ALFRED, NY – Host Alfred University scored touchdowns on four of its first five first-half drives to grab a 27-0 lead in an eventual 34-7 victory for the Saxons over the Hawks Saturday in Empire 8 action at AU's Yunevich Stadium.
'Wick drops to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the Empire 8. Alfred ups its season record to 5-2 and 2-1 in league play.
The Saxons out-gained the Hawks on the day by a margin of 396 to 297. Hartwick would achieve 17 first downs on the day compared to Alfred's 14. The Hawks passed for 218 yards and gained another 79 on the ground.
Grant Harman (Liberty, NY/Liberty) threw for all 218 yards on 21-of-38 passing with two picks for the Hawks. Davien Kuinlan (Bethpage, NY/Plainedge) ran the ball 16 times for 55 yards and Jason Fucci (West Babylon, NY/West Babylon) made five catches for a game-high 95 yards.
Leading rusher Aaron Griffin, who finished the day with 18 carries for 119 yards and two scores for the hosts, put AU on the scoreboard after a 20-yard run with 2:49 gone in the game. The Hawks would punt but a Kyle Kessler (Latham, NY/Shaker) interception on the 'Wick 15 later would stave off a Saxon scoring threat and keep it a 7-0 game.
After the Hawks' third punt, Alfred used a 6-play, 52-yard drive with quarterback Ben Burk passing to Keandre Sanders for a 38-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead. AU used an on-side kick to gain possession once again. Early in the second quarter, the Saxons made it 21-0 as A.O. Othman ran the ball in from 21 yards out. The PAT was missed and Alfred led 20-0 with 1:25 elapsed in the period.
The ensuing drive for the Hawks produced three first downs and they moved the ball all the way to the AU 4 yard-line. Kevin Roberts (Montgomery, NY/Valley Central) attempted to put the Hawks on the scoreboard with a 21-yard field goal attempt, but the kick was blocked, scooped up by Ryan Elliott, and ran back to the end zone 91 yards for a 27-0 Alfred advantage.
Hartwick punted and was intercepted on its next two possessions. AU drove the ball deep into Hartwick territory as the first-half clock wound down, but a Nelon Priest (Schenectady, NY/Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons) interception in the end zone and a 55-yard return ran the clock out.
After Hartwick's defense forced a punt on Alfred's first touch of the ball to begin the second half, the Hawks drove to the Saxon 26 but faced fourth down. They went for it only to be stopped to give the ball back to the hosts. The Saxons needed six plays, with Griffin finding the end zone with a 53-yard touchdown run, to put the final Alfred points of the day on the board.
Forced to go for touchdowns, the Hawks would turn the ball over on downs on the AU side of the field on their next possession. They would get the ball back and drive 48 yards on 18 plays while taking over nine minutes off the clock. 'Wick had a first and 10 from the Alfred 19 but two small gains followed by a holding penalty would push them back to the 26. Harman would be picked on a fourth and 17 near the goal line and 'Wick came away empty.
The Hawks would break through on their second drive of the fourth quarter. Harman would connect on four pass for 26 yards, three of which found the hands of Jack Steinman (North Haven, CT/North Haven). Kuinlan handled the runs as he rushed six times for 15 yards, including a 3-yard score with 1:21 left in the contest. Roberts added the final points via PAT.
Steinman would make five catches for 50 yards. Corey Sachs (Wantagh, NY/Wantagh) had the game-high in receptions with six for 35 yards. Rusty Virkler (Apalachin, NY/Vestal) had four catches for 36 yards.
On defense, Noah Socash (Vestal, NY/Vestal) recorded a team-best six tackles with one pass defended for the Blue and White. Kessler had five hits, one for a loss, the interception, and one pass defended. Jack Colbath (Monroe, NY/Monroe Woodbury) contributed five tackles and 1.5 TFLs. Cameron Conrad (Valley Cottage, NY/Clarkstown North) and Dylan Williams-Bachman (Homer, NY/Homer) chipped in four tackles apiece.
The Hawks are back home next weekend as they host the Morrisville State Mustangs in their CODE BLUE game at Wright Stadium on Saturday, November 2 beginning at 1 p.m.
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