By Thomas Scavetta
The LIU Post football team (5-2) erupted for seven offensive touchdowns Saturday, Oct. 18, in a 49-21 blowout of Saint Anselm on homecoming at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium. Red-shirt senior quarterback Steven Laurino had a hand in every Pioneer score, passing for four touchdowns and rushing for three. Laurino broke the record for most touchdowns in a game for the Pioneers with seven.
The Green and Gold had total control of the game from the opening kickoff. On their first possession, Laurino had a one-yard push into the end zone, giving the Pioneers a 7-0 lead. Two plays prior, the Boise-native hooked up with red-shirt freshman wide receiver Kyle Ward on a 21-yard strike, which set up shop at the Saint Anselm (5-2) five-yard line.
A fumble recovery by red-shirt senior linebacker Anthony Brunetti set up a one-yard run by Laurino, giving the hosts a 14-0 lead. The Hawks responded and cut the deficit in half as senior wide receiver Justin Bernard hauled in a 6-yard touchdown catch. However, the Pioneers kept their foot on the gas as they fired back with 14 unanswered points to gain a 28-7 advantage heading into halftime. Laurino connected with junior tight end Sean Binckes for both scores.
LIU Post never slowed down as they continued to have success on both sides of the ball. Saint Anselm did manage to a score a quick touchdown to open up the third quarter as sophomore quarterback Yianni Gavalas threw a 23-yard pass to senior wide receiver Ahkeen Williams to reduce the gap to 28-14.
After having their lead sliced in half again, the Pioneers tacked on 14 consecutive points to put the game out of reach. The first of the two scores was a result of an eight-yard screen pass from Laurino to red-shirt sophomore Mike Williams. Laurino’s elusiveness kept the drive alive after scampering for 13 yards on a third-and-10. On the next drive, Laurino pieced together a 10-play, 63-yard series that culminated in a Laurino three-yard rush into the end zone making it a 42-14 game.
The Green and Gold rounded out their scoring on their first drive of the fourth quarter. Laurino found red-shirt senior receiver Kamron Palmer in the middle of the end zone for the touchdown.
The fifth-year senior completed 31-of-51 passes for 346 yards, adding 77 net rushing yards to his outstanding performance. Williams rushed for 68 yards on nine carries. Binckes caught eight passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Red-shirt sophomore wideout Shane Hubbard chipped in with six receptions for 76 yards while Palmer hauled in seven balls for 68 yards and a score.
Defensively, Brunetti racked up a game-high 13 tackles, two of which came for a loss, and forced a fumble. “Trusting the game plan and trusting Coach Collins was the key to winning this game. Film also plays a big part of our success and it helps keep us one step ahead,” said Brunetti.
Senior defensive back Roger Hamilton had 11 tackles, one forced fumble and a pass deflection. Red-shirt junior linebacker Brandon Cheney recorded nine stops. Junior defensive back Jhaleel Oswald made seven tackles, while coming up with an interception and breaking up three passes.
“To keep winning, we need to stop giving up the big play and be more consistent on special teams coverage,” said Collins. “We need to continue to mature, deal with success and make sure we don’t become too complacent and stay hungry. I’m also very proud of how well we’ve dealt with adversity.” He continued, “To keep winning, we need to stop giving up the big play and be more consistent on special teams coverage.”
Head Coach Bryan Collins and the Pioneers return to action next Saturday, Oct. 25th when they square off against NE-10 foe American International in the third and final game of their home stand in a battle for first place atop the league standings. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.