Furious Comback Falls Short
Trailing 23-14 with 2:51 remaining, Alfred State rallied to within 23-21 and had the ball in the final minute but could not capitalize and fell to Erie CC in another thrilling edition of the annual battle between Western New York rivals.
Erie looked to have the game locked up with just under three minutes left in the game when Rory Spain (Tully) recovered a fumble and gave the Pioneers life. Five plays later Greg Hampton (Uniondale) found Devin Simmons (Elmira Free) for a 21-yard scoring play. Simmons tip-toed down the sideline for the last 10 yards.
After an on-side kick failed, ASC held the Kats on their next possession and forced a punt. After picking up one first down, Pierre Blake ended the Pioneers hopes when he picked off an overthrown ball with 34 seconds remaining.
The interception was the fifth take-a-way for the Kats on the night. Ten of the Kats points on the came after turnovers.
Brice Smith got ECC on the board with 1:46 left in the 1st quarter when he dove in from one yard out.
ASC answered back with 7:33 left in the 1st half when Hampton connected with Devin Simmons on a perfectly executed fake field goal attempt. The pass play covered three-yards.
Erie wasted no time getting back the lead as they drove down the field 85-yards on their next possession to grab back the lead. Nate Goldsmith capped the drive with a two yard run. The PAT attempt was missed.
After a ASC fumble on their first possession of the 2nd half, Erie put points on the board and grabbed a two-possession lead on a 41-yard field goal by Nate Benoit.
Early in the 4th quarter, Hampton connected with Tavon Moore (Syracuse/Bishop Grimes) on a 19-yard scoring strike to cut it to 16-14.
Joe Daddario connected on a 10-yard scoring pass to Deonta Winston on the Kats next drive to re-gain the nine point lead, 23-14.
Hampton finished the night 18 for 38 for 268 yards and three scores. Simmons caught 11 passes for 127 yards and two scores while Moore had two catches for 75 yards. ASC was held to just 48 rushing yards on the day.
Daddario was 14 for 22 for 172 yards and a score. Zak Echols was his favorite target, finishing with six caches for 112 yards. Winston led the rushing attack with 69 yards. ECC finished with 168 total rushing yards.
Keegan Phalen (East Aurora) and David Howell (Rochester/Greece Athena) both had 11 tackles while Spain chipped in 10. Spain and Robert Howard (Syracuse/Nottingham) each recorded a sack while Brett Harrington (Rochester/Edison) picked off a Kat pass in the end zone early in the contest.
The last last four meetings between Alfred State and Erie CC have been settled by less than six points.
ASC (1-1) returns to Pioneer Stadium next Saturday for a 4 p.m. homecoming kickoff versus Stevens Tech (PA). ECC (1-2) travels to Nassau CC next weekend.