Pioneers explosive second quarter proves too much for Bison football

Kaelyn Long, Senior Writer

On Sept. 7, the Bison football team competed against Sacred Heart University, suffering a 30-10 loss. Wide receiver Dominic Lyles ’22 was a force to be reckoned with against the Pioneers, catching five passes for 98 yards and a 50-yard touchdown. His touchdown catch marked the Bison’s first offensive touchdown of the 2019 season.

Despite their best efforts, neither team scored in the first quarter, and it took until the 7:50 mark of the second quarter for the Bison to get on the board when Ethan Torres ’21 kicked a 31-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3. A minute later, the Pioneers executed an 81-yard touchdown drive, regaining their lead.

The Pioneers’ second quarter was the key factor in their win against the Bison, as they scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes to gain a 23-3 lead. From this point on, the Bison were unable to initiate enough of a counter-attack sufficient to gain the lead, coming only as close as 13 points down throughout the course of the game.

For the second week in a row, the Orange and Blue used three quarterbacks over the course of the game. John Chiarolanzio ’20 came out on top among the three as he threw 141 yards on 14-for-29 passing. Logan Bitikofer ’21 totaled 72 yards on 4-for-13 passing. Tarrin Earle ’22, who strictly played in the first half, finished with 13 yards on 3-for-6.

“We had a tough loss this past weekend. We played hard throughout the whole game but ultimately came up short,” Chiarolanzio said. “There were a few glimpses where we showed we are a very talented football team.”

At halftime, the Pioneers led in total offense (325-74) and first downs (16-6). The Bison went into halftime with two fourth-down conversions, as Chiarolanzio ran five yards to the Pioneer 17 on a 4th and 1, creating the drive that led to the Bison’s executed field goal. 

During the third quarter, after an 18-yard punt return by wide receiver Brandon Sanders ’22, Bitikofer found Lyles for a 50-yard, deep ball touchdown to make the score 23-10. With 11:11 left in the matchup, the Pioneers scored their last touchdown, leaving the final score at 30-10.

Running back Chad Freshnock ’20 led the way for the Bison in rushing yards with 42 on 18 carries, adding 38 receiving yards on four catches. Despite facing double coverage, Sanders had a strong performance, finishing second among the Bison with 48 yards on five receptions. Punter Alex Pechin ’20 also had a strong performance, averaging 48.5 yards on eight punts.

From a defensive standpoint, safety Conner Romango ’21 led in tackles for the second week in a row, finishing with nine. Linebacker Simeon Page ’21 contributed eight tackles and safety Brandon Benson ’21 contributed seven tackles.

“We are getting better every day in practice while getting accustomed to the new offensive and defensive schemes and look forward to our game this weekend against a talented Villanova team,” Chiarolanzio said.

On Sept. 14, the Bison are set to host Villanova for their home opener at 6 p.m. This weekend’s game will honor First Responders & Hero Appreciation Night and Youth Sports Night. 

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