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Utica Tops St. Lawrence in Season-Opener

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UTICA, ­­NY – The Utica College football team kicked off its 2017 season with an impressive 20-7 victory over visiting St. Lawrence University on Saturday night at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.  Utica did not trail the entire contest, holding the Saint scoreless for the first 53:43 of the game.  Senior running back Nicodemus Gambill (Rochester, NY/East High) sparked the Pioneer offense with a career-high 161 yards rushing on just 16 carries and he also added two rushing touchdowns of 59 and 39 yards.

Sophomore linebacker Antonio Scala (Coram, NY/Longwood) had a banner evening, posting a career-high 11 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery in the end zone to hand the Pioneers a 6-0 first quarter lead. 

Utica (1-0) has now won nine consecutive season opening contests and they have defeated St. Lawrence in four straight meetings dating back to 2010.  St. Lawrence, a team that is receiving votes in the D3football.com preseason national poll, saw its record fall to 0-1 on the season.

With the Pioneers leading 6-0 and time winding down on the first half clock, Utica's Nicodemus Gambill (Rochester, NY/East High) took a handoff from sophomore quarterback Peyton Miller (Chemung, NY/Waverly) and found a seam, scampering 59 yards for a touchdown to give UC a 13-0 lead with 27 seconds left before the half. Gambill, who is also an All-American sprinter for the Utica track & field team, also caught two passes on the afternoon.

The Pioneers carried their 13-0 lead late into the third quarter before Gambill struck again.  This time Gambill broke loose for a 39 yard touchdown run to give Utica a convincing 20-0 lead.

St. Lawrence was able to muster one fourth quarter score via a three yard touchdown run from quarterback Sean Richardson.  The Pioneer defense stood its ground and did not allow another score in the final 6:17 of play to secure the 13 point season opening victory.

Senior captain Anthony Bierria-Anderson (Freeport, NY/Freeport) made eight stops and picked off a pass for Utica, while Elijah Belle (Plainfield, NJ/Plainfield) added four tackles and his first career interception, which he returned 42 yards.  Mark Taylor (Buffalo, NY/Kenmore West) made six stops and broke up three passes on the afternoon for the UC defense. Derrick Sekuterski (Depew, NY/Depew) made six tackles and added a half sack.  Transfer Sean McKean (Bohemia, NY/Connetquot) made one key fourth quarter sack in his debut with the Pioneers, while Jack Derby (Fonda, NY/Fultonville Fonda) added three tackles and one sack.

Utica quarterback Peyton Miller (Chemung, NY/Waverly) completed 9-of-28 passes for 54 yards and rushed the ball eight times for 49 yards in his varsity debut. 

The Pioneers outrushed St. Lawrence 231-101 on the ground to control the pace of the contest.  The Utica defense held the Saints to just 256 yards of total offense on the afternoon.

Skylar Williamson totaled a game-high 13 tackles and broke up two passes for St. Lawrence.  Deven Redden added seven tackles for the Saints. Senior quarterback Sean Richardson completed 18-of-43 pass attempts for 155 yards and he also carried the ball 10 times for 16 yards and one touchdown. Rodrick Payne posted 13 carries for 48 yards to pace the St. Lawrence running game. 

Utica will now hit the road for three straight contests, beginning with a trip to Washington, DC next Saturday to take on The Catholic University of America at 12 p.m.

Dec. 8: All times Eastern
Final
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
Final
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos