By Thomas Scavetta
Assistant Sports Editor
Trailing by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, the football team used its late-game heroics to mount an impressive comeback against East Stroudsburg University on Sept. 3, at Eller-Martin Stadium in East Stroudsburg, Pa.
In his Pioneer debut, junior quarterback Jeff Kidd paved the way for the Pioneers (1-0) in their final two possessions. Needing to score quickly, the Green and Gold moved the ball to their own 46-yard line. Kidd then tossed a 54-yard touchdown pass to red-shirt sophomore wide receiver Kyle Ward, making it a 40-35 game.
Shortly thereafter, LIU forced a three-and-out, causing a momen- tum swing as the Warriors (0-1) were forced to punt. Kidd and the offense got back to work and completed a couple of passes to set up shop at the ESU 37-yard line. He then hoisted the game-winning 37-yard touchdown pass to red-shirt junior wide receiver Shane Hubbard.
The Oregon-native looked sharp in his Pioneer debut, completing 29-of-45 passing for 381 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his three touchdowns came in the fourth quarter as he connected with Hubbard and Ward. Red-shirt junior running back Michael Williams scored the other touchdown on a 41-yard screen pass from Kidd. Senior tight end Sean Binckes finished with 76 receiving yards on seven receptions and a touchdown. Ward led the Green and Gold with 101 receiving yards.
Red-shirt freshman running back Malik Pierre was a dominant force on the ground for the Pioneers, rushing for a game-high 117 yards on 11 carries. Pierre had a 47-yard burst in the second quarter to set up a six-yard touchdown by junior running back David White, which put the guests on top 7-6.
Down 19-14 in the third quarter, Pierre had a 16-yard carry to set up shop at the ESU 11-yard line. On the following snap, red-shirt sophomore wideout James Higgins took a handoff and tossed a jump ball into the end- zone, which was hauled in by Binckes on a trick play, giving the Pioneers a 20-19 lead. Post tacked on a two-point conversion, putting them ahead
22-19. On the defensive side of the ball, red-shirt senior linebacker Brandon Cheney collected six tackles and one sack while red-shirt junior defensive back Justin Ortiz and junior defensive back Clarence Sears chipped in with seven tackles apiece. Red-shirt junior defensive back Kareem Folkes also contributed with an interception along with four stops.
Post’s defending Northeast-10 champions returned to action on Saturday, Sept. 12, in their home opener. They won a 40-31 nail-biter against Assumption College in a conference showdown at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
After jumping in front 26-25 midway through the fourth quarter, the Pioneers (2-0) recovered a fumble on the Greyhounds’ (1-1) four yard- line. All seemed to be said and done as Williams scored on the following play to give the hosts a 33-25 lead with only 1:16 remaining. However, Assumption was not done yet. Sophomore quarterback Marc Monks connected with freshman receiver Deonte Harris for a 36-yard touchdown, with just 37 ticks left on the clock, making it a 33-31 game.
Although the visitors failed the two-point conversion, they recovered the onside kick. LIU was back on their heels, but Harris put an end to all hopes of a comeback. He put the icing on the cake with an interception he took 46 yards for a touchdown. This put the Pioneers ahead for good as the Greyhounds comeback effort came up short.
There was sloppy play on both sides of the ball as each team turned the ball over three times, piling up penalties in the process. Kidd was able to salvage an impressive 11-play 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to give his team a 26-25 edge. Kidd crossed the pile-line on a quarterback draw from the 10-yard line on a 4th and 1.
He finished the day 23-of-36 for 230 yards with one touchdown pass. In addition, Kidd scrambled for 47 yards on seven attempts with one score. Ward caught six of those passes for a game-high 102 yards and a touchdown. White was impressive on the ground with 66 yards on five carries. His backfield mate, Pierre, also looked sharp with 13 carries for 60 yards. Binckes acted as a huge security blanket, as he led the team in receptions with eight for a total of 51 yards.
Harris shined again defensively as he recorded nine tackles and 2.5 sacks. The red-shirt junior also snagged a pick six and forced a fumble in the late stages of the contest. Cheney led the squad with 11 tackles while sophomore defensive lineman Kevin Petit-Frere dominated the line of scrimmage with 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Head Coach Bryan Collins and his LIU Post squad will travel to Manchester, N.H. on Saturday, Sept. 19 to take on Northeast-10 foe Saint Anselm College. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.