ONEONTA, NY – Senior Brad Garcia (Warwick, NY/Warwick Valley HS) racked up career-bests of 14 catches and 271 receiving yards and classmate Brian McGovern (Warwick, NY/Warwick Valley) hit a 21-yard field goal with 3.4 seconds remaining as Hartwick football defeated St. John Fisher for the first time since 2008 on Saturday at Wright Stadium, 24-21.
The victory evens Hartwick's overall record at 2-2 and its Empire 8 mark to 1-1. The Cardinals fall to 0-4 and 0-2 on the year.
In addition to Garcia's single game personal-bests, he also broke assistant coach Tanner Williams' Hartwick records for receptions and reception yards. He now has 204 catches for 3,841 yards in his four seasons with the Hawks.
The two teams entered the fourth quarter deadlocked at 14-all. The Hawks would march 90 yards on 10 plays in a 5:18 span, capped by a Billy Pine (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls) to Garcia 21-yard touchdown to move ahead. McGovern's PAT made it 21-14 with 3:06 left in the contest.
Following the ensuing kickoff, the Cardinals needed four plays, the last coming on a 53-yard Jonathan Letta to Will Blake touchdown reception and the game was tied again just 53 seconds after the Hawks grabbed the lead.
Pine completed eight passes to four different receivers to drive the ball to the Fisher nine yard-line. After a five-yard run from Tito Pichardo (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville), the Hawks called a timeout with 6.1 seconds remaining to set the stage for McGovern's game-winner. With the ball on their own 24, the Cardinals had one final play to no avail and the Hawks emerged with the win.
Pine would end the game with 375 passing yards on 26 completions and he added another 67 yards on the ground. All three of his touchdown throws were to Garcia. Pichardo finished with 71 yards rushing on 19 carries.
James Chambers rushed for 173 yards and two scores on 18 attempts. Letta gained another 92 yards on the ground and he threw for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Hartwick, which did not commit a turnover in the game, would gain 510 yards of offense on the day. The Hawks held the Cardinals to 389.
St. John Fisher would score on its opening drive of the game, but the Hartwick defense would keep them off the scoreboard for the remainder of the half. The Hawks tied the score at 6-6 on their fourth possession which was set up by a Joe Tecklenburg (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville HS) interception and 45-yard return to the Fisher 23 yard-line. A six-yard pass from Pine to Garcia evened the score and McGovern gave the Hawks the lead, 7-6.
The score remained the same well into the third quarter until Hartwick increased its lead to eight with its second touchdown of the day. After a Pine 3-yard keeper, he connected with Koree Reed (Baldwinsville, NY/Baldwinsville) for 26 yards and then found Garcia for a 38-yard touchdown reception. McGovern provided the PAT and 'Wick was in front, 14-6.
Fisher answered on its first touch from scrimmage after the kickoff on a Chambers' 64-yard touchdown run. The Cardinals converted the extra point to tie the game heading into the final quarter.
Defensively for the Hawks, lineman Nick Richard (Greenwich, NY/Schuylerville) led all players with 10 tackles, including a half sack. Linebacker Mark Hackett (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls HS) added nine hits and Tecklenburg contributed seven tackles, including a sack, to his big interception.
Josh Wilcox (Ithaca, NY/Candor HS) contributed six tackles and one and a half sacks. Matthew Scotman (White Plains, NY/White Plains HS) chipped in with five tackles.
Hartwick takes its 2-2 record to rival Utica College next Saturday, September 30. Kickoff is 7 p.m. from Charles Gaetano Stadium.