College notebook: Pittsfield's Traversa making an impact for Springfield College football
It hasn't been the best of starts for the Springfield College football team, having gone 0-2. But things have gone pretty well for former Pittsfield High School football player Dom Traversa.
Traversa is a starting linebacker for the Pride, and has registered 17 tackles in two games. He had a season-high 10 tackles (4 solo, 6 assisted) in the 26-10 opening-night loss to Springfield rival Western New England.
"Dom has been doing a great job. He's a great leader for the team," Springfield head coach Mike Cerasuolo said. "Everything we ask he does."
Traversa is listed at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds. The Pride play Mount Ida at home on Saturday.
"Last year is really when it started to click and he got the understanding of the defense — where he's supposed to be and how he's supposed to play it," said Cerasuolo, who is in his first year after 15 years as the offensive coordinator. "Now, each day, he's progressing and getting better."
Traversa is one of three ex-PHS Generals on the roster. Mason Papirio, who graduated in the spring, is listed on the roster but does not have a number. He is going to play lacrosse. Chad Shade, who did a post-graduate year at Cushing Academy, is a freshman. Shade is one of two freshmen quarterbacks on the roster.
"He's been forced into some new situations for me," the coach said of Shade. "He's come in, learned the system. The last couple of weeks, he's got to be ready to go.
"He's put in the preparation and the time and effort into learning the system. He's developing a lot of leadership skills as well."
It helps, said Cerasuolo, that Shade ran a system at Pittsfield that was similar to Springfield's. PHS coach Brian Jezewski played at Springfield, and uses the Pride's offense.
One of the two University of Wisconsin football players with Berkshire County roots has already seen the field.
Griffin Grady, a freshman linebacker, is the son of former Pittsfield High School basketball standout Keyburn McCusker Grady and her husband Rob Grady. Griffin Grady played the final moments of last week's 54-10 win over Akron.
"Why wouldn't I want to see the field now?" he said to the website Badger247. "Playing now is awesome. A lot of guys are redshirting and getting that extra year, but you never know what can happen down the road."
Grady is one of seven true freshmen who have played this year. He registered a tackle against Akron.
"We're really excited about him," Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said in the Badger247 article. "He's got some really good physical tools, he can run, he's a really good athlete."
Jake Hescock of Pittsfield, a freshman tight end, has yet to see action and is expected to redshirt the entire season. That means the Salisbury School graduate will still have four years of football eligibility remaining.
Jake Benzinger of Williamstown has settled in as the second-string left tackle at Wake Forest.
Benzinger, who red shirted last year, did not play in the season opener against Tulane. He did play down the stretch in Wake's ACC win over Duke. According to the play-by-play sheet, the former Mount Greylock three-sport athlete played 13 snaps.
The Demon Deacons, coached by former Williams College player Dave Clawson, outscored Duke 17-7 in the second half to win 24-14. Wake Forest ran 49 times for 239 yards.
Two former Wahconah football players have yet to make their marks in college, but Evan Garvey and Marco Anastasio have caught the eyes of their coaches.
Garvey, a freshman wide receiver, has been playing on kickoff teams for Westfield State University. Westfield coach Pete Kowalski said it might not be long before Garvey gets to catch passes for the 1-1 Owls.
"Coach [Gary] Campbell, I talked to him during the summer about a couple of his players and Evan always came up," said Kowalski. "He came into camp and we were really impressed by his eye-hand coordination. He was catching everything in sight.
"We have him playing the slot receiver."
Kowalski said Garvey has picked up the offense, and the coach expects the freshman to catch passes this year.
Anastasio, who played offensive line and linebacker for Campbell at Wahconah, is a freshman defensive lineman for head coach Keith Emery at Western New England.
Emery said that his program is to the point where primarily juniors and seniors do all of the playing. But the veteran coach said he's pleased with Anastasio's progress in a new position.
"He's moved down, put his hand in the dirt a little bit and played some defensive line, which I think is a better fit for him skill-set wise," said Emery, whose 2-0 Golden Bears play Union this weekend. "For Marco, the future is bright.
"He was a heck of a high school linebacker, but probably a better fit for the defensive line in college."
This is only a partial accounting of Berkshire County high school athletes playing in college.
While The Eagle knows of many, who will show up here at some point, there are probably more out there. Send an email to email@example.com, so the list of college athletes can continue to grow.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
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