Rams Land in Cellar, Masella Relieved of Duties


Despite the athleticism of Victor DiFusco (54), FCRH ’15, and Ryan Higgins (3) FCRH ’13, the Rams finished a disappointing 1-10 on the season. (COURTESY OF FORDHAM SPORTS)

Though hopes were high at the onset of the season, results fell short for Fordham’s varsity football team this year.

The Rams were coming off a 5-6 season in 2010 and looking to push towards the top of the division. The team opened their season against the University of Connecticut Huskies for the first time since 1915. Fans were excited and the players were pumped for the game, but that didn’t help the Rams, as they lost the season opener 35-3. Things never got better and the season spiraled out of control. The Rams won only one game the entire 2011 season, ending with a disappointing 1-10 record.

The Rams had a potent team, but they severely underachieved. Star running back Darryl Whiting, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’12, believed the Rams were good enough to be, at worst, a “7-4 football team.” However, the team lacked consistency all year.

Still, after the loss at Connecticut, there was hope for the Rams when they won their home opener against Columbia.  Quarterback Pete Maetzold, FCRH ’15, threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns and Whiting ran for 100 yards to seal Fordham’s only victory of the season. This success would be short-lived as the Rams went on to finish the year on a nine game losing streak. The low point of the season was the crushing defeat the team suffered at the hands of Army 55-0.

Fordham played hard, yet fell short in a lot of competitive areas. In 2011, the Rams were outscored 145 to 369, averaging more than 20 points per game less than their opponents per game. The Rams also averaged a mere 4.7 yards a play while opponents averaged 6.5. Statistics like these proved too much for the Rams to overcome and led to their demise.

The horrendous season also led Fordham to cut ties with six-year Head Coach Tom Masella the day after the season ended. Whiting, who played under Masella’s tutelage all four years of his playing career had a great relationship with the coach. Whiting said “Coach Masella was not always a people person but he was a great person who kept a good relationship with the team.”

Masella leaves Fordham after six years with a 27-40 record. Executive Director of Athletics Frank McLaughlin  was appreciative of what Masella did for the school and said, “Tom is a determined coach who was able to help lead Fordham into the football scholarship era. We wish him all the best in the future.”

One change that the Rams made going into the season that became controversial was moving 2010’s starting quarterback, Blake Wayne, FCRH ’13, to wide receiver. Though he was effective as quarterback last year, coach Masella felt that it was time for a change. He knew that Wayne had steady hands and great potential, so he moved him to the wide receiver position in favor of a combination of Ryan Higgins and Pete Maetzold as quarterbacks.

The passing game this year, though it was not stellar, was still relatively effective, with 2527 total passing yards, Maetzold averaging a 59.8 percent completion rate and Higgins 57.4 percent completion rate. Wayne had a subpar season receiving, accumulating just 349 receiving yards and averaging a paltry 31.7 a game.

Was this the right decision to help the Rams in the long run? Whiting felt it the right move and said, “Pete is smart and Blake [Wayne] has great hands.” The two were both beginning to find their rhythm late, but the switch didn’t help the Rams win games and winning is all that counts.

At 1-10 the Rams are in the cellar of the Patriot League. The only positive that can be taken from this season is that Fordham has only one way to go, up.