The Alfred State football team trailed by 23 points, 30-7, with just under six minutes left in the 3rd quarter before they put together a furious rally that fell just short as the team fell 36-34 at Anna Maria on Saturday afternoon.
After a goal line stand, Emmanuel Leake connected with Trai Weaver on a 99-yard touchdown pass to give the AMCATS a 30-7 lead with 5:44 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Pioneers would start their rally on their next possession when Hunter Evingham (Bolivar Richburg) connected with Willerm Greffin (Brooklyn/South Shore) on a 25-yard scoring play. Less than two minutes later Kiegan Brown (Cortland) scored from eight yards out to cut the lead to 30-20.
Leake and Weaver connected on their second long touchdown play (72-yards) to bump up the Anna Maria lead to 36-20 with 10:26 remaining in the game. The Pioneers stalled after 14-play drive but they got the ball right back three plays later when Jamal Little (Brooklyn/Thomas Jefferson) interecepted a pass and returned it to the AMCAT 32. Three plays later, Brown rushed in from 10-yards out for his third rushing score of the day. The two point attempt was good when Evingham connected with Reice Woodward (Oakfield Alabama) to make it 36-28.
Zack Goodwin (Poughkeepsie/F.D. Roosevelt) recovered his own on-side kick to give the Pioneers hope to complete the comeback. Eight plays later, Evingham connected with Jalen Long (Rochester/Bishop Kearney) on a 25-yard scoring pass to make it 36-34. Anna Maria made a defensive stand on the two-point conversion and then recovered the on-side kick to hold on for the victory.
The AMCATS got on the board first when Christian Montero scored on a three-yard run. Brown answered right back 1:12 later when he dashed in from 56-yards out to tie it 7-7 with 7:33 left in the opening quarter. Marcelino Da Veiga kicked a 33-yard field in the closing seconds of the quarter to give Anna Maria back the lead.
Darrin Cooper returned a blocked punt 23-yards for a score for the lone points of the 2nd quarter and Arondae Washington made it 23-7 early in the 3rd quarter when he rushed in from five-yards out.
Brown had a career day finishing with 235 yards and three scores on 36 carries. Evingham was 18 for 34 for 265 yards with Woodward tallying 93 yards on six catches and Long making four catches for 78 yards.
Leake was 5 for 11 for 219 yards and two scores. 210 of the team's 283 passing yards went to Weaver who caught four passes, two for touchdowns. Leake also led the AMCATS with 23 yards rushing on seven carries.
Jude Sampson led Anna Maria with 11 tackles and a sack. Emmanuel Hans and Brian McLean both were credited with three sacks each.
The Pioneers outgained the AMCATS 518 to 320 (95 offensive plays to 41) and had the ball for 41:02 of the contest. The team was 10 for 22 on 3rd down but was slowed down by 12 penalties for 138 yards.
The blue & gold are back home again next Saturday when they host Mount Ida at 1 p.m.