Alumni game finds Hawks face-to-face with loss in triple-overtime



Offensive Line Coach Taylor Lucas speaks with his players during Saturday’s game.

Devin Bergeron, Sports Editor

In what was surely an instant classic, Saint Anselm suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Stonehill in a 57-54 triple-overtime thriller. With both teams ready to kick their seasons off with a bang, they put on record-breaking performances in front of a packed Grappone Stadium on Alumni Day.

After an utterly forgettable 1-9 2017 season for the Hawks, the team looked to flip the page and come out strong in the first week of 2018. Instead, they ran straight into the boot of the Skyhawks. After electing to receive, the team quickly went three and out to start the game and was forced to punt. That punt would be blocked and picked up by Stonehill for a 32-yard scoop and score, and just 28 seconds into the 2018 season, they were down a touchdown. With six and a half minutes left in the first, Stonehill would connect again on a 38-yard touchdown pass from quarterback James Lam and through one quarter of play, the Hawks trailed 14-0.

With memories of last year’s 0-6 start certainly still fresh in their minds, however, that is where the switch flipped Saint A’s. First and ten at Stonehill’s 15 to open the second quarter, junior tight end Malik Allen made a nice diving grab in the end zone on a pass from senior quarterback Eric Fairweather to get their team on the board. Fairweather struck again a few minutes later in the form of a 25-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Justin Williams. After a successful two-point conversion, things were knotted up at 14.

Stonehill’s next drive was cut short when a forced fumble from senior linebacker Eric Akinlosotu was picked up by sophomore defensive back Ryan Sullivan to give Saint A’s the ball in a 14-14 game. They responded by driving down to their opponent’s 13, where a 30-yard field goal from senior kicker Daniel Parisi gave the Hawks the 17-14 edge.

Stonehill was not willing to keel over that easy though, and they answered with a touchdown the following drive to take back their lead 21-17. With 1:42 left in the half, however, Fairweather completed a ten-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Kyle Hill, to put Saint A’s ahead 24-21 heading into the locker rooms.

Fairweather was back at it again in the second half, dropping home a 55-yard bomb to freshmen wide receiver Bobby Long midway through the third quarter to make it a two-score game 31-21. The Hawks gave it right back though on a Skyhawks rushing touchdown, followed by a field goal their next drive to tie it up 31-31 through three quarters.

After the Skyhawks scored their first drive of the final quarter, the Hawks echoed them right back with a 22-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Franklin Holgate. Their next drive Fairweather ran it in himself for a 19-yard touchdown run, and with just under four minutes left on the clock, they led 45-38. As was the nature of the game though, Stonehill was not going down without a fight. In their next drive, they converted on three separate third downs and one fourth down, and after a two-yard rushing touchdown kicked the game-tying extra point.

The Hawks narrowly avoided disaster after fumbling the ensuing kickoff, which set up a 40-yard field goal shot for Stonehill with fifteen seconds left. The kick missed wide left and the game was headed to overtime.

Stonehill deferred the kickoff which set up Saint A’s to march down to the Skyhawks’ eight-yard line. Once there, however, they failed to punch it in and were forced to settle for the three points and give the ball back to Stonehill, only up a field goal. Stonehill put home their next field goal to make things even again, at 48-48. They converted another field goal their next drive and suddenly Saint Anselm found themselves on the fourth down, needing a miraculous 45-yard field goal from Parisi to tie it. Not only did he nail it, but he put through a 42 yarder the team’s next drive to put his team ahead 54-51 in triple-overtime. Unfortunately, the Cinderella story ended there for the Hawks, as Stonehill punched in a three-yard touchdown their impending drive to send them home with the dramatic 57-54 victory.

For their efforts, the Hawks still came away from the loss with a few records in tow. The 54 points posted by Saint A’s were still good for the third most all-time against any opponent. Fairweather threw for 307 yards and a career-high five touchdowns, while Parisi’s five field goals were the most ever in program history. The team also recorded 128 tackles, toppling the team’s previous record of 116.

The loss has to be a hard pill to swallow for the team, especially after the offense put on the show they did. Carding a 0-1 record, the team looks to avoid another lost season when they travel to Assumption on Friday at 7 p.m.