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FOOTBALL: Anna Maria hangs on to defeat Alfred State for first win of season

FOOTBALL: Anna Maria hangs on to defeat Alfred State for first win of season

The Basics:

-Score: Anna Maria College 36, Alfred State College 34

-Records: Anna Maria (1-6, 1-3 ECFC), Alfred State (0-7, 0-4 ECFC)

-Location: Paxton, Mass. (AMCAT Field)

- The Lead: Senior Trai Weaver (Waterbury, Conn.) caught four passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns, including an NCAA record-tying 99-yarder and a 72-yarder, and Anna Maria College held on to defeat Alfred State College in a wild finish, 36-34, in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) match-up before a large Homecoming crowd at AMCAT Field. The outcome marks the first career victory for Anna Maria head coach Dan Mulrooney.


How It Happened:

-Weaver's second touchdown of the day came with 10:26 remaining in the fourth quarter and gave the home team a 36-20 lead. The visiting Pioneers came storming back, scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 3:19 to play, and after recovering an onside kick, scored again with 1:14 on the clock. A potential game-tying two-point conversion pass fell incomplete as the AMCATS held on for the two-point win.

-The win spoiled an outstanding performance by Alfred State running back Kiegan Brown (Cortland, N.Y.), who rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

-The teams traded touchdowns midway through the first quarter, as freshman Christian Montero (Medford, N.Y.) found the end zone for Anna Maria from three yards out, and Brown answered for Alfred State a little over a minute later with a 56-yard TD burst to tie the score at 7-7.

-Freshman Marcelino Da Veiga (Central Falls, R.I.) booted a 33-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first quarter to give the AMCATS a 10-7 lead. It looked like that score might last until halftime, but freshman Aiden Folster (Wappinger Falls, N.Y.) blocked an Alfred State punt deep in the Pioneer's territory with a minute to go in the second quarter, and classmate Darrin Cooper (Fulton, N.Y.) returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. Alfred State blocked the extra point attempt, leaving Anna Maria with a 16-7 lead at the intermission.

-Freshman Arondae Washington (Providence, R.I.) scored a 5-yard rushing touchdown on Anna Maria's first possession of the second half to extend the lead to 23-7.

-Alfred capitalized on a botched punt return to gain possession deep in Anna Maria territory but couldn't push it into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. The AMCATS took over, and after a delay of game penalty pushed it back to the one-yard line, junior quarterback Emmanuel Leake (Providence, R.I.) found Weaver down the right sideline for a 99-yard TD pass to make it 30-7.

-The Pioneers regrouped and put together an 84-yard drive on their next possession, capped by a 25-yard TD pass from sophomore Hunter Evingham (Bolivar, N.Y.) to freshman Willerm Greffin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on a fourth-and-15 play, making the score 30-14 with a minute to go in the third quarter.

-Brown scored his second touchdown early in the fourth quarter to bring the Pioneers to within 10 points (30-20) but a two-point conversion failed, keeping it a two-possession game. Leake connected with Weaver again on a 72-yard TD pass just a minute later, but the conversion kick failed and Anna Maria led 36-20 with 10:26 to play.

-Alfred State had a 14-play drive stalled on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-six and the AMCAT 25 with less than six minutes to go, but senior Jamal Little (Brooklyn, N.Y.) intercepted a pass three plays later to set up Brown's third touchdown, a 10-yard burst up the middle with 3:19 to play. Evingham connected with freshman Reice Woodward (Oakfield, N.Y.) on a two-point conversion to make it a one-possession game, 36-28.

-Senior kicker Zack Goodwin (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) recovered a loose ball on the ensuing onside kick to give the Pioneers the ball back. Evingham engineered an eight-play, 63-yard drive, and hit sophomore Jalen Long (Rochester, N.Y.) from 10-yards out for a TD with 1:14 on the clock. The Anna Maria defense forced an errant pass on the potential game-tying two-point conversion and the pass fell incomplete.

-Alfred State tried another onside kick, but the Pioneers touched the ball before it went 10 yards and Anna Maria took over possession and ran out the clock.


Inside the Numbers:

-Alfred State outgained Anna Maria, 518 yards to 320, and ran 95 plays compared to just 41 for the AMCATS. The Pioneers gained 29 first downs while the AMCATS got just 10.

-The visitors more than doubled up the home team in time of possession, 41:02 to 18:58.

-Alfred State was flagged for 138 yards in penalties while Anna Maria was whistled for 97 yards.

-Evingham finished 18-of-34 for 265 yards and two TDs for Alfred State, while Leake was 5-of-11 for 219 yard and two TDs for Anna Maria.

-Freshman Jude Sampson (Waterbury, Conn.) made 11 tackles, including one sack, to lead the Anna Maria defense, while classmate Swavaughn Smalls (Mattapan, Mass.) and junior Emmanuel Hans (Lowell, Mass.) had 10 stops each. Hans and freshman Brian McLean (Montgomery, Ala.) made three sacks each as the AMCATS sacked Pioneer quarterbacks eight times.

-Junior Brandon Davis (Lansing, Mich.) led the Pioneer defense with seven unassisted tackles. Junior John Lauretti (Seaford, N.Y.) made six stops and classmate Justin Espinal (Beacon, N.Y.) recorded five tackles.

Up Next:

-The AMCATS are home again next Saturday with an ECFC game against Husson University (1:00 p.m.) Alfred State returns home next Saturday to host Mount Ida in an ECFC match-up (1:00 p.m.)


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