Trinity Tackles Thrive As Friends And Teammates
This unpredictable year in NESCAC football has seen historically
strong squads like Tufts find their way into the cellar and perennial
underperformers like Hamilton playing above expectations. The Trinity defense
stymied both the Continental and the Jumbo offenses the last two weeks,
recording shutout wins against each. The Bantams yielded just 11 rushing yards
against Hamilton and 14 against Tufts, as the fierce senior defensive tackle
tandem of Matt Delconte and Tom Finnucan controlled the interior line of
Both seniors have been in the Trinity defensive line’s regular rotation for two years, while anchoring the top-ranked run defense in the nation. Though Delconte and Finnucan both competed for the same nose tackle spot each of the past three seasons, they agree the competition has been healthy and motivating.
“Through this competition we have grown tremendously as players,” says Finnucan. “Whether its slamming iron in the gym or doing drills on the field we are always pushing each other to be better.” The two have contributed largely in continuing eight scoreless quarters registered by the Bantam defense, and helped Trinity senior co-captain inside linebacker Walter Fallas earn NESCAC Defensive Player of the week honors on Monday.
Yet friendly competition between Finnucan and Delconte is not entirely relegated to the field. The two have been roommates for three years and share a passion for things outside of football. “They both do a great job in the classroom,” says Head Coach Jeff Devaney. “They are excellent student-athletes whose efforts help create a personality for our team.”
That personality, at least on defense, was supposed to come through a 3-4 base alignment, but the noteworthy play of Delconte and Finnucan warranted a switch to a 4-3 set, as the Bantams defense aims to stop the run with only six men in the box. This frees up the rest of the Trinity defense to defend the pass, as most Bantam opponents will look to the vertical game to crawl back from early deficits.
The two players present differing approaches to life and the field, as the more laid-back Finnucan is aided by the strength and unparalleled enthusiasm shown by Delconte.
“Matt is an intensely competitive guy, you can always count on him to get you going when you feel tired or worn down,” says Finnucan, who relies on his roommate to inspire him when the going gets tough.
Matt feels the same way about Tom. “We are both extremely competitive,” says Delconte, who credits Finnucan and the arrival of defensive line coach Dan Blume with improving his play on the field. Blume came to Trinity from Villanova in 2009, and has worked on the technique of his players.
Delconte said of his D-line coach, “He is always willing to break down film and has helped Tom, my-self, and the rest of us lineman improve our hands and feet.”
Trinity’s defensive line has certainly been technically strong in their first four games, and with the interior strength of Finnucan and Delconte, it appears that the Bantams will be dominating the line of scrimmage all season long. Their work in the trenches, despite its sometimes grueling and painful nature, has not only made them better football players but men of better character as well. Trinity football “creates a special bond of friendship and brotherhood that you don’t find anywhere else,” says Finnucan. He and Delconte certainly are a great example of that.