got a one-leg boom,” Isernia said.

Bisson, a fifth-grade soccer player, had not played for a soccer team since high school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He said he had never attended a Dutchman Shoes game because he fell during his football season.

“It’s pretty special,” he says. “As soon as I got here these guys just accepted for me.”

The Engineers trailed 17-7 in the fourth quarter until Bisson netted a 26-yard field goal to reduce the deficit to seven.

RPI graduating quarterback George Marinopoulos, a Guilderland High product, landed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Vinnie McDonald with 29 seconds remaining to bring the Engineers down to 17-16. Isernia opted for a two-point conversion and victory, but Marinopoulos pitched high and incomplete for wide receiver Peter Lombardi.

But RPI attempted a side kick by Diego Fernandez, listed as a defensive back, which was recovered by junior teammate Jimmy Leblo at Union 38 with 28 seconds left.

Marinopoulos completed a pair of passes to Sterling Walker-Sutton at Union 20 to set up Bisson’s winning kick. The players harassed Bisson on the field and lifted him onto their shoulders. They took to the RPI fan section to sing the school’s fight song, and then triumphed in the Dutchman Shoes Trophy, which they won for the first time since 2017. There was no match – neither of season – last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I put (the return) on the coaches that we have in this program and the reason why so many of our guys came back for a fifth year,” Marinopoulos said. “That next-game attitude, that one-game warrior mentality that we have that Coach R preaches all the time. It really came into play in the fourth quarter when we needed two scores to win.

Union (8-2, 4-2) lost their second straight game and saw their NCAA playoff hopes evaporate.

“Just that you still love them and are proud of them,” Union coach Jeff Behrman said, asked what he told his players. “For the seniors, they’ve accomplished a lot in their four or five years here, and they’re very proud of that. They’ve definitely put the program in the right place, and they’re a huge part of it. Obviously they’re heartbroken and crushed right now, but I love how they fared after this game, whether they won or lost. They behaved with class.

Union senior running back Ike Irabor, who has one year of eligibility remaining, said he believed the game was over when RPI’s two-point conversion failed.

“We thought it was sealed then,” said Irabor, who ran for a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter. “Just take the knee and be done with it. But that’s not how it turned out in the end.

RPI also scored on the last play of the first half, when Marinopoulos threw a 35-yard touchdown pass under pressure to Walker-Sutton, who caught the ball at 7 and threw it.

“If you watch this game they scored 10 points in the last two seconds of each half,” Behrman said. “Credit to them. They found ways to win.