Hobart loses heart-breaker on Senior Day, 35-34
GENEVA, N.Y.—Trailing 35-28 in the second overtime period, first year running back Steven Webb scored on a 4-yard run to bring the Statesmen within one point. Hobart elected to go for two, but junior quarterback Doug Vella's pass was just out of the reach of junior wide receiver Garth Muratori, sealing a one point win for Rochester in the Centennial Cup game.
Hobart (5-4, 3-3) nearly missed out on overtime, needing an improbable conversion on fourth and 13 from the Rochester 32 to set up the game-tying score. Vella's throw over the middle, bounced off a Statesman's shoulder pads and went straight up in the air. A Rochester player looked poised to make the easy interception, but lost the handle. The ball dropped right into the bread basket of a prone Muratori for a 20-yard gain. Vella hit Muratori with a direct pass on the next play for a 12-yard touchdown to make it a 21-19 game with 34 seconds remaining in regulation. The two-point pass from Vella to sophomore wide receiver Junior Woodard tied the game.
Vella was 22-of-35 for 222 yards and a TD. Muratori finished the game with 10 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Webb rushed for a game-high 98 yards and three touchdowns.
The Hobart defense was led by senior linebacker Kyle O'Laughlin and junior linebackerReggie Robinson with 12 tackles each. First-year strong safety Devin Worthington added eight tackles and a sack. Senior free safety John Kelliher had nine tackles and a forced fumble.
Rochester's offense was led by junior quarterback Braezen Subick who completed 21-of-31 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns, all to junior tight end Thomas Norman (7 rec, 76 yds).
The Yellowjacket defense kept Vella under pressure throughout the game, logging six sacks. Junior end Cainaan Webb led the charge counting three sacks among his five tackles. First-year linebacker Tony Ortega led Rochester with 10 stops (7 solo).
Hobart opened the day's scoring with a 27-yard field goal from junior kicker Conor Callahanon its opening possession.
Rochester (4-5, 3-3) answered, when Subick found Norman for an 8-yard touchdown with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter, capping an eight-play, 49-yard drive.
After the team traded punts, the Statesmen found themselves with good field position at their own 47 yard line. Nine plays later, Hobart regained the lead, 10-7, on a 1-yard plunge by Webb with 6:39 remaining in the half. Callahan's extra point was his 41st in a row, breaking the Hobart record he shared with Eric Ampuja '05.
Rochester answered with a 14-play, 67 yard march on its next possession, with Subick finding Norman again from 8 yards out to take a 14-10 lead just 16 seconds before halftime.
Rochester's squib kick gave Hobart the ball at their own 49, and two plays later the Statesmen were able to pull within one on a 38-yard field goal by first-year Reyes Guevara.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Yellowjackets distanced themselves from the Statesmen on Norman's third touchdown catch of the day. The score extended Rochester's lead to 21-13 with 11:18 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Hobart was stopped on a fourth and goal from the Rochester 3 with 3:06 left in regulation. A fourth down stand by the Statesmen defense on Rochester's ensuing drive set the stage for Hobart's late game heroics that forced overtime.
In the first extra session, Webb scored on a 22-yard run for a 28-21 lead, but Subick struck back with a 1-yard keeper to force a second OT period. Senior wideout R.J. Napodano (11 att, 36 yds) scored from a yard away out of the wild cat formation to give Rochester the 35-28 lead, leading to the drama of Hobart's two-point try.