Pioneers Hang on For Wild Victory
When Dileel Bartley (Rochester/Edison) raced in from 62-yards out with 10:43 remaining in the game to give Alfred State a 35-13 lead it looked like the Pioneers would ease to their third victory of the season. Erie CC had different plans and made a furious comeback to cut it to 35-34 but the Kats missed the game tying extra point and missed a field goal in the final seconds.
Trailing 35-13, Connor Simmons paced the Kats comeback. He rushed in from 5-yards out with 9:24 remaining (Simmons scored a two-point conversion) to make it 35-21. After a Pioneer fumble, Simmons found Ben Koch on a 6-yard pass with 7:40 remaining to make it a one possession game.
With 18 seconds left Simmons found Tahj Dennis on a 4th and 5 from the Alfred 10 with a 10-yard touchdown pass to bring the Kats to within one, 35-34. Following the play Erie was charged with two personal fouls moving the ball back to the 33 yard and forcing a 50-yard extra point attempt. The attempt had the distance but went wide.
On the ensuing kickoff, Erie recovered the onside kick and was able to set up for a 49-yard field goal on the game's final play but the kick once again sailed wide.
The Pioneers marched down the field on their first possession to grab the lead. Gregory Hampton (Uniondale) connected with Devin Simmons (Elmira Free) on a 18-yard pass just 1:28 into the game to cap a 41-yard drive.
Hampton made it 13-0 with 14:05 remaining the 1st half when Bartley came down with a deflected pass and raced in 38-yards for the score.
Erie got on the board with 43 seconds remaining in the half when Shannon Hightower caught a 5-yard pass from Simmons.
Bartley caught his second touchdown pass from Hampton (40-yards) on the Pioneers first drive of the 2nd half. Keegan Phalen (East Aurora) made it 28-7 with 3:00 left in the 3rd when he interecepted a pass and returned it eight yards for a score.
Simmons raced in from 20 yards out with 13:58 remaining in the game to make it 28-13 before Bartley went on around the corner three minutes later and rushed 62-yards to make it 35-13.
Hampton finished 9 for 24 for 162 yards and three scores while Bartley had three catches for 81 yards (2 scores) and 12 carries for 45 yards (1 score).
Simmons finished 23 for 54 for 274 yards and three scores and had 35 yards rushin (11 carries) and two scores). Marcus Carter caught four passes for 62 yards and Dennis caught four passes for 60 yards (1 score).
Phalen was key for the Pioneer defense. He finished with nine tackles and two interceptions. John Garbowski (Lakeland) had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery while Rory Spain (Tully) had 11 tackles and an interception. Nick DePofi (Union Endicott) chipped in nine tackles and a sack while David Howell (Greece Athena) and Russel Yerger-Moe (Iroquois) each picked up a sack. Derek Liner (Unatego) picked off a pass.
Brandon Cannon led ECC with nine tackles and a fumble recovery while Brent Fox had eight tackles and two sacks.
The Pioneers finished with 246 total yards while the Kats had 337. Erie was penalized 17 times for 197 yards while Alfred was hit with 11 penalties for 127 yards.
The contest was the 17th and most likely the last between the two long time rivals.
Alfred State has next weekend off before hosting Hudson Valley CC on November 2.