Football trounces SVU 61-0 to remain undefeated

The College’s football team improved to 3-0 on Saturday, routing Southern Virginia University 61-0 for its second straight shutout victory.

“We were happy that everyone got on the field and played hard to keep the shutout,” head coach Eric Hamilton said. “That sense of pride is important but if you ask any of our players, as long as we have one more point than the bad guys, that’s what it is all about.”

The Lions defense allowed just 123 total yards and seven first downs, while forcing six punts to hand the Knights their third loss of the season.

The offense was firing on all cylinders from the start as well, collecting 518 total yards and scoring on its first nine drives of the game.

“It was very important for us to come out and get established right off the bat against an opponent we know we should have beaten,” Hamilton said.

The Lions did just that, jumping out to a 34-0 lead at halftime.

Junior receiver Alan Kotteles connected with freshman quarterback Jeff Struble twice for touchdowns of 32 and 11 yards in the first half as part of the Lions’ fiery start.

Junior running back Leeaire Brown ran six yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and caught a 43-yard touchdown pass in the third from sophomore quarterback Chris Bell. Sophomore running back Cory Schoonover added a pair of scores as well, one on a 61-yard in the third quarter and another on a five-yard run in the second quarter.

The Lions moved the ball at will all game, converting an impressive seven out of 11 third-down attempts and both of their fourth-down tries, while their defense kept the Knights to convert just two out of 12 third-down tries.

Senior receiver Joe Bergondo added a six-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Nick D’Aconti in the second quarter, while sophomore running back Derek Thompson and sophomore quarterback Spencer Gaskill each had short rushing touchdowns in the third quarter.

Junior place-kicker converted four of five attempts and freshman Matt D’Alessio connected on three out of four.

The Lions netted 278 yards on the ground on 44 carries and 240 yards through the air. Schoonover led the rushing attack with 132 yards on 10 carries and junior running back Gregg Silvesti added 53 yards on 12 carries. Struble completed eight of 11 passes for 127 yards and Kotteles led all receivers with 77 yards on five receptions.

Defensively, the Lions were led by senior linebacker James Smith with six tackles, four of them solo, and freshman linebacker Charles Bachi with five stops. Junior defensive back John Sher added an interception and 15-yard return.

The College’s offensive onslaught fell just three points shy of the school’s all-time record for most points in a single game.

Hamilton indicated that the blow-out win against Southern Virginia, which is only in its second year of play, is not a good measure of where the Lions will stand this season.

“We’re still an unknown quantity,” he said. “We got a good win against LaSalle. We have experienced a lot of things but we don’t really have a handle on where we are. But we are definitely going to find out Friday against Rowan.”

“These two shutouts give our defense a lot of confidence going into the Rowan game and show we have the potential to be a great defense,” senior defensive back Steve Andrews said. “The three teams we played so far are good teams but Rowan is a great team. People are still going to doubt how good our defense is until we play some good competition. The Rowan game is going to show people just how good we really are.”

The Lions will look to keep their unbeaten streak alive when they host their rival, Rowan on Friday at 7 p.m.

“(Rowan) had the week off and crushed Western Connecticut the week before,” Hamilton said. “They will certainly be ready for us.”