Football Wins Third Straight, Tops Sacred Heart 27-14

The football team won its third consecutive game on Saturday, defeating Sacred Heart 27-14 at Kessler Field. “We’re happy to get the second win in Northeast Conference (NEC) play, that puts us at 2-0,” said head coach Kevin Callahan. “It puts us in control of our own fate in terms of the conference race.”

Fifth-year senior quarterback Kyle Frazier completed 32 of 43 passes for 313 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He spread the ball around well, completing passes to 10 different receivers.

Lamar Davenport led the Hawks (3-1, 2-0) in receiving. He caught nine passes for 105 yards, including a few circus catches to bring the crowd to its feet. 

“We were just taking what they gave us,” said Davenport. “Short routes, just taking what they gave us.” Tristan Roberts wasn’t far behind, catching six passes for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Roberts’ first touchdown gave MU a 7-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. His second score put the Hawks ahead by 10 late in the third.

The Pioneers (0-3, 0-1) did a good job of shutting down the Hawks’ running game. MU ran the ball 34 times for 71 yards, a mere 2.1 yards per carry. Justin Pandorf led the way with 32 yards, all coming on a timely fake punt. Julian Hayes carried the ball 11 times for 24 yards.

The Blue and White’s defense continued its strong play. The unit didn’t allow any points in the second half of the game. This season, the defense has allowed a total of three second half points.

“We went out in the second half and we executed much better,” said Callahan. “Our locker room at halftime, there wasn’t yelling and screaming, it wasn’t panic. It was just, ‘Hey, we’re a better football team than we’re playing right now.’ We’re a mature enough team that we realize that and we said we have to go out and turn it up a little bit in the second half.”

Pat Gray led the team in tackles with eight and also grabbed a pair of interceptions. Eric Macik tallied a pair of sacks and Dan Sullivan added one as well.

MU jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter and it appeared to be another daylong party for a team that has blown out its last two opponents. The football gods appeared to have other plans.

Sacred Heart put together a seven play 71-yard drive to cut the lead in half with 4:25 remaining in the second quarter. The drive finished with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Tim Little to Robert Dim. The final play of the first half proved to be a wild one. The Pioneers took a delay of game penalty on fourth-and-13 from MU’s 24-yard line. Following the penalty, they decided to throw up a prayer to the end zone.

The pass fell harmlessly into Gray’s arms at the one-yard line. He caught the ball and ended up in his own end zone. The Pioneers stripped him and recovered the ball for a touchdown. Some questions revolved around this play, as to whether or not Gray gave himself up and the play should have been blown dead. “The official explanation was that he intercepted it on the one-yard line, voluntarily took it into the end zone, therefore it is still a live ball,” said Callahan.

The score was tied at 14 heading into the locker room. The Hawks came out of intermission and Eric Spillane connected on a 37-yard field goal to put his team ahead 17-14.

Following three punts, the Hawks started a drive around midfield with 4:37 left in the third. Frazier led his team down the field and finished the drive with a four-yard strike to Roberts for a touchdown. Hawks lead 24-14.

Following a Sacred Heart three and- out, MU knew they could end the game by scoring some points. The Hawks didn’t pick up the first down after three plays and it was time for some trickery.

MU lined up to punt on fourth-andtwo from their own 40-yard line with 12:40 remaining in the game. The snap went directly to Pandorf, who cut left and was off to the races. No defenders were near him until he was 30 yards down the field, as he leaped over a defender to cap off his 32-yard gain.

“Each week we have many fakes in and they gave us the right formation and we just ran the fake and took the ball up the left side,” said Pandorf. “I figured that the returner was going to go low on me because I was much bigger than him, so I decided to go over him instead of through him.”

The drive ended with a 32-yard Spillane field goal and put the Hawks ahead 27-14.

The Pioneers took over with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game. After driving down to the Hawks’ 23-yard line, Gray made amends for his earlier mistake. He stepped in front of Little’s pass at his own 11-yard line, made the interception and returned it eight yards to seal the win for the Blue and White. Saturday, The Hawks travel to Albany for a 1 pm matchup for first place in the NEC with the Great Danes (3-1, 1-0).

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography