Hobart-Union a showdown to remember
|Junior Woodard has had a great sophomore season for
Hobart athletics photo by Kevin Colton
The Union at Hobart game might have been the game of the season in not only the Liberty League, but probably in the region.
The result of the game is noteworthy in itself, a 41-35 double overtime win by the hometown Statesmen (the game being in Geneva), but peeling back the layers really shows the kind of game this was.
Hobart sophomore quarterback Nick Strang made his first career start in place of junior Doug Vella, and what a debut for the John Jay High School star.
Strang, who got into two games last year against St. Lawrence and Merchant Marine, threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns, tearing apart the Dutchman defense. Strang also ran for 93 yards and a touchdown, setting a record for 498 yards of total offense.
Fellow sophomore Junior Woodard was Strang’s favorite target, catching five passes for 182 yards, including two long touchdown passes -- 61 and 70 yards. The 182-yard total is third highest in school history.
Two other Hobart records that fell on the day included total offense (688) and all-purpose yards (788).
For the Dutchmen, Chris Coney rushed for 120 yards, his 20th career rushing game, and Justin Gallo led the way in the receiving game, catching six passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
A 5-yard Coney touchdown run tied the game at 21 in the third quarter, and a 14-yard touchdown pass to Gallo gave Union a 28-21 lead.
Strang re-tied the game shortly thereafter, the 70-yarder to Woodard doing the damage.
With three minutes left, senior JP Sticco returned a fumble 49 yards to give Union the lead back at 35-28, but Strang moved the Statesmen down the field quickly. Garth Muratori caught a 10-yard touchdown to make it 35-34, and Coach Mike Cragg decided to go for the two-point conversation. After an illegal formation call, Hobart kicked a PAT to tie the game at 35 with seconds left.
Both teams stumbled in the first overtime, but in the second overtime, Union fumbled, giving Hobart the chance at the victory. On second and goal at the 7, Strang, who had been the best player on the field all afternoon, won it, running for a touchdown.
With the Hobart win, the Liberty League is in disarray. The only team undefeated in conference is ... wait for it ... St. Lawrence! The Saints have the upper hand in league play with Union behind at 2-1. The Liberty League will be a dogfight again, but it looks like when playoff time comes, the LL may be down a notch, even as the games aren’t.
Kleinfelter breaks Lycoming rushing record
Lycoming senior Josh Kleinfelter broke the school’s all-time rushing mark on Saturday in a 50-0 blowout against Albright at Shirk Stadium. Kleinfelter, who rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in just more than a half, now has 3,309 yards in his career, passing Brian Thompson’s record of 3,267 with a 11-yard run in the third quarter.
After the game, Kleinfelter talked about breaking the record with the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and reporter Mitch Rupert.
“It just kind of jumped up on me,” Kleinfelter said. “I never really thought about it. I try not to think about it a whole lot. The thing that really matters is championships.”
Kleinfelter, who’s third in rushing average in the entire Division III, has rushed for nearly 900 yards just halfway through the season, and he’s averaging more than 150 yards per contest. And of course, the senior gives most of the credit to his offensive line blocking for him. The feeling is obviously mutual.
“I've been here with (Kleinfelter) for four years and it's great to see (him get the record) because he’s my roommate and everything,” said offensive lineman Matt Landsiedel to the newspaper after Saturday‘s game. “The offensive line, we’d die for him. We’d do anything for him. We take as much credit as him, but he doesn't take as much as people think he does. But he’s a great player.”
Kleinfelter is fourth on the all-time school list for touchdowns with 25 and has an outside shot at 4,000 yards. Great job by Josh and the Lycoming Warriors.
Buffalo State set and broke a bunch of records in a 71-3 thrashing of Western Connecticut on Saturday.
The Bengals scored points in six ways -- four rushing, three passing, a kickoff return, an interception return for touchdown, a fumble recovery, and last but not least, a field goal.
Buffalo State set records for most touchdowns in a game with 10, smashing the record of eight, zoomed by the record for most points in a game with 71, beating the record of 59 against Mercyhurst in 1996 and the margin of victory, 68, zinged past the old record, 46, over Thiel in 1994.
Mike Doherty, a freshman wide receiver from Tonawanda, not too far from the college, earned the special teams player of the week award in the conference as he ran back a kick 88 yards and another 43 yards to get the onslaught started. It was the first time a Bengal had returned a kickoff for a touchdown since 1999.
