By Michael Otero
Without senior signal caller, Jeff Kidd, to lead the offense against American International College on Saturday, Oct. 22, the football team turned to fellow senior Matt Brennan. After one half of a play, Brennan suffered a knee injury, which forced the team to turn to its third option at quarterback—red-shirt sophomore Michael Campbell.
Thanks in large part to a dominant running back trio, the team extended its winning streak to eight with the 22-7 win, and remains unbeaten. Senior, David White, led that department with 98 yards and a score, while red-shirt sophomore, Malik Pierre, had 73 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Freshman, Tim Marinan, ran for 70 yards on just 11 carries.
A field goal at the end of the half led the Pioneers to 3-0 at the break. After a long kick return to start the second half, the Pioneers ran it down AIC’s throat seven straight times, culminating in a Pierre touchdown from one yard out.
In the fourth quarter, two more rushing touchdowns, one by Pierre and the other by White, pushed the lead to 22-0. The Pioneer offensive line won the battle up front all day long, leading to huge holes for the tailbacks to weave in and out of.
Although the Pioneers surrendered a late touchdown, the defense was stout all day, limiting the Yellow Jackets to 165 total yards of offense. Freshman defensive back, Joshua Flowers, had eight tackles and two pass break-ups; red-shirt junior defensive lineman, Anthony DeNunzio, had six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Red-shirt junior defensive back, Jared Chester, also contributed a tackle and an interception.
The Pioneers improved to 8-0 on the season and 7-0 in conference. AIC dropped to 3-5, and 3-4 in the NE-10. “The team’s vibe is humble and focused; going undefeated doesn’t mean much to us,” said Clarence Sears, senior defensive back. “We won a conference championship two years ago so our goal is to go as deep into the national playoffs as possible.”
Head Coach Bryan Collins and his team return to the field on Saturday, Oct. 29, when they welcome NE-10 conference opponent Pace University to Brookville, N.Y. for their regular-season home finale. Kick-off from Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.