ALFRED, NY – Hartwick erased a 20-6 first-half deficit and scored the last 24 points of the game on Saturday as the Hawks came away with a 30-20 victory over Alfred State at Pioneer Stadium. The Hawks would overcome four first-half turnovers and the defense would hold the Pioneers scoreless over the final 41-plus minutes, limiting them to just 71 yards in the second half.
'Wick running back Devon Brown (Vestal, NY/Vestal) had a big day on the ground as he rushed for 156 yards on 24 carries. He was a key factor in the second-half comeback as he rushed for 105 yards over the final 30 minutes of action.
Receiver Kishaun Bell (Beacon, NY/Beacon) caught four passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Grant Harman (Liberty, NY/Liberty) threw for 144 yards and two scores with one pick. Jason Fucci (West Babylon, NY/West Babylon) and Davien Kuinlan (Bethpage, NY/Plainedge) each had rushing touchdowns with Rusty Virkler (Apalachin, NY/Vestal) also scoring through the air.
The Hawks' day didn't start as they anticipated as they turned the ball over on their opening drive and Alfred State countered with an opening drive touchdown for the early lead. Fucci got the team into good field possession after a 55-yard kickoff return, and Harman connected with Bell for a 25-yard touchdown pass five plays later. Following an ASC penalty, the Hawks went for two but couldn't convert and the hosts led 7-6 with six and a half minutes left in the first quarter.
The Pioneers scored again early in the second quarter to increase their advantage to 13-6. Hartwick fumbled on its next possession but the defense forced an ASC punt. On the third play of the ensuing drive, Harman was picked off by Andrew Pierre-Paul who ran the ball back 41 yards for a pick six. The extra point was good and the Pioneers were in front by 14 points, 20-6.
The Hawks settled in and following a 32-yard pass from Harman to Bell, they quickly were inside the Alfred State 30. Six plays later, Fucci ran it into the end zone from two yards out. Kevin Roberts (Montgomery, NY/Valley Central) added the PAT to trim the gap to seven with 8:08 left in the half. The Hartwick defense forced a three and out to get the ball back. The Hawks' next drive included a 50-yard run from Brown to put them inside the 10 yard-line. Roberts later hit a 25-yard field goal to trim the gap to four, 20-16, at halftime.
'Wick got a stop to start the third quarter and proceeded to march the ball 87 yards on 11 plays to take the lead for good. Brown ran the ball seven times on the drive, collecting 56 yards in the process. Harman found Bell for 14 yards on a 3rd and 9 and Kuinlan ran it in from six yards away on the next play for a Hartwick lead. Roberts' extra point made it 23-20 with 7:34 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks recovered a fumble to get the ball back just 2:10 later. A 17-yard Harman strike to Virkler extended the Hartwick lead with 2:28 to go in the third and Roberts' PAT made it a 10-point game, 30-20.
Yet another three and out capped a dominant defensive performance for the Hawks in the third quarter. They would hold the Pioneers to just one yard on three drives in the period.
Alfred State nearly inched closer to the Hawks on its first drive of the fourth quarter. ASC missed a short field goal but a Hartwick penalty kept the drive alive and gave the Pioneers a first and goal from the 'Wick 3 yard-line. Kyle Kessler (Latham, NY/Shaker) and Joe Harney (Carmel, NY/Mahopac) combined for a tackle for a loss and a Kessler sack for eight yards would follow. Two incomplete passes from ASC and Hartwick held off the hosts in the last time they threatened.
Hartwick would gain 306 yards of total offense in the contest. The Hawks held the Pioneers to 223. In total, Hartwick registered 13 tackles for a loss of 52 yards, including five sacks. Noah Socash (Vestal, NY/Vestal) led all players with nine tackles, three for losses. Kessler had seven hits, 2.5 TFLs, and one interception. Dylan Williams-Bachman (Homer, NY/Homer) also had seven tackles. Cameron Conrad (Valley Cottage, NY/Clarkstown Nouth) and Nelon Priest (Schenectady, NY/Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons) each had six tackles. Harney and Jack Colbath (Monroe, NY/Monroe Woodbury) contributed five each. Harney had 2.5 TFLs, Conrad had two, and Colbath added one.
Hartwick is back in action next Saturday for True Blue Weekend. The Hawks host King's College beginning at 2:30 p.m. from Wright Stadium.
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