Top 25 roundup
No. 12 Delaware Valley remained unbeaten in East Region play and broke a few records along the way in a 55-14 rout of FDU-Florham.
Dan Heiland led the way for the Aggies, catching nine passes for 156 yards as DVC racked up 734 yards of offense, breaking the previous record of 689 against Juniata College in 2005.
No. 16 Montclair State won its 13th straight New Jersey Athletic Conference game in a 30-14 victory against The College of New Jersey. For all the points that the Red Hawks scored, the star of the game for Montclair State was senior linebacker Ed Kirschenbaum, who racked up 15 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the day. Kirschenbaum was named as the NJAC defensive player of the week.
St. John Fisher moved up from No. 20 to No. 18 as they dismantled the Ithaca Bombers in a 34-10 victory. Senior quarterback Tim Bailey threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns, and the three Ryans (Francis, Kramer and Schmidt) had 21 catches for 349 yards combined against a porous Ithaca defense.
Speaking of defense, St. John Fisher linebacker Joe Leavell was awarded with the Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Week award.
Alfred moved up two spots in the D3football.com Top 25 poll from 25 to 23 after a 35-14 win on the road against Empire 8 opponent Hartwick.
Senior Ryan Thon set an Alfred school record with four touchdown catches, three in the first half and broke a nearly 40-year old mark. Thon earned the Empire 8 offensive player of the week.
The old mark was three by Charles Young against Hamilton.
Cortland State pitched its third straight shutout, this one against Brockport State, 35-0. Senior Matt Kaufman led the Red Dragons with eight tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Junior Bill Smith should win the Chuck Bednarik award (not that there is one, but there should be!) after he racked up 10 tackles on defense and also scored on a 16-yard touchdown run as a fullback.
Cortland’s only given up 19 points in their five games this season, and the shutout was Brockport‘s first since a game against Rowan in 2005.
Justin Autera rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
Odds and ends
Rowan’s Tim Hagerty hit Keith Corcoran with a 15-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to come back to beat Kean 21-17. Hagerty threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns and was given the New Jersey Athletic Conference offensive player of the week award for his performance.
Widener’s Chris Haupt threw for 169 yards and a career high four touchdowns to lead the Pride to a MAC victory over King’s. Pride wide receiver Cedrick Clayton had nine catches for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the 36-21 win. King’s quarterback Corey Lavin had a career day, throwing for 303 yards and two touchdowns.
In his 15th season at Wilkes coach Frank Sheptock became the winningest coach in school history after a big comeback to beat Lebanon Valley 35-28 in overtime.
Third-string quarterback Alex George led the Colonels after the two starters were injured, and after Wilkes was down 22 to come back to tie the game at 28. Then in overtime, George led the Colonels to the winning points after driving the 25 yards in five plays for his fourth touchdown of the day. With the win, No. 91 at Wilkes, Sheptock passed Rollie Schmidt who was the Colonels’ coach from 1962-1981.
William Paterson improved to 3-2 after beating Morrisville State in a thriller, 31-28. In the final minutes, the Pioneers lined up for a 20-yard field goal, and Cory Mundt drilled the chip shot home after having missed two short field goals earlier in the game. Junior wide receiver Joe Muraglia Jr. led the Pioneers with 11 catches for 128 yards.
Speaking of Pioneers, Utica’s version improved to a program-best 5-1 after a non-conference win against St. Lawrence. Andrew Benkwitt, Utica’s sophomore signal-caller, bounced back after the loss to St. John Fisher a week ago to throw for 308 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-13 victory.
Senior defensive lineman Tracy Branch had two sacks of Saints quarterback JP Kearney, giving him 14.5 for his career, tying him with one of my former teammates, Bryon George, who had 14.5 from 2001-04. Branch and George share of a lot of attributes -- both are strong as h-e-double hockey sticks and both have an unwavering desire to get to the quarterback.
WPI took a 9-0 lead against Merchant Marine Academy, but that’s as good as it would get on Saturday for the Engineers, as the Mariners scored the next 26 points unanswered to win 26-9. MMA senior quarterback Derrick Ventre only completed five passes, but three of them were touchdowns. Four of the passes went to Mike Mitchell, who had 82 yards and two touchdowns receiving.