Paul Falewicz

Week 2 Thoughts

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Epic Game

It is the early leader for game of the year candidate as it featured three overtimes, 199 plays, 986 yards of offense and 111 points. And for the 14th consecutive season, the 'Ol Bronze Hawk will set up residence in Easton as Stonehill defeated St. Anselm 57-54 last Saturday night.

Both teams left everything on the field and it is tough when one team has to lose a game like this. It almost did not get the overtime periods. Stonehill used a late drive to tie the game with 22 seconds left. St. Anselm fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Stonehill tried for the game winning field goal. It was the only miss of the evening for Stonehill kicker Matt Haite. But we were not done.

St. Anselm threw the ball down the field as time expired and Stonehill picked it off. After a short return, Malik Wiggins was finally tackled, and the overtime periods was set to begin. Both teams traded field goals in the first two overtimes. Another St. Anselm field goal gave them a 54-51 lead in the third overtime and Stonehill had their shot.

They finally finished the game behind Brian Kearns, Jr. He rushed the ball five times in that overtime possession and found the end zone on the last rush that set off an epic celebration from the Stonehill side of the field. Kearns, Jr finished his busy night with 44 carries for 180 yards and three trips into the end zone.

His teammate Mike Cordova also had a solid night as he had 94 yards on the ground and two scores. In all, Stonehill ran 108 of the 199 plays on the evening and had 318 total rushing yards. The Skyhawks totaled 517 yards of offense in the victory.

And of course, the stats for St. Anselm are just as impressive. Quarterback Eric Fairweather threw for 307 yards and five touchdowns in the game. He spread his 29 completions around to nine different receivers as well as running one in for a score. The St. Anselm defense also saw six players with double digit tackles in the game as they did everything possible to keep Stonehill out of the end zone.

The attendance was listed as 1,250 and all of those fans got their money's worth whether they were on the winning or losing side of the score.

Comeback

In the first half of the Bentley and Southern Connecticut football game, it appeared that the Falcons were going to struggle the entire afternoon and that a long bus ride back to campus was going to occur. Then Bentley head coach Bill Kavanaugh made a switch and the bus ride got a lot better.

He inserted backup quarterback Seamus Leary into the game and it paid immediate dividends. He led Bentley down the field for a field goal to cut the Southern Connecticut lead to 16-3. The drive went 51 yards and doubled the offensive output of the first half, 22 yards.

Then the magic happened in the fourth quarter. He hit Jordan Zlogar for a nine-yard touchdown pass and the first Bentley touchdown of the season. On the next Southern Connecticut possession, Derek Perkins picked off Matt Sanzaro and took it back 41 yards for the pick six. Bentley had their first lead of the season and it took a mere 18 seconds to turn around their fortunes.

Leary would lead another scoring drive later in the fourth as he called his own number to cap off the drive and Bentley lead by eight, 24-16. Southern Connecticut took advantage of a great return and a short field to score two minutes later. But they were not able to convert the two point try and Bentley would go on to the win the game.

After enduring the weather situation from Thursday night that moved the game to Friday afternoon and then finding a spark in the backup quarterback, the Falcons might have salvaged their season in a mere 18 seconds.

Bentley will host Merrimack this weekend.

New Target

He is not new to the league, but he is having quite the breakout season by moving south via Route 91. Ju'An Williams played for American International before transferring to New Haven after finishing his degree in Springfield. He is quickly becoming a favorite target of Ajee Patterson.

The duo was on display again in New Haven's 36-10 victory over Pace last Saturday. They hooked up eight times for 144 yards and a score. Over the first two games of the season, Williams has 20 receptions to lead the Chargers in receiving.

New Haven jumped out to an early 12-0 lead in the first quarter before Pace was able to answer with a touchdown of their own. But the Chargers were clicking on both sides of the ball and were too much for Pace to handle.

