By Otto Gomez
The Lions finished off their 2016 season with a tough 17-0 loss against Rowan University on Senior Night last Friday, Nov. 11. The College, coming off two great offensive games, was unable to get in the end zone all game, mainly due to the Profs strong defense.
The first quarter ended with a scoreless tie, seeing only a combined 107 total yards from both the Lions and the Profs.
Rowan broke through first with 13:06 remaining in the opening half, marching down the field for 62 yards on six plays in just three minutes. They were able to capitalize off an interception by defensive back Travelle Curry with a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dante Pinckney to Kevin Lenart, making it a 7-0 game.
The Lions, unable to respond, lost a fumble later in the period when Profs defensive lineman Nick Fromhold forcibly knocked the ball loose and recovered it in Lions territory. The Profs, riding their momentum, moved the ball 37 yards on eight plays to set up a 22-yard field goal by Profs Tyler Knighton, taking a 10-0 lead.
While the game held scoreless for the rest of the half, the Lions came out strong in the third quarter, putting together a strong drive. On third-and-two, junior running back Chad Scott found a hole and sprinted for a 39-yard run after breaking two tackles. The drive was cut short three plays later after an interception by Ryan Brenner gave the ball back to Rowan on their 37 after a 29-yard return.
They would put the game away a couple of minutes when Pinckney threw another touchdown pass, this time to Jamel Smith for a 30-yard score.
The score of 17-0 would hold for the rest of the game, as the Lions were unable to find the endzone even though they had possession of the ball for more than half of the game.
Scott, the focus of the Lions offense, finished with 88 yards on 19 carries. He accounted for almost half of the team’s offensive yards, as Rowan held their opponent to less than 200 total yards.
While the night did not end as planned for the College, it did start off in an emotional way. Prior to kickoff, 13 Lions players were honored as they would be taking the field for the last time in their college career.
The 2016 football senior class include student assistants Sean Carroll and John Magi, kicker/punter No. 1 Colin Cazzetta, defensive backs No. 3 Drew Dickison and No. 17 Jordan Rogers, running back No. 15 Matthew Popek, wide receiver No. 20 Jeff Mattonelli, linebackers No. 35 Erik Wehner and No. 51 Robert Burns, offensive linemen No. 52 Ben Keating and No. 74 Hank Harvey, defensive linemen No. 56 Dan Naples, No. 62 Tom Cilla and No. 90 Abdelrahman Ragab, and kicker No. 97 Brian Nagy.
While it was a tough season for the Lions, they show a lot of promise for next year, as running back Scott returns as well as strong defensive players.