Stonehill Drops Heartbreaker at LIU Post, 28-25

Senior Nate Robitaille scored his program-record 23rd career touchdown reception and led the Skyhawks with 201 all-purpose yards. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Laurino engineers game winning drive to lead Pioneers to last minute win

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. (October 11, 2014) – Senior quarterback Steven Laurino (Boise, Idaho/Boise) led LIU Post to a last-minute game winning drive to claim a 28-25 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium this afternoon.

LIU Post answered a Stonehill touchdown by junior Deontae Ramey-Doe (Dorchester, Massachusetts/BC High) with 2:50 remaining with a game-winning, nine play, 65-yard drive, capped by a two yard touchdown toss from Laurino to sophomore Shane Hubbard (St. Albans, New York/John Adams) with 22-seconds to play. Stonehill had one last gasp at pulling out the victory or getting into field goal range after an 18-yard kickoff return by senior Zaire Reiph (Norwalk, Connecticut/Saint Luke's School) put the Skyhawks near midfield, but the Pioneers got a sack that forced a fumble, which they recovered to seal the win.

Laurino finished with 306 total yards and had a hand in all four LIU Post touchdowns, passing for three and rushing for another. He completed 24-of-41 passes for 216 yards with a pair of interceptions, while adding a team-high 90 rushing yards on 20 carries on the afternoon.

Sophomore Ryan Doherty led the defense with a career-high 13 tackles. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Hubbard finished with two touchdown receptions for LIU Post on four receptions for 56 yards, while junior Sean Binckes (Brooklyn, New York/Xaverian) led the Pioneers receivers with 11 catches for 103 yards and a score. Sophomore Mike Williams (Westbury, New York/Holy Trinity) chipped in with 15 rushes for 56 yards.

Senior Anthony Brunetti (Bayville, New York/Holy Trinity) led the LIU Post defense with 12 tackles (four solo), while junior Brandon Cheney (Hewlett, New York/Lynbrook) added ten stops (two solo), including 1.0 for a loss of two yards. Senior Dan Belfiore (Glen Cove, New York/Glen Cove) contributed six tackles (three solo), including 2.0 for a loss of three yards, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

LIU Post totaled 374 yards of total offense on the afternoon with 158 rushing and 216 passing, converting 10-of-16 third downs and its lone fourth down attempt. Stonehill registered 335 total yards with 219 through the air and another 116 rushing, converting on 7-of-15 third downs and scoring on all five trips inside the red-zone, but settling for two field goals.

Senior Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Massachusetts/Attleboro) led Stonehill with a season-high 201 all-purpose yards and broke the program's career record with his 23rd touchdown reception. He had a season-high nine catches for a season-best 127 yards and the touchdown, to go with 40 yards on four punt returns and 34 yards on two kickoff returns. One week after becoming just the third player in program history with over 2,000 receiving yards, Robitaille collected his 23rd career touchdown reception to break the previous mark of 22 touchdowns by Dan Cahill, '96. The touchdown was the 24th of Robitaille's career overall, moving him into a tie for third all-time with Cahill.

Sophomore Tom Sydeski (Brockport, New York/Brockport) completed 19-of-31 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, but was sacked twice – both of which resulted in fumbles lost. Ramey-Doe carried the ball a career-high 22 times for a career-best 54 yards and his first career touchdown, while adding five receptions for 30 yards.

Sophomore Tom Sydeski passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomore Ryan Doherty (Methuen, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) led the Stonehill defense with a career-high 13 tackles (six solo), while junior Peter Catal (Cornwall, New York/Cornwall) added 11 stops (two solo). Senior Sterry Codrington (Freehold, New Jersey/Freehold Boro) made ten tackles (three solo), including 1.0 for a loss of a yard, and a pass breakup. Senior All-American Brian Harrington (Rockland, Massachusetts/Rockland) chipped in eight tackles (two solo), an interception and quarterback hurry.

Senior Nate Morris (Bristol, Rhode Island/Wheeler School) recorded his eighth career interception for the Skyhawks, moving into a tie for eighth all-time at the College, to go with seven stops (three solo).

Stonehill scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to turn an eight point deficit into a four point lead with 2:50 to play. Sydeski connected with Robitaille for his record-breaking 23rd career touchdown (second of the season) with a 17 yard pass to cap a seven play, 70-yard drive, with 8:16 remaining, 2:54 after Laurino had put LIU Post up eight with a two-yard touchdown run. Trailing by two, Stonehill went for the two point conversion, but Sydeski's pass fell incomplete.

The Stonehill defense held LIU Post to a three and out on the next possession and then Ramey-Doe capped a nine play, 61-yard drive with his six yard touchdown run with 2:50 to play. Sydeski completed all four pass attempts on the possession for 42 yards. Stonehill again attempted the two-point conversion, but Ramey-Doe was stopped short of the goal line.

LIU Post answered with its nine play, 65 yard scoring drive, capped by Laurino's two yard touchdown toss to Hubbard on third and goal with 22-seconds remaining to clinch the victory. Laurino completed all four pass attempts, with an incompletion negated by a costly pass interference call, for 30 yards, to go with three carries for another 15 yards.

Senior Nate Morris posted his eighth career interception this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Reiph gave Stonehill decent field position with an 18 yard return on the ensuing kickoff, but Sydeski fumbled when he was sacked for a loss of three by senior David Sumter (Hollis, New York/Campus Magnet) on the Skyhawks first play and Belfiore recovered to seal the win for the Pioneers.

Stonehill scored its first possession of each half, but was forced to settle for field goals from junior Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, New Hampshire/Manchester Central) each time. His season-long 37-yard field goal opened the scoring 4:07 into the game at the end of a six play, 72-yard drive, that was highlighted by a 56-yard rush by junior Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk). Grzywacz added a 25 yard field goal 4:12 into the second half for a 13-7 Skyhawks lead after the opening possession of the third quarter stalled at the LIU Post six yard line. Sydeski and Robitaille connected three times for 49 yards on the drive.

Stonehill held a 10-0 lead three minutes into the second quarter after Sydeski found junior Gordon McLeod (Weymouth, Massachusetts/BC High) for a five yard touchdown pass at the end of a ten play, 45 yard drive that consumed 4:06. LIU Post took advantage of a Sydeski fumble when he was sacked by freshman Kevin Petit-Frere (Amityville, New York/Farmingdale) on third and six from the Skyhawks 24. Laurino connected with Binckes four plays later for a three-yard touchdown pass to draw the Pioneers within three at the half.

LIU Post took its first lead of the afternoon on its first drive following Grzywacz second field goal of the day when Laurino hit Hubbard for a 20-yard touchdown pass to conclude a nine play, 75-yard drive with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter. Laurino converted a key fourth and two at the Stonehill 25 with a five yard rush one play before his touchdown pass to Hubbard.

LIU Post extended its lead to eight (21-13) with a grueling 17 play, 85-yard drive that consumed 7:07 before Laurino pushed the ball across the goal line with a two yard plunge with 11:16 remaining. He carried the ball eight times for 52 yards in all during the possession, adding another 14 yards on a pair of completions.

Stonehill (2-4, 2-3 NE-10) is back in New York State next Saturday when it visits Pace University for an NE-10 matchup at Anne M. Dorner Middle School in Ossining, New York, at noon. The Skyhawks return home the following Saturday, October 25, to host Southern Connecticut State University on Hall of Fame Weekend at the College at 1 p.m. LIU Post (4-2, 4-1 NE-10) hosts Saint Anselm College next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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