The Saints played their first home game Saturday after a very successful 2016 season, but unfortunately fell short against the Ithaca Bombers. Last season ended with the Saints tying Hobart for the conference title, but losing the tiebreaker and being excluded from the playoffs. While many stars from last year’s team graduated, talented players from last season are returning to the team this year and will continue their effort toward making the playoffs.
Key returning offensive players include senior quarter back, Sean Richardson, junior wide receiver, Travis Marnell, senior wide receiver, Vincenzo Ferraro, and junior running back, Rodrick Payne. On the defense, St. Lawrence returns senior linebackers, Skyler Williamson and Will Garrity, senior defensive lineman, Ryan Byrne, and junior defensive back, Dan Jeffery, among others. Experience with the team has already benefited players this year, as Richardson threw for 20 completions on Saturday; Marnell caught an impressive 15-yard touchdown pass from Richardson; and Payne played a key role in moving the ball up the field and getting into scoring position.
Scoring plays during Saturday’s game began early. In the first 44 seconds of the game, Ithaca scored on a 68-yard touchdown catch and run by Will Glandey, who remained a threat to the Saints throughout the game. Fortunately, the Saints responded with a 82-yard drive, Richardson throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to John Maye, bringing the score to 7-6. However, the kick for the extra point strayed from the goal posts allowing the Bombers to maintain their lead by one point. The first quarter ended with Ithaca scoring another touchdown thrown by their quarterback, Wahid Nabi, giving the Bombers some security, bringing the score to 14-6.
The next scoring play came in the third quarter when the Bombers kicked a 34-yard field goal, following an impressive tackle by Jefferies to break up an 80-yard completion and keep Ithaca out of the end zone. The Saints finished the game strong with Garrity at the head of the defense with ten tackles and an interception, followed closely by Williamson, who had seven tackles. Another interception was added to the mix by defensive back, Brendan Donahoe. Richardson’s 15-yard pass to Marnell brought the final score to 24-13. Richardson reflected on Saturday’s game and shared the Saints’ shift in focus as they prepare for their upcoming away game at Western New England University on September 30th. He said, “Obviously, we are disappointed with the loss at home, but we are now focusing our energy on preparing for Western New England. We have to take the bye week and use it to our advantage and fix the areas we had some problems in.” The Saints struggled with covering the run, giving up 92 rushing yards. Their defense also gave up 357 passing yards, so my prediction is that the Saints will continue to focus on improving their defense during their bye week before they travel to Western New England.
John Maye revealed to reporters that “our team was 100% prepared and focused for Ithaca. Unfortunately, we fell short of our goal, but I’m very proud of the way our team battled throughout the game. Preparation is no different for Western New England. Everyone is locked in and ready to put in a solid two weeks of work.”
Richardson, along with many of his teammates, looks as though he has the potential to be inducted into the Saint’s Hall of Fame at some point in the future. Athletes and teams, who played with the same drive that the Saints played with on Saturday, were inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony at halftime. As the football team left the field to regroup in the locker room, legendary Laurentian athletes entered the field.
Seven individuals and one team were inducted at the halftime ceremony. These athletes include Kathy Speno ’86, women’s basketball, Mike Aubel ’92, football and baseball, Burke Murphy ’96, men’s hockey, Greg Acunto ’98, men’s basketball, Allison Karkut Wikander ’00, riding team, Nicola Reid ’03, field hockey, and Meghan Clement Anderson ’06, women’s golf and lacrosse. The women’s hockey team from 2000-01 was also inducted because they made history by earning a spot in the frozen four held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 20001.
As each Laurentian’s name was called, they stepped forward and gave a wave to the homecoming crowd. The St. Lawrence dance team concluded the halftime ceremony by taking the field and performing for the crowd. Although the Saints struggled for a win on Saturday, their hard-work and dedication was there along with support from current classmates and alumni. The chemistry of the team remains from last year and will drive them toward a victory at Western New England in two weeks!