Stonehill Outscores Pace, 41-33

Senior running back Eddie Vachon posted his fifth-straight 100-yard rushing performance with 191 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries. In addition to becoming Stonehill's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (19), he moved into second place on the Skyhawks career rushing list. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Vachon leads Skyhawks offense with 191 yards and three scored, becomes program's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 19

EASTON, Mass. (September 10, 2010) – Stonehill College survived a furious fourth quarter rally by Pace University to come away with a 41-33 victory in a non-conference football matchup at W.B. Mason Stadium tonight.

Stonehill led by as much as 19 points (38-19) early in the fourth quarter before Pace closed to within five points (38-33) when junior quarterback Joe Romanick (Slidell, La.) tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the night. The teams combined for 926 yards of total offense, with the Setters posting 483 yards on 281 yards passing and 202 rushing. The Skyhawks finished with 256 yards on the ground and 187 through the air for 443 total yards.

Senior running back Eddie Vachon (Newton, Mass./Blair Academy) rushed the ball 19 times for 191 yards (10.1/carry) and three touchdowns, surpassing Stonehill's career record for rushing touchdowns with 19. He broke the previous record of 16 rushing scores set by Rob Olivar from 2000-03. Vachon also moved into second place on the program's all-time list with 2,246 career yards rushing – now 455 shy of Tyrone Jefferson (1998-00) for the school's career record. It marks Vachon's fifth-straight 100-yard rushing performance dating back to last season, with the Skyhawks winning all five contests.

Sophomore Jermetrius Troy (Mattapan, Mass./Tilton School) added 85 yards on just seven carries (12.1/rush) and a touchdown – a career-best 61-yard scamper to put the Skyhawks up 38-19 with 10:46 to play. Sophomore John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) caught five passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, while junior quarterback Tim Morrison (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) was an efficient 16-of-21 for 187 yards passing with the one score and no interceptions.

Sophomore kicker Nicholas Salvo (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet) was a perfect five-for-five on extra point attempts and also drilled both field goal tries, including a career-long 39-yarder with 2:40 left to seal the win.

Sophomore John Gomes caught five passes for 102 yards and a score.

Senior safety Steven Good (Green Harbor, Mass./Marshfield) led the defense for Stonehill with 13 tackles (seven solo), including a sack for a loss of five yards. Sophomore Jonathan Poth (Nahant, Mass./Swampscott) added ten stops (four solo) and a pass breakup, while junior Matthew Iannucci (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) contributed seven tackles (three solo), including one for a loss of two yards and two pass breakups. Sophomore Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) chipped in with six tackles (five solo), including two for a loss of four yards, a breakup and blocked field goal.

Romanick finished 27-for-46 for 281 yards and the four scores with no interceptions. He also added 34 yards on the ground on 11 carries. Senior Eric Ortega (Staten Island, N.Y.) caught ten of those passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Patrick Lupfer (Mineola, N.Y.) added seven catches for 64 yards and a score. Senior Jason Washington (Bronx, N.Y.) rushed the ball 14 times for 150 yards (10.7/rush).

Senior Jonfrey Sanchez (Bogota, N.J.) led the Pace defense with nine tackles (seven solo), while junior David Lopez (Ozone Park, N.Y.) also contributed nine tackles (five solo). Classmate Yves Delpeche (Brooklyn, N.Y.) contributed eight tackles (five solo), including a tackle for a loss of two yards and a quarterback hurry.

Stonehill led 38-19 after Troy raced 61-yards on first down for his first career touchdown with 10:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. Pace answered with an 11-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass by Romanick to Ortega with 6:27 left in the fourth. The Setters, who were 1-for-15 on third down for the night, but 6-for-7 on fourth, converted a fourth and two from the Stonehill 32 to keep the drive going.

Pace then recovered the on-side kick at the Stonehill 45 yard line and Romanick hit junior Dominique West (Philadelphia, Pa.) for a 22-yard touchdown pass six plays later to draw within five (38-33) with 4:17 to play. The Setters again survived a fourth down, this time converting on fourth and four on the Skyhawks 39 to stay alive.

Junior Tim Morrison was an efficient 16-for-21 for 187 yards passing and a touchdown. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr).

Vachon landed on the next onside kick attempt at the Pace 39 and then Salvo put the Skyhawks back up eight (41-33) with his career-best 39-yard boot. Pace still wouldn't go down quietly, marching down to the Stonehill 15, with Lupfer catching a 26-yard pass on second and ten during the drive. This time, the Skyhawks defense held on fourth down for the first time all night as Romanick's pass for Lupfer on fourth and two at the 15 was broken up by freshman Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure), with 59-seconds remaining.

Vachon sealed the win with a 25-yard carry on first down to get the ball out to the 40-yard line and Stonehill was able to take a knee from there to close out its fifth-straight win dating back to last season. The Skyhawks are 2-0 for the first time since opening with three-straight wins in head coach Robert Talley's first season in 2007 and have won five-straight for the first time since a six-game winning streak to open the 1996 campaign.

The teams traded field goals in the first and second quarters, with Stonehill having its opening drive of the game capped by a 27-yard Salvo field goal. Pace knotted the score five plays into the second stanza as junior Ali Mourtada (Foxboro, Mass.) drilled a 33-yard field goal with 13:15 left in the half. The Setters converted twice on fourth and one during that drive.

Stonehill responded by taking the lead for good on its very next drive as Morrison hit Gomes for a 23-yard touchdown strike with 9:54 left in the half. Morrison converted 3-of-4 passes for 53 yards during that drive. Pace closed out the first half scoring with a 22-yard Mourtada field goal with 20-seconds left in the frame to cap a 13-play 66-yard drive.

Game Highlights
Postgame interviews

Stonehill started the second half strong as Vachon ripped off a 44-yard touchdown run to break the school's career rushing touchdown record on the Skyhawks first play from scrimmage in the third quarter after junior Stephan Neville (Foxboro, Mass./Foxboro) returned the Pace kickoff 31-yards to the Setters 44. The Skyhawks scored again on their next possession, after Mourtada missed a 33-yard field goal wide right, with Vachon capping a 7-play, 80-yard drive with a ten-yard scamper with 8:11 remaining in the quarter to put the hosts up 18 (24-6).

Pace capped the third quarter with a Romanick to Lupfer scoring pass for 16 yards on fourth and nine at the Stonehill 16. The Setters took advantage of a failed fake punt attempt by the Skyhawks which gave the visitors the ball on the Stonehill 17. Vachon's third touchdown run of the day opened the fourth quarter as his 11-yard scoring run capped a six play, 58-yard drive, for a 31-13 advantage with 13:38 remaining. Vachon had 53 yards rushing on five carries during the drive.

Pace scored on its next possession with Romanick hitting Ortega for a 21-yard touchdown pass to cap a six play, 48-yard, drive with 11:05 to play. The two-point passing conversion failed and Troy followed with his career-best 61-yard scoring run to provide the Skyhawks with their widest bulge of the game (38-19) before the Setters started storming back.

Stonehill (2-0, 0-0 NE-10) is back in action next Saturday when it opens its Northeast-10 Conference schedule at American International College at 1 p.m.

Stonehill Outscores Pace, 41-33
September 10, 2010 Stonehill Outscores Pace, 41-33