PAXTON, Mass.—The Anna Maria College football team fell to the Catholic University of America 54-25 on Saturday afternoon in non-conference action from AMCAT Field, despite three touchdowns by Anna Maria's junior running back Christopher Bettano (Tewksbury, Mass.).
Bettano scored the first touchdown of the day late in the first quarter. The momentum was swinging in the AMCATS' favor, as the team collected possession from the Cardinals on an interception by Dan Brown on the Cardinals' seven-yard line. The AMCATS then used seven plays to travel 37-yards, setting Bettano up for a 56-yard touchdown run.
The Cardinals responded with a score on their next drive, as they used just five plays to travel 53 yards on the drive that culminated in a 27-yard touchdown rush for sophomore running back Matt Perno (New Hyde park, N.Y.). Both teams were unsuccessful on extra-point attempts in the first quarter.
Catholic took control in the second quarter and finished the quarter with three scoring drives. The Cardinals converted their first drive of the quarter, using 11 plays to travel 41 yards to set up Matt McMahon (Green Bay, Wisc.) for a three-yard touchdown rush. Sophomore kicker Peter Rosa (Darnestown, Md.) was successful on the extra-point to give the Cardinals the 13-6 lead.
With 3:44 left to play in the half, Perno recorded a 67-yard run on the first play of the drive to net his second touchdown of the day and give the Cardinals the 19-6 edge. Rosa's kick attempt was blocked by Anna Maria's Deon Brown (Dunellen, N.J.).
After a three-and-out drive by the AMCATS, Cardinals junior quarterback TJ Tutone (Reston, Va.) had back-to-back completed passes to sophomore Justin Paige (Herndon, Va.). The first, a 25-yard pass, brought the Cardinal's to Anna Maria's 16-yard line, setting up the duo for a 16-yard touchdown reception on the next play. Rosa's successful extra-point set the halftime score of 26-6.
The AMCATS opened the second half on defense, but quickly gained possession as William Bishop (Uxbridge, Mass.) picked off Tutone's pass on third-down and returned it to Catholic's 10-yard line. Bettano took three attempts before sneaking into the end zone for his second score of the day. The AMCATS tried for two-points, but Bettano's rush was stifled at the line.
Catholic needed six plays to travel 58 yards to score on their ensuing drive. Tutone found Lucas Morley (Olney, Md.) in the end zone for the 37-yard touchdown score, giving the Cardinals the 33-12 lead.
Anna Maria responded with a scoring drive at the 6:07 mark. The AMCATS used four plays before Bettano broke away for a 17-yard touchdown run. Kyle Simons (Swansea, Mass.) converted the extra-point attempt to bring the AMCATS within two scores at 33-19.
Catholic would put an end to the AMCATS' hopes in the final five minutes of the third quarter, as the team tallied back-to-back touchdowns to take the 47-19 lead into the final quarter.
The Cardinals would score one more time in the fourth quarter before Anna Maria tallied a final touchdown on a 16-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Gregory McGoldrick (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to freshman receiver Trai Weaver (Waterbury, Conn.).
The AMCATS had their best offensive performance of 2014, as they totaled 304 yards of total offense, including 172 yards in the air. McGoldrick completed 14 of 36 pass attempts with a long of 46, while Bettano netted 161 rushing yards on 25 carries. Weaver totaled 117 receiving yards on five catches.
Catholic's Tutone completed 12 of 24 passes for 175 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns. Perno was the Cardinals' biggest strength on the ground, as he recorded 161 rushing yards on 17 carries. McMahon recorded four catches for 60 yards.
Defensively, the AMCAT defense held the Cardinals to 471 yards of total offense. Anna Maria was led by sophomore Mike Sinto (Long Island, N.Y.) with a team-best 12 tackles. Junior Victor Sambola (Worcester, Mass.) chipped in with 10 tackles, while Joe Colao (Westerly, R.I.) recovered a fumble. Senior Kevin Card (Deer Park, N.Y.) picked up the AMCATS lone sack.
The Catholic defense saw an even output across the board. Anthony Santo (Randolph, N.J.), Scott McElroy (Garden City, N.J.), and James Mooney (Media, Pa.) all finished with five tackles apiece. Mooney, Matthew Barton (Hollidaysburg, Pa.) and Bill McClatchy (Havertown, Pa.) all recorded sacks for the Cardinals.
Anna Maria will open Eastern Collegiate Football Conference play next weekend at home for a 1:00 p.m. start against Gallaudet. Catholic will take on Hampden-Sydney at home for a 1:00 p.m. Old Dominion Athletic Conference matchup.