CHESTER, Pa. – Led by record setting tailback Josan Holmes, Albright (4-3/2-2 MAC) held off Widener University (3-4/2-2 MAC) in the end to take a 35-27 Middle Atlantic Conference win Saturday afternoon at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium in front of 2,845 fans.
Holmes, who now is the all-time career rushing TD leader at Albright, rushed for 149 yards on 25 carries. His four rushing touchdowns tied the single game record at Albright, and marked the second time in his career that he has achieved that mark. The first time was in 2008 in the ECAC South Central Bowl against Montclair State.
Holmes had a hand in all five Albright touchdowns Saturday afternoon. On the Lions first score the Penllyn native connected with Sean Caldwell Jr. for a 71 yard touchdown reception. After that, it was all Holmes on the ground as he rushed for a touchdown in the second and third quarters, and two in the fourth.
Defensively, junior corner Keith Bruno made the biggest play of the afternoon, when he picked-off a hail-Mary attempt in the closing seconds of the game. Bruno's pick, which was his first of the season, secured the win for the Lions.
On the day, the defensive unit totaled three interceptions for the second consecutive week and combined for 73 tackles. Francis Hall recorded two sacks and forced one fumble in the win. Malik Compton continued his strong play with a game and career best nine stops.
As a team Albright recorded 419 yards of offense on 67 plays. In the air quarterbacks Adam Galczynski and Ben Schaffle combined for 187 yards and were 15-for-21 respectively.
For the Pride, their near comeback was fueled by Brendan Curran who rushed for back-to-back scores to bring his team to within eight. Curran also rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter to end the afternoon with the three scores and 37 yards on nine carries. Quarterback Chris Haupt totaled 323 yards in the air and was 28-for-53 with one touchdown.
Saturday's match-up got off to a wild start as both teams battled for the first score of the day. The Lions got that crucial TD on the trick play from Holmes to Caldwell late in the opening quarter to jump out to a 7-0 lead. Holmes then gave the red and white some additional breathing room in the second on his 11-yard record setting touchdown run.
After the break, Widener put their first score on the board to make it a one touchdown game. However, Holmes extended Albright's lead back to 14 moments later on a 1 yard run.
It was in the final quarter that things got really interesting. After Holmes broke free for a 19 yard run to make it 28-7, Widener quickly closed that gap on a 13 yard touchdown pass from Haupt to Kaiuway Boima.
Even with the early Widener score, Albright still maintained solid control of the contest. Everyone thought that the Lions had sealed the win, when Holmes rushed for his final touchdown of the game, a two-yard run with 7:33 left in the fourth. Unfortunately that was not the case at all, as the Pride went 75 yards in just over a minute to make it 35-20.
They then closed the gap even more when they took advantage of an Albright fumble, which Widener converted into seven more points to make it 35-27. After being forced to punt on their second to last possession, Widener got another shot at the end zone and quickly began to move up the field. Looking as if they were going to possibly upset Albright in the closing minutes, the Lions defense came through in the form of a Ryan McAdams interception.
Albright tried to use that huge play to their advantage but could not get anything going. After punting the ball on fourth and eight, the Pride tried one more time to tie the game up. They managed to work the ball up to the Albright 46-yard line, and on a last ditch effort by Haupt the quarterback let loose a bomb, which ended up in the hands of Bruno deep in the Albright end zone.
Football returns to action next Saturday when they travel to FDU-Florham for a 1 p.m. MAC showdown with the Devils.