Defense Key as Football Bounces Back Against Bentley, 21-14

Senior Peter Catal led the strong defensive effort with ten tackles, including 4.0 for a loss and a sack. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Skyhawks winners of three-straight over Falcons for first time in varsity era

EASTON, Mass. (October 24, 2015) – Stonehill College held rival Bentley University to 185 total yards and posted six sacks in snapping a three game skein with a 21-14 victory in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin '80 Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Stonehill, winners of three-straight against Bentley for the first time in the rivalry's varsity era (since 1988), held the Falcons to just seven first downs, including none in the first half on just 19 total yards. The Skyhawks have now won four of the last five encounters with Bentley here at W.B. Mason Stadium. The defense yielded 106 passing yards and 79 yards on the ground in the win, posting six sacks and adding a defensive score.

Senior rover Peter Catal (Cornwall, New York/Cornwall) paced the stout defensive effort with a season-high ten tackles (five solo), including 4.0 for a loss of 15 yards, with 1.0 sacks for a loss of six, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. Classmate Eric Schneider (Ventura, California/Saint Bonaventure) was disruptive with five stops (three solo), including 3.5 for a loss of 16 yards, with 1.5 sacks for a loss of eight, two pass breakups and a QB hurry. The 1.5 sacks give him 20.0 in 34 career games played, moving into second place on the program's all-time list, while his 29.5 career tackles for loss rank seventh all-time.

Senior defensive lineman Eric Schneider moved into second place on the program's career sacks list with 20.0 after his 1.5 sacks today. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Junior linebacker Anthony Leggio (Commack, New York/Saint Anthony's) added seven tackles (three solo), including 1.0 for a loss of three yards, a forced fumble and a 28-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that gave the Skyhawks a 13-7 lead with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter. Classmate Andrew Kibarian (Lynnfield, Massachusetts/Lynnfield) chipped in with 2.5 tackles for a loss of 12 yards, including 1.5 sacks for a loss of ten, as part of his five tackles (three solo).

Sophomore running back Dylan Brown (Tinton Falls, New Jersey/Monmouth Regional) paced the Stonehill offense with 94 yards on 18 rushing attempts with his 23-yard touchdown run with 3:31 to play providing the difference. Sophomore quarterback Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) completed 12-of-21 passes for 97 yards, adding 14 more yards on the ground on 11 attempts with a touchdown. The Skyhawks finished with 242 total yards, including 145 on the ground.

Junior linebacker Bryan Hardy (Barnstable, Massachusetts/Barnstable) led the Bentley defense with nine tackles (two solo), including 2.0 for a loss of nine yards, with 1.0 sacks for a loss of five. Senior Matt McDermott (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) added eight stops (three solo) and a 22-yard fumble return for a score that provided the Falcons with their lone lead of the game (14-13) with 3:49 to play.

Senior quarterback Matt Montalto (West Yarmouth, Massachusetts/Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) completed 14-of-23 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, while adding ten more yards on the ground. Junior Martin Bannerman (Pawtucket, Rhode Island/La Salle Academy) added 58 yards on 16 carries, while postgrad tight end Alex Farkas (Boston, Massachusetts/Buckingham, Browne & Nichols) caught five passes for 41 yards and a score.

Sophomore Dylan Brown rushed for season-high 94 yards and the gamewinning touchdown. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Stonehill appeared poised to run out the clock in the waning minutes after Catal had a key sack of Montalto on fourth and nine from the Skyhawks 18 to force a turnover on downs with four minutes to play. However, Stonehill fumbled on its first play of the ensuing drive and McDermott scooped it up at the 22 and ran in for a go-ahead score (14-13) after the extra point with 3:49 left.

Freshman running back Mike Cordova (Monroe, New Jersey/Red Bank Catholic), who finished with a game and career-high 117 all-purpose yards, bounced back from the fumble with a good return on the kickoff to midfield. The Skyhawks were the beneficiaries of two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that brought the ball to the Bentley 23. Brown snuck through on the right side for a 23-yard touchdown run that put Stonehill back on top (21-14) after Foltz connected with freshman Kaleb Lutton (Middletown, Connecticut/Xavier) for the two point conversion with just 3:31 left that clinched the win after one more defensive stand for the hosts.

Stonehill came out of a first half in which its defense didn't allow a first down and just 19 yards for Bentley, with a 7-0 lead. The Skyhawks struck on their third possession of the game after two lengthy drives came up empty in the first quarter, the latter broken up by a goal line interception from Junior Chery (Waltham, Massachusetts/Waltham). Stonehill's third drive started from the Bentley 28 after a shanked punt out of bounds from the Falcons four. Foltz punched the ball in from a yard out on the first play of the second quarter five plays later to open the scoring.

Postgame Interviews

Bentley broke through on the opening possession of the second half as Montalto connected with Farkes for a seven yard touchdown on third and goal less than three minutes into the third quarter. Montalto connected with senior Chris Calvanese (Norfolk, Massachusetts/Xavarian Brothers) for a 57 yard pass to the Stonehill seven to set up the score.

Stonehill jumped back in front with 5:10 to play in the third quarter when Bannerman coughed up the ball at the Bentley 32 and Leggio scooped the fumble and ran it for a touchdown in from 28 yards out. The Skyhawks failed to convert the extra point when the snap sailed over the holder's head. Leggio's fumble return for a touchdown is the first by a Stonehill player since Nate Morris '15 returned one at American International College in the 2013 NE-10 Championship.

Stonehill (5-3, 4-3 NE-10) is right back in action here at W.B. Mason Stadium next Saturday when it hosts Saint Anselm College in the "Battle for the Ol' Bronze Hawk" on Senior Day at 1 p.m. Bentley (4-4, 4-3 NE-10) visits Assumption College on Friday at 7 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook.

Football #NSD2016 Updates
February 3, 2016 Football #NSD2016 Updates
Football Runs Past Pace, 51-13
September 19, 2015 Football Runs Past Pace, 51-13