ONEONTA, NY – Hartwick had a relative breeze with its first two opponents in 2012. Today was a little tighter of a game as the Hawks, who trailed at halftime, outscored visiting Becker 20-0 in the third quarter in a 53-41 win. The Hawks racked up a season-high 629 yards of offense and were paced by running back Kurtis Ahart's (Spencer, NY/Spencer Van Etten HS) career-high 233 rushing yards on the day. 'Wick overcame five first-half turnovers for its third straight victory.
With Hartwick leading by a 46-41 margin following a Becker touchdown with 5:28 remaining in the game, the visitors elected not to attempt an onside kick and instead kicked off to 'Wick. Hartwick kept the chains moving and kept eating away at the clock with three consecutive first downs.
Facing a 4th and 7 from the Becker 33 yard-line with under two minutes to play, a big 5-yard offside penalty gave 'Wick a 4th and 2 instead. On the ensuing play, freshman Joe Rosiecki (Montgomery, NY/Valley Central HS) not only secured the first down but he barreled through the defense and ran it all the way into the end zone for a touchdown to make it an 11-point game and put Becker away.
Ahart carried the ball 26 times in the game. He accounted for a pair of Hartwick touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Tanner Williams (Eagle Bridge, NY/Hoosick Falls HS) had a huge day for the Hawks as he accumulated 299 all-purpose yards. He hauled in five catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns and also had four kick returns for 132 yards, including one for an 80-yard touchdown early in the second quarter after Becker had pulled to within six points.
Mike Mathews (Pound Ridge, NY / Fox Lane HS) threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on 11 completed passes. Rosiecki finished with 54 yards and a touchdown for 'Wick. Frankie Molina (Middletown, NY/Middletown HS) made two catches for 70 yards and Chris Hoose (Leeds, NY/Cairo-Durham HS) made three catches for 55 yards.
The first quarter of action saw 34 points from both teams. Bob Baker's 37-yard touchdown pass and the extra point gave Becker an early lead before Mathews found Molina for a 25-yard score and Hartwick trailed 7-6. The PAT failed and on the ensuing kickoff, Kyle Gregg took the ball back 89 yards for the score and the visitors extended their lead to 14-6.
A Mathews to Williams 40-yard touchdown pass and subsequent Alex Tesoriero (Rensselaer, NY/Columbia HS) extra point cut the lead to one, 14-13, with 5:44 left in the quarter but a quick three and out gave the ball back to 'Wick.
Mathews hit Williams for a 50-yard completion on the first play of the drive and four plays later Ahart ran it in from seven yards out to give Hartwick a 19-14 lead. Tesoriero's extra point extended it to a six-point edge.
In the second quarter, neither team collected any points on the first four drives. Hartwick then had the ball on the Becker 12 but Mathews was intercepted. A Baker to C.J. Bostic 64-yard touchdown pass would put the visitors in front 21-20.
Another turnover put the ball back in the hands of Becker and it marched 69 yards on 10 plays for another touchdown with 10 seconds remaining to go up 27-20 at the intermission.
In the second half, the 'Wick defense forced a three and out to start the third quarter and a Mathews to Williams 35-yard touchdown pass and Tesoriero kick tied the score at 27-27 on the Hawks' next possession.
Clyde Miller (Rochester, NY/Glenville State) then picked off Baker on his second throw from scrimmage and a Mathews' keeper from four yards out would later put the Hawks up to stay, 34-27, with 10:09 left in the third quarter.
Hartwick would force a Becker punt after the touchdown and the Blue and White used a huge 11-play 97-yard drive over the next 6:26 to extend the lead. Ahart, who scored on a three-yard run, rushed for 50 yards alone on the drive and 'Wick led 40-27.
Becker would close the gap on its next possession with a touchdown, but the Williams' kickoff return negated it 12 seconds later to build the Hartwick lead back up to 12.
The visitors trimmed the lead to five, 46-41, with 5:28 to play after a long drive but 'Wick would battle back with its own impressive drive to seal it. Mathews completed passes for first downs to both Williams and Hoose and Ryan Manning (Watervliet, NY/Watervliet HS) ran for another with 2:10 remaining. Becker held 'Wick on the next few plays before Rosiecki's 4th down run for the touchdown kept 'Wick undefeated.
Junior linebacker Bryan Schweitzer (Babylon, NY/Babylon HS) led all players on the day with 13 tackles. Junior Joe Seney (Gloversville, NY/Gloversville HS) added eight tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. Dalton Smith (Oneonta, NY/Oneonta HS) had two tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and Mike Parody (Clay, NY/CNS) contributed a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Baker finished with 319 passing yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-52 passing with one pick for Becker. Bostic had nine catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
The Hawks, who entered the game as one of only 45 unbeaten teams in the country, are now 3-0 for the first time since 2009. 'Wick faces a big test next Saturday on the road in its Empire 8 Conference opener at #9 St. John Fisher. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.