By Thomas Scavetta
Despite the Greyhounds (1-3) leading by two scores early in the 4th, the LIU Post football team (2-2) pulled off a come-from-behind victory after trailing by 13 to defeat Northeast-10 Conference foe Assumption, 28-27, on Saturday, Sept. 27 at Multi-Sport Stadium in Massachusetts.
The Pioneers began their second possession of the contest with excellent field position at the Assumption 37-yard line. Red-shirt senior quarterback Steven Laurino executed a quick five-play drive, which was capped off by a five-yard Laurino scramble for the game’s first touchdown. LIU added to their lead the following drive, as Laurino mounted another fast-paced drive to double the Pioneer lead to 14-0. The 5th-year senior was swift on the ground and in the air, as he started off with a 12-yard dash into Greyhounds territory and then fired a 25-yard strike to red-shirt sophomore wideout Shane Hubbard on the following play, giving the Green and Gold a first-and-10 inside the red zone. A couple of plays later, Laurino scampered into the end zone from five yards out for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon.
Assumption responded as they sliced the deficit in half, trailing 14-7 at the intermission. The Greyhounds were able to capitalize off a missed field goal try by Pioneers senior kicker Karsten Viste and score their first touchdown of the game. Greyhound junior quarterback Trevor Vasey hooked up with freshman receiver Ashton Grant to make it a one- score game.
The second half began with a boom, as the hosts evened up the score after an impressive eight-play, 71-yard drive. Vasey found the end zone on a 14-yard carry to tie the game up at 14 apiece.
LIU Post struggled to take advantage of two Assumption turnovers with one of the possessions resulting in another failed field goal attempt by Viste. The Pioneers inability to score left the door open for a Greyhounds comeback. On a third-and-10 from the 27-yard line, Vasey connected with senior wideout Eddy Frazier down the field for
a 46-yard gain to the Pioneers 27. Four plays later, Vasey and Grant hooked up again, this time resulting in a 7-yard touchdown.
As the game entered the 4th quarter, the visitors dug themselves an even deeper hole as the hosts extended their lead 27-14. Senior tailback Matt Heriveaux crossed the goal line for a 1-yard score.
The game was far from over as the Green and Gold narrowed the deficit to seven at the 9:54-mark when Laurino launched a 48-yard bomb to red-shirt senior wideout Kamron Palmer. The Boise native completed three passes of 10 yards plus in the drive, one of which was a 22-yard pass to red-shirt freshman James Higgins on a second-and-21.
Missing the extra point when the scoreboard read 27-14 proved to be costly for the Greyhounds, as the Pioneers eventually regained the lead and momentum on their next drive. Laurino paved the way for his team as he led a 64-yard passing assault, en route to the game-winning score. The series ended with a 19-yard pass from Laurino to Hubbard for his third touchdown catch of the season.
As time continued to tick down, the Pioneers defensive unit made a huge stop backed up in their own territory forcing the Greyhounds
to punt. Vasey faced the heat as Pioneer defenders brought him down
for a sack on a crucial third-and-six at the LIU 40. The ground attack proved pivotal in the late stages of the game as sophomore tailback Mike Williams rushed for two key first downs that sealed the victory for the Pioneers after starting their final possession pinned inside their own 10.
Laurino had another impressive outing, completing 27-of-40
for 329 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he racked up 35 yards on the ground and a pair of scores. “Steven is a 5th year senior who understands this offense. He mentally prepares himself and acts as another coach on the field,” said Coach Collins. Palmer grabbed seven passes for a game-high 117 yards and a touchdown, while Hubbard reeled in eight balls for 96 yards and a touchdown. Higgins, junior tight end Sean Binckes, and red-shirt freshman wideout Kyle Ward all pitched in with multi-catch efforts.
Defensively, graduate lineman Manny Dopazo posted a game- best 10 tackles and red-shirt senior linebacker Anthony Brunetti had nine stops to go along with an interception. Senior defensive lineman David Sumter (1.5 sacks) and red-shirt freshman lineman Jess Agbotse recorded six tackles apiece.
Head Coach Bryan Collins said, “We have an excellent group of young men who listen and have genuine respect for each other. Creating a great team atmosphere has helped relationships flourish and has created strong player bonds.” Collins and the Pioneers look to take two out of three on their roadtrip as they travel to Ossining, N.Y. to face-off against Pace University next Sat. Oct. 4th. Kickoff is slated for noon.