Comeback Kids Strike Again as Stonehill Overcomes Slow Start to Top LIU Post, 38-28

Sophomore Colin Markus smashed his personal bests set last weekend with a career-high 29 carries for 203 yards and a touchdown this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Clinch program's first winning season since 1996, maintain first place tie
Robitaille breaks single-season record for receiving yards, catches three TDs
Markus rushes for career-best 203 yards, Morris collects two interceptions

EASTON, Mass. (October 26, 2013) – Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll and ranked sixth in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lambert Meadowlands poll, dug its way out of an early 14 point hole and posted its third straight come from behind victory with a 38-28 triumph over LIU Post in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Stonehill clinches its first winning season since finishing 8-2 in 1996 with its sixth victory of the season. The Skyhawks forced another four turnovers with four interceptions, including a pair from junior Nate Morris (Providence, R.I./Wheeler School) and two in their own end zone, and posted a balanced 434 yards of total offense with 244 through the air and another 190 yards rushing. The win also keeps the Skyhawks in a three-way tie for first place in the NE-10 standings with American International College and the University of New Haven.

Junior Nate Morris intercepted two passes, returning one for a key touchdown, and finished with a career-high nine tackles. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Junior wide receiver Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) caught ten passes for 124 yards and a career-best three touchdowns for Stonehill this afternoon and finished with 153 all-purpose yards by adding two kickoff returns for 32 yards. After breaking the program's single-season record for receptions last weekend at New Haven, Robitaille added the single-season mark for receiving yards today as his yardage total gives him 916 yards, surpassing the previous record of 846 yards by former teammate John Gomes, '13, last season. Robitaille, who now has a record 71 catches this season, also moves up to fifth on the program's career list for career touchdown receptions with 17.

Sophomore running back Colin Markus (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) went over 100 yards rushing for the second-straight week as he carried the ball a career-high 29 times for a career-best 203 yards and a touchdown, marking the fifth-highest single-season yardage total in program history and second-highest by a Skyhawk at W.B. Mason Stadium.

Senior quarterback Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) completed 20-of-39 yards for 244 yards and three touchdowns, overcoming two interceptions. He moves within one touchdown of the program's single-season record of 24 set by Dan Field, '96, in 1995 and Meyer is 205 yards shy of his own single-season record for passing yards with 2,010 yards this year, just the second 2,000-yard passing season in program history.

Morris finished the day with a career-high nine tackles (four solo) with the two interceptions and 56 return yards, including a 37-yard pickoff return for a touchdown that gave Stonehill a 31-14 lead with 5:46 to play. Junior linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) posted his eighth double-figure tackle performance of the year with a team-high 13 stops (two solo), while freshman Ryan Doherty (Methuen, Mass./Central Catholic) registered a season-high ten stops (three solo) including 1.0 for a loss of two yards. Junior cornerback Sterry Codrington (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Boro) added nine tackles (six solo), including 2.0 for a loss of ten yards, an interception and pass breakup.

Junior quarterback Steven Laurino (Boise, Idaho/Boise) completed 36-of-60 passes for a W.B. Mason Stadium record 404 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times and sacked twice on the afternoon. He also added a rushing touchdown and was held to three yards on 11 carries to finish the day with 407 total yards. Laurino surpasses the previous W.B. Mason Stadium best of 390 yards by Saint Anselm College's Michael Pierce in 2009 and his 36 completions were just three shy of the stadium record of 39 by Merrimack College's Joe Clancy in 2012. Senior wide receiver Joe Botti (Holtsville, N.Y./Sachem East) caught ten passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns for LIU Post.

Junior Nate Robitaille caught a career-best three touchdown passes and finished the game with a school-record 916 receiving yards this season. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Senior Rob Bright (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) paced the LIU Post defense with a game-high 14 tackles (six solo), including 2.0 for a loss of 12 yards, a sack for a loss of ten, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and pass breakup. Classmate Chris DiIorio (Holtsville, N.Y./Sachem East) added nine stops, including 1.0 for a loss of two yards, an interception and a quarterback hurry, while freshman Jared Chester (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount St. Michael Academy) chipped in eight stops (four solo), including 1.5 for a loss of four and two pass breakups.

LIU Post jumped out to a quick lead with a score on its first possession after forcing a Stonehill three and out on the opening drive. Laurino connected with Botti for a 26 yard touchdown four minutes in at the end of a six play, 56-yard drive. The Pioneers doubled their lead 1:26 into the second quarter off a Stonehill fumble at its own 25 yard line on the first play of the frame. Laurino and Botti connected once again, this time for a 27 yard scoring pass on third and 12 after the Skyhawks defense had pushed the Pioneers back two yards on the first two plays of the possession.

Stonehill broke through with a 22-yard field goal from sophomore Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) with 3:36 remaining in the first half. The Skyhawks got the ball back again with 2:43 remaining in the quarter after a quick three and out by LIU Post and crept back within four points when Meyer hit Robitaille for a 37 yard touchdown pass with 57-seconds left in the half on fourth and ten.

Stonehill took its first lead of the contest on its second possession of the third quarter after Morris' first interception of the day at midfield, that he returned 19 yards to the LIU Post 36. Meyer capped the nine play drive with a five yard touchdown pass to Robitaille with 8:20 left in the quarter.

Stonehill took advantage of Codrington's interception at the Skyhawks goal line to extend its lead to ten points (24-14). Meyer found Robitaille once again for a 36 yard touchdown to cap a nine play, 92-yard drive after the goal line interception. Markus contributed four runs for 34 yards during the possession as well. After a 68-yard punt from junior Ryan Handy (Howell, N.J./Howell) pinned the Pioneers on their own six yard line, Morris picked off Laurino for the second time this afternoon on the third play of the drive and ran it back 37 yards for a touchdown that looked to have sealed the win (31-14) with 5:46 left.

LIU Post wouldn't go down quietly with Laurino engineering a 15 play, 73 yard scoring drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by freshman Mike Williams (Westbury, N.Y./Holy Trinity) with 2:19 to play on third and ten. The Pioneers converted twice on third down and once on a fourth and 16 from the Stonehill 32 on a 21 yard hookup by Laurino and Botti.

LIU Post went for the onside kick, but was flagged for a procedure penalty and then Stonehill collected the pooch kick before Markus took the second play of the possession 62 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown to finally seal the victory. Post added a late consolation touchdown with Laurino capping the ten play, 52 yard drive with a one yard plunge with 15-seconds to go, but too much time came off the clock and the Skyhawks recovered the kickoff and took a knee to close out the game from there.  

Stonehill (6-2, 6-1 NE-10) is back in action here at W.B. Mason Stadium next Saturday when it hosts Pace University for its Purple & White Game on Senior Day at noon. LIU Post (3-5, 2-5 NE-10) is at Saint Anselm College on Friday at 7 p.m.

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