Turnovers Plague Saints in 28-7 Loss to Alfred
Sept. 15: The St. Lawrence University football team lost its third straight game on Saturday, falling to Alfred University by the score of 28-7 at Leckonby Stadium. Alfred was able to curb the momentum throughout the game behind four interceptions of Saint quarterback Zane Fish, while Austin Dwyer piled up 111 yards and two scores for the Saxons.
The Saints (0-3) were led offensively by junior Mike Tateosian's seven catches for 40 yards. Sophomore CJ Stewart carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards on the ground as well. Fish was 17-of-31 passing for 140 yards, a touchdown and the four interceptions, while Alfred quarterback Zach Sopak was 11-of-24 for 120 yards, a touchdown and two pick to move his team to 1-1 on the young season.
"Alfred is a good football team, but we need to limit our mistakes on both sides of the ball," said St. Lawrence head coach Mark Raymond. "We continue to make errors at critical times, and we have to find a way fix it before the beginning of conference play."
Neither team was able to establish much offense in the first quarter until Alfred put together a late 11-play, 76-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. The drive, which lasted 5:00 minutes, was aided by a face mask penalty and a key 4th-and-4 conversion by the Saxons. Dwyer capped the drive with a 3-yard score, with Zach Tavolaro adding the extra point with only :50 seconds left in the opening stanza.
The touchdown got Alfred's offense moving, as they would push the lead to 14-0 on its next possession. A 9-play, 68-yard drive was capped by another score by Dwyer from two yards out with 9:35 to play in the half. Tavolaro again added the point after.
Fish and the Saints had excellent field possession with 5:04 remaining in the second, but Fish was intercepted at the Alfred 20-yard line to end the scoring threat. The Saxons would flip the script thanks to a 58-yard run by Dwyer to the Saints' 3-yard line, and Chuck Beckwith would score on the next play to give the visitors a 20-0 lead. Tavolaro's extra point capped the first half scoring at 21-0.
St. Lawrence would grab the early momentum in the second half, as they forced a three-and-out before going 56-yards in six plays to cut into the deficit. Fish completed a 23-yard pass to Max Johnson, while Maurice Irby and Stewart added solid run plays down to the Alfred 4-yard line. On 1st-and-goal, Fish used play-action to open up rookie Jake Gnieser for an easy touchdown catch with 8:59 left in the third quarter. Chris Dris tacked on the extra point to make it 21-7.
The Saints' defense would work to keep the team in the game, as senior Joe Napolitano intercepted Sopak to end an Alfred drive, while fellow classmate Jeremy Ramos would do the same on the ensuing possession to keep Alfred from extending its lead. Unfortunately for the home team, Fish was picked off on both St. Lawrence drives, including a pick by Reggie Pressley to give Alfred possession at the Saints' 33-yard line. That turnover led to a 28-yard reception by Beckwith with 2:17 left in the third, giving the Saxons a solid 28-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Saints moved the ball from their own 12 to Alfred's 30-yard line, but were again halted by an interception by Alfred's Chris Steeves on a screen pass in the final stanza. The turnover ended the home team's rally effort, as the Saxons protected the 28-7 lead to the final whistle.
Napolitano had an outstanding game for St. Lawrence, including a game-high 11 tackles to go along with his interception. Alfred's defense was led by standout defensive lineman Mike Raplee, who made 10 tackles including a game-high 4.0 for a loss.
With the non-conference schedule now complete, St. Lawrence will look towards the 2012 Liberty League season, which begins next weekend when Union visits Leckonby Stadium on Saturday, September 22. The game between the Saints and Dutchmen is scheduled to kick-off at 1:00pm.