Alfred Withstands Late Bomber Rally For 21-19 Football Win
The Saxons took a 14-6 lead late in the third quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by senior Nick Clark (Canisteo-Greenwood/Canisteo) on fourth down. Senior Eric Rockwood (Allegany-Limestone/Allegany) kicked the extra point to put Alfred up by eight points but on their next possession the Saxons gained just four yards on three plays deep in their own territory and were forced to punt to Ithaca senior Dan Ruffrage (Whitesboro/Utica Notre Dame), the nation's second-leading punt returner. Ruffrage ran the punt back 43 yards for his third kick return touchdown of the year (tying Ithaca's school record). Clark broke up the two-point conversion pass attempt by sacking sophomore quarterback Phil Neumann (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake/Burnt Hills).
Alfred took the kickoff 68 yards in eight plays, capping the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback TJ Kilcarr (Clarkstown South/Nanuet) to junior tight end Adam Schultz (Geneva/Geneva). Rockwood's extra point stretched the Saxon lead to 21-12.
Neumann threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Joseph Ingrao (St. Anthony's/Nesconset) with 3:16 left in regulation and senior Andrew Rogowski (Canisius/East Amherst) kicked the extra point to close Ithaca's deficit to two points. The Bomber drive was helped by a roughing the kicker penalty called on Alfred on a Bomber punt and a spectacular catch by Ruffrage that featured him wrestling the ball out of the hands of a Saxon defensive back while both were in the air.
Sophomore tailback Austin Dwyer (Hornell/Arkport) helped Alfred run out the clock, gaining 17 yards on the Saxons' first five plays before junior tailback Tyler DeRosa (Miller Place/Miller Place) picked up five yards on a third-and-three carry to seal the win – Alfred's first in Ithaca since 1982.
Dwyer ran for 129 yards and Kilcarr threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns. His 45-yard scoring pass to sophomore wide receiver Justin Oliver (Rocky Point/Rocky Point) put Alfred ahead early in the second quarter.
Clark led the Saxon defense with seven tackles and an interception. His two tackles for loss included a sack.
Rogowski kicked a pair of field goals, giving him 12 on the season to tie his own 2009 school record.
Junior running back Jarrett Naiden (Easton Area/Easton, Pa.) ran for a career-high 141 yards for the Bombers.
Ithaca's defense was led by junior linebacker Will Carter (Westlake/Thornwood), who made seven solo stops among his 12 tackles. Senior linebacker Eric Toporoff (Montville Township/Montville, N.J.) added 12 tackles. Senior linebacker Joe Gilfedder (Governor Livingston/Berkeley Heights, N.J.) was in on three tackles for loss among his nine stops.
The Saxons close out their regular season next Saturday by hosting Utica. The Bombers host Cortland in the annual Cortaca Jug game. The game, one of Division III's signature rivalry games, is sold out.