By Thomas Scavetta
The Pioneers found themselves trailing
the New Haven Chargers 33-31 with only 1:46 remaining in the game. The fans were on the edge of their seats, as the Green and Gold were moving the ball down the field at a quick pace. After getting the ball down to the one-yard line, red- shirt senior quarterback Steven Laurino crossed the goal-line for the game-winning touchdown as the LIU Post Pioneers (1-1) survived New Haven (0-2) 38-33 on Sat. Sept. 13th, at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
Earlier in the possession, the Green and Gold faced 4th-and-5 with the game on the line, but Laurino pulled off some fourth quarter magic as he found junior tight end Sean Binckes, which was followed up by a one-yard touchdown five plays later to complete the comeback.
On the Pioneers second possession of the contest, Laurino docked a 13-play, 66-yard drive, leading to a game-tying two-yard scramble by the senior quarterback. Earlier in the drive, Laurino broke the record for most passing yards in school history. He surpassed Rob Blunt (2002-2005; 6,631) to become the all-time leader.
The Pioneers gained control of the game after red-shirt senior linebacker Anthony Brunetti got an interception to set up the offense for another touchdown, as Laurino hooked up with red-shirt sophomore wideout Kamron Palmer on a 20-yard strike to set a 17-7 lead. It didn’t take long for New Haven to respond as they piled up 20 unanswered points to regain the lead 27-17, thanks to a couple of Pioneers miscues. However, LIU narrowed the deficit to three with a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Laurino, making it a 27-24 game heading into the 4th quarter.
After the Chargers added to their lead, making the score 30-24, they had the opportunity to make it a two possession game until kicker Anthony Greenfield had his 26-yard field goal kick hit off the left upright. The offense came back out fired up, as the Green and Gold consistently moved down the field after three Laurino completions got the Pioneers into Charger territory.
Moments later, red-shirt sophomore receiver Shane Hubbard hauled in a 20-yard touchdown, giving the Pioneers a slim 31-30 advantage. New Haven followed up with a field goal at the 1:46 mark, giving them the lead right back, going up 33-31. However, the defense did their job, preventing the Chargers from finding the end-zone.
Laurino finished the game going 32-of-50 for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Laurino was also smooth on the ground, rushing for 59 yards to go with three scores. He finished the game with five touchdowns total.
Red-shirt sophomore Michael Williams had another solid day on the ground with 13 rushes for 66 yards. Williams also tied for the team-high in catches with nine for 55 yards. Hubbard also racked up nine receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Junior defensive back Jhaleel Oswald led the squad with 11 tackles.
Head Coach Bryan Collins and the Pioneers will commence a three game road trip as NE- 10 rival Merrimack awaits next Sat. Sept. 20, in North Andover, Mass. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.