Williams caught his first touchdown of the season from 29 yards out and seemed to be open on most plays he ran down field. Patterson is a gunslinger and Williams grabs most balls thrown his way. They are a dangerous combination for the rest of the league if they continue at this torrid pace.

The Chargers will finally play their first home game this weekend against crosstown rival Southern Connecticut.

Better Late than Never

LIU Post was a little sluggish in the first half of their opener against American International, but used a late charge to pull away with a 33-8 victory.

The Pioneers were held in check until late in the third quarter. And once they found the end zone the first time, they were not going to be denied for the rest of the afternoon. They scored 20 points in about a five-minute stretch from late in the third to early in the fourth.

Tim Marinan capped off a 94-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run. On the next drive, it took one play for Chris Laviano to find Deon Mash for a 35-yard touchdown pass. After another short field, Malik Pierre found the end zone on a 10-yard run.

The Pioneers capped off the scoring later in the fourth, but it was their defense that allowed the offense to work out the kinks throughout the afternoon. They allowed just 201 yards of total offense from AIC and 53 of those came on one scoring play.

The Pioneers hope for a quicker start when they hit the road to Stonehill next Saturday evening.

Better Performance

Assumption trailed early after Merrimack drove the field for the early lead. And then a fumble by Assumption after a long reception and it looked like it was going to be a repeat of the opening weekend struggles. But it was all for not as one guy took over the game.

Deonte Harris jumpstarted the Assumption sideline as he took back a 63-yard punt return to tie the game at seven. It is his record tying 13th return touchdown over his career. It was his eighth punt return for a score which is good for second best all-time at the Division II level.

"I saw a lot of yellow jerseys running at me," Harris said of the return. "But my guys held up and made a lane for me to run."

"We have been waiting for this day," Assumption head coach Andy McKenzie said of Harris. "We were excited to get him back on the field. He was limited last week so we had to be smart and have him ready for conference play. I think we did the right thing."

The Assumption offense then picked up where it left on in the second half of the Kutztown game. It drove the field through a balance of running and passing. And then it was time for Harris to make another big play.

Marc Monks threw a perfect strike to Harris in stride in front of the Merrimack sideline and he took it the rest of the way for a 78-yard touchdown.

"Marc called an audible as we saw man to man coverage and he made a great throw," Harris said.

Assumption was on their way to 42 straight points to erase the early 7-0 deficit. The Greyhounds were clicking on all cylinders and showing that last week was a bit of a fluke.

The offensive line of Quentin Hall, Darryl Valme, Michael MacDonald, Noah Brown and Jason Rice were outstanding in the trenches. They allowed time for the quarterbacks to throw the ball and were opening holes for the running backs to run through.

"We challenged them all week long," McKenzie said of the offensive line. "Coach Galt was really riding them pretty hard. Merrimack's strength of their defense is stopping the run and we took that as a personal challenge this week to mix up the runs and they executed them well."

Khaleed Exum-Strong was the beneficiary of the great blocking as he had three scores. Both him and Doug Santos had 90 yards on the ground and in total, the rushing attack of the Greyhounds totaled 301 yards on the night.

Assumption returns home Friday night as they entertain St. Anselm under the lights.

Running League

Who said that this was a passing league? It was the running backs that were on full display over the weekend and the ones that were carrying the load of the offense.

Assumption had 301 yards of rushing in their victory. Stonehill had 318 yards in their ground attack. Southern Connecticut had 282 yards on the ground in their loss to Bentley. LIU Post had 214 rushing yards in their win.

In fact, nine of the ten teams had at least 100 yards of rushing over the weekend. The only team not to get to the century mark was American International. They had 91 rushing yards in their loss at LIU Post.

Let's not forget about the big boys in the trenches that are doing the work for the running backs to gain all of those yards. They are hitting the defensive line on every play and deserve as much credit as the ones that get their names in the paper. Since most of the teams rely on the run pass option, it is no wonder why rushing yards are up.

And a good running game opens up the passing game down field.

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