Saturday, September 24, 2011(Newton, Massachusetts) - With 5:58 remaining in the final quarter of play, Mount Ida College football junior quarterback Scott Drosendahl (East Aurora, NY/East Aurora) floated a 10 yard touchdown pass to senior running back Johrone Bunch (Meriden, CT/F.T. Maloney) putting the Mustangs ahead 7-3. The score would remain solidifying Mount Ida's first victory of 2011 over visiting non-conference opponent Hartwick College Saturday afternoon in Newton, Massachusetts.
The Mustang defense caused five turnovers in the contest, including four interceptions, two coming from sophomore defensive back Frank Greene (Hamden, CT/Hamden), and a fumble recovery that was forced and recovered by Greene. Greene's forced fumble and recovery came at the end of the game with the visitors in Mount Ida's red zone to seal off the victory with less than a minute to play.
The hosts improve to 1-2 overall with their first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) match-up coming a week from today at rival Norwich University with game time slated for 2:00 p.m. The Mustangs captured a 22-21 win over the Cadets last year for their first victory against Norwich in their 11 year history.
The Hawks drop their first loss of the season in a tough defensive battle falling to 2-1 with their first Empire Eight league match-up coming next weekend against visiting Ithaca College.
The entire first half was riddled with turnovers by the visitors starting with a interception late in first quarter by Mustang freshman defensive back Jovan Wilkins (Poughkeepsie, NY/Poughkeepsie) snuffing out a 10 play, 56 yard drive on the Mount Ida 24 yard line. The ensuing possession for the hosts ended in a punt handing the ball back to Hartwick.
With 5:10 to go in the second quarter, the Hawks drove down to the Mount Ida 18 yard line on a 16 play, 64 yard drive. The Mustang defense stymied the visitors forcing a field goal from 35 yards out by Hartwick sophomore kicker Alex Tesoriero (Rensselaer, NY/Columbia). Mount Ida junior defensive end A.J. Knibbs (Spotswood, NJ/Spotswood) came through big for the Mustangs blocking the kick turning the ball back over to Mount Ida.
Neither team could convert a drive in the final two and a half minutes of the first half heading into the midway point deadlocked at zero's.
To begin the third quarter, the Mustangs were driving through a 14 play, 71 yard drive until Drosendahl coughed up a fumble on the Hartwick 14 yard line that would be recovered by Hawk junior Bryan Schweitzer (Babylon, NY/Babylon) for another failed opportunity by the hosts.
The visitors capitalized on the ensuing possession converting a 24 yard field goal by Tesoriero with 4:12 to go in the third quarter giving the Hawks a 3-0 lead for the first points of the contest.
On the next possession, Mount Ida senior wide out Nick Lynch (Hampton Bays, NY/Hampton Bays), who hasn't seen much action all season due to injury, fumbled on the Hartwick 42 yard line that would be recovered by visiting junior R.J. Roth (New Windsor, NY/Cornwall Central).
After a failed drive by the Hawks following the fumble and a three-and-out by Mount Ida, Hartwick started driving with 13:22 to go in the final quarter. Visiting sophomore quarterback Keegan Corbett (Bennington, CT/Mt. Anthony Union), who replaced started senior quarterback Dan Brainard (Owego, NY/Owego Free Acdemy) due to injury caused by a huge Mount Ida hit, aired out a pass down the right side line. Mustang senior cornerback Mackenson Charles (Lynn, MA/Lynn Technical) intercepted the pass putting the hosts in prime position with 10 minutes to go in the game.
Drosendahl and Bunch led the Mustang charge down the field with Drosendahl completing five of six attempts for 109 yards that ended with a 10 yard strike in the end zone to Bunch for the touchdown and eventually the victory. The key to keeping the final drive alive for Mount Ida was a 41 yard gain from Drosendahl to sophomore wide out Jordan Hyman (Middletown, CT/Xavier) up the middle of the field that Hyman laid out for making a spectacular catch in the process.
The Mustangs would take the 7-3 advantage with 5:48 remaining in the contest, plenty of time for the visitors to make an attempt to regain the lead.
After the teams exchanged possessions, Hartwick had one final chance with 2:28 to go in the last stanza. The Hawks got the ball down to the Mount Ida nine yard line but Greene forced the huge fumble recovering it in the process finalizing the victory for the Mustangs.
Offensively Drosendahl was impressive going 17-29 with 237 yards through the air and a touchdown strike to Bunch. Bunch had 27 carries for 125 yards rushing and a receiving score for the only touchdown of the contest. Hyman hauled in four catches for 78 yards while junior wide receiver Matt Valentini (Lake Hopatcong, NJ/Jefferson Twp.) added six catches for 65 yards.
Hawks quarterback Corbett went 12-29 for the day with 223 yards through the air and three interceptions while starter Brainard, who was knocked out early, went 5-9 passing with 57 yards and a pick.
The contest was a defensive war the whole way with the Mustangs winning the turnover battle collecting four interceptions and a fumble recovery. Along with an impressive performance from Greene, the Mustangs were led by freshman Tevin Moye (Hamden, CT/Hamden) with seven solo tackles. Knibbs also was outstanding with a sack, a blocked kick, and two quarterback hurries.
The visitors were led by Schweitzer with nine solo tackles and a fumble recovery while Roth also added nine solo tackles and a forced fumble.