Football picks up first win of the season

Zakee Willis, Contributing Writer

The Bison football team picked up their first win of the season on Sept. 29, toppling Holy Cross 19-16 in the team’s Patriot League opener. The Bison now hold a 1-4 overall record.

In the first quarter, Holy Cross struck first, scoring a touchdown on a seven-yard rush play that finished off an 81-yard drive. The Orange and Blue responded with two field goals from Ethan Torres ’21 in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Bison running back Jared Cooper ’22 broke the plane with a 36-yard rush to cap off a five-yard play, 60-yard drive. This helped him earn the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player of Holy Cross’ Homecoming Day Game. Receiver Brandon Sanders ’22 finished the game with six receptions for a total of 97 yards. Following the first-year’s first career touchdown, the Orange and Blue failed a two-point conversion, leaving the score at 12-7.

Hoping to build to the Bison lead, defensive end Roger Mellado ’21 came up with a fumble recovery at the 27-yard line just minutes into the fourth quarter. When the offense took the field, Quarterback Logan Bitikofer ’21 then found wide receiver Alan Butler ’19 for a 22-yard touchdown to bring the score to 19-7 following a successful extra point by Torres.

The Crusaders attempted to fight their way back into the game, scoring on a safety and a passing touchdown in the fourth quarter. This late rally proved futile, though, as the Bison held on to their 19-16 lead. In the Crusaders final drive of the game, safety Joe Lauro ’19 knocked away a pass on 4th and 10, delivering a massive hit and clinching the Bison victory.

Punter Alex Pechin ’20 displayed another strong performance, averaging 48.5 yards on six punts, two of which landed inside the 20-yard line.

Grayson Cherubino ’22 and Simeon Page ’21 led the defense, each recording 1.5 sacks for a combined loss of 27 yards. Lauro and Sam Chitty ’20 finished with a team leading 11 tackles apiece. Chitty matched his career high for tackles set at Villanova the previous week.

“I feel like our confidence really came out this week. We rallied around each other after a rough start and came together to play a really confident football game,” Sanders said. “We knew that we had to win this game to open up league play, and we did what we had to do for 60 minutes.”

The Orange and Blue will next take on Colgate on Oct. 6 at 12 p.m. at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

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