Last-Second Field Goal Dooms Football at Union

Nick Chambers

Schenectady, NY --- Senior kicker Adam Henry (Hightstown, NJ) made a 22 yard field goal as time expired in regulation to lift Union to a 34-31 football victory over WPI at Frank Bailey Field Saturday. The Dutchmen are now 2-0 in the league and 2-3 overall while the Engineers fell to 1-1 in league play and 2-3 overall.
With 1:19 remaining in the fourth quarter Union's Bill Meile (Ramsey, NJ) recovered a fumble at the WPI 44 yard line. Five plays later, Henry nailed his second field goal of the day to give Union the victory.
Justin Gallo (Brunswick, NY), ranked #8 in the nation in Division III receiving yards, had 234 yards and three touchdowns for the Dutchmen, while quarterback Drew Connolly (Foxboro, MA) was 11 for 19 for 301 yards. The hooked up for touchdown strikes of 33, 28 and 86 yards on the day, and the 86 yarder was a career best for the Connolly-Gallo combination. Gallo now has 471 yards in the last two games, both victories. Freshman T.J. Franzese (Allendale, NJ ) had 20 carries for 106 yards, his first career 100 yard rushing game for Union.
Ernie Mello (Wilmington, MA) rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns, and also recovered a blocked punt in the Union endzone for the first score of the day. Johny Antonopoulos (Cambridge, MA) was 11 for 20 for 154 yards.
Each defense posted four sacks on the day. Noah Joseph (Chevy Chase, MD) and Jeff DeVico (Greenwich, CT) had 12 stops each for Union and Meile recovered two fumbles, while Peter Gill (Franklin, MA) had 10 tackles for WPI. Nick Chambers (Braintree, MA) posted two sacks for the Engineers. Union had 401 yards in offense for the day and WPI finished with 291.
WPI took a 7-0 lead with 8:02 left in the first quarter. William Alves (West Warwick, RI) blocked a punt and Mello recovered it and scored in the Union endzone. The Dutchmen made it 7-3 five plays after the ensuing kickoff when Henry made a season best 38 yarder with 5:38 left and it remained 7-3 after one quarter.
Mello scampered in from one yard out just 2:37 into the second quarter. It capped an eight play, 55 yard drive that began late in the first and consumed 3:56.  Back came Union with a four play, 51 yard drive to pull to within four again at 14-10 as Connolly found Gallo for a 33 yard score on a third down play. WPI upped the lead to 17-10 with a 33 yard field goal by Cody Beckel (Jupiter, FL) with 1:29 remaining in the first half and took that lead into the locker room.
Gallo caught a 28 yard score from Connolly to tie it at 17-17 with 8:39 left to play in the third quarter. This four play, 76 yard drive took just 1:46. WPI's Kevin White (Worcester, MA) intercepted a pass at the Union 28 and brought it back to the Union 9 with 4:44 left. But on a fourth and goal on this drive, with 2:54 left in the third, Richard Sixto, Jr. (Miami, FL) intercepted an Antonopoulos pass at the Union 4-yard line with 2:54 left to stifle the scoring opportunity. Three plays later, Connolly found Gallo open on the left side and he out raced two defenders for the 86 yard score and Union had its first lead of the day at 24-17 with 1:46 on the third quarter clock.
Meile had his first fumble recovery of the day at the WPI 17 with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, and Union converted that turnover into points with a one yard run by Connolly on a five play, 17 yard drive 49 seconds in the fourth stanza. It was 31-17 Union. But the Engineers tied it in the fourth. Antonopoulos rushed in from one yard out and with 11:27 left after a six play, 52 yard drive. Then it was 31-31 when Mello ran in from two yards with 5:19 remaining after a nine play, 85 yard drive that took just over four minutes.
After the WPI defense forced a four-and-out for Union, the Engineers took over from their own 21 with 2:42 left. Five plays later, on a first and 10 at the WPI 44, Meile recovered the fumble at that yard line with 1:19 left. Union ran four plays and used two time outs and got it to the six, running the clock down to three seconds before Henry booted the game winner.
Remarkably, Union has won 15 of the last 16 meetings with WPI, and Head Coach John Audino has a career record of 12-1 against the Engineers.
Union is home again next Saturday, October 8, to host 3-0 Hobart at 1pm. The Statesmen are 1-0 in Liberty League play. WPI hosts Merchant Marine at 4pm Saturday.

Release courtesy Union Sports Information