Seniors Lift Saints in 21-14 Victory Over WPI
Nov. 12: The St. Lawrence University football team won its 2011 season finale by the score of 21-14 over WPI in Worcester, MA. The team's seniors carried the load on Saturday, as co-captain Marcus Washington had 187 yards and two touchdowns rushing to go over 1,000 yards on the season while Phil Hamilton and Trevor Saunders anchored the defense.
The Saints finish the year with a 3-6 record overall and a 2-4 mark in Liberty League play, owning the time of possession on Saturday, 34:48 to 25:12. Meanwhile, the Engineers fall to 2-7 (1-5) despite outgaining St. Lawrence 260-242 in total offense.
In a battle of two of the premier running backs in the league, Washington's 187 yards and two scores on 38 carries trumped the 88 yard game from Ernie Mello of WPI. Meanwhile, Phil Hamilton turned in a game-high 11 tackles on defense for head coach Mark Raymond, including 10 solo tackles and three for a loss. Saunders, also playing his last game in a Saint uniform, made eight tackles and added an interception.
St. Lawrence would waste little time in taking an early 7-0 lead thanks to a 92-yard kick-off return to start the game by first-year student John Wittig that got the visitors offense to the Engineer 1-yard line. Washington would take the first carry and cross the goal line for a 6-0 lead, while senior Doug Geraghty added the extra point to make it 7-0 only 27 seconds in.
After forcing WPI to punt on its first drive, sophomore quarterback Zach Migliore and Washington helped the Saints move 96 yards in 16 plays to make it a 14-0 game. Pinned deep in its own territory, St. Lawrence continued to rush the ball with Washington, while Migliore added two key first down runs and a 13-yard completion to sophomore Mike Tateosian. On 3rd-and-5 from the WPI 14, Migliore then connected with sophomore Evan Shifley for a 14-yard touchdown catch with 4:00 minutes left in the opening quarter. Geraghty again added the extra point for a 14-0 lead.
The Engineers threatened to score on the final drive of the first half, as quarterback Johny Antonopoulos moved his offense down to the St. Lawrence 18-yard line. However, after needing to convert 4th-and-5 from the 13, junior Jesse Clark delivered a big sack for the Saints, allowing them to keep their 14-0 lead intact at halftime.
St. Lawrence looked to be in control midway through the third quarter after dodging a big play by WPI. Mello blocked a St. Lawrence punt and Manny Cambra appeared headed for the end zone. However, he fumbled at the Saint 9-yard line and first-year student Louis Muraco recovered to keep the Engineer offense off the field.
The home team's special team's unit would come right back on the field, though, and deliver another blocked punt, and this time, Mello scooped up the loose ball and went 20-yards for the touchdown with 3:56 to go in the third quarter. Cody Beckel added the extra point to cut his team's deficit to 14-7.
After a three-and-out by the Scarlet and Brown, WPI went 54 yards in only three plays to tie the game at 14-14. Mello used a 19-yard rush to get into St. Lawrence territory, followed by a 32-yard touchdown strike from Antonopoulos to Cambra. Beckel again added the extra point to tie the score at 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
St. Lawrence owned the better field position in the fourth quarter and took over 1st-and-10 on the WPI 45-yard line with 8:29 remaining. With the game in the balance, the Saints turned to Washington, who rushed the ball eight out of nine plays on the drive to march his team into the end zone. The Pahokee, FL native converted two 3rd downs on the drive, which he eventually capped with a 4-yard touchdown rush with 3:25 remaining in regulation. Geraghty again added the extra point for a 21-14 lead.
Though Antonopoulos would get WPI to the St. Lawrence 37-yard line, the home team's final drive stalled after a sack by Clark and junior Oraene Morgan. After WPI failed on 4th-and-15, St. Lawrence was able to run out the clock and celebrate the 21-14 win.