Football Defeated by Liberty League Unbeaten St. Lawrence 20-7

Brandon Eccher

Worcester, MA --- Evan Lapice (Freeport, NY) and James Holley-Grisham (Rochester, NY) each scored a touchdown in the first half as St. Lawrence defeated host WPI, 20-7, in a Liberty League football matchup on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. 

The Saints, who improve to 7-1 on the season and 5-0 in Liberty League action, extends its winning streak to six games while the Engineers slip to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play. 

WPI opened the game with a 10-play, 38-yard drive that chewed up nearly five minutes; however, the Engineers were forced to punt the ball away. Following a three-and-out by St. Lawrence, Lapice returned an interception 80 yards on the ensuing WPI drive to put the Saints on the scoreboard with 6:25 left in the frame. Toward the end of the half, Holley-Grisham returned a punt 52 yards for a score but the Saints missed the point after attempt. On the next possession, Holley-Grisham picked off the Engineers only to have Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA), one of the reigning Liberty League Defensive Performers of the Week, intercept the Saints on the next play. Lapice then collected his second interception of the half before he Saints went into the locker room with a 13-0 advantage. 

On the first drive of the second half, Christopher Shannon (New Fairfield, CT) capped a 75-yard, seven play drive with an 11-yard touchdown reception. With 9:48 to play, Dan Eckler(Stoughton, MA) connected with Liam Koenen (Hingham, MA) on a 3-yard touchdown catch following a Jason Lamb (Plymouth, MA) blocked punt to put the Engineers on the board. On its next position, WPI went for it on 4th-and-goal from the two but the pass was broken up byJayson Leigh (Poughquaj, NY) with 3:26 to play. 

Eckler was 21-for-37 with 217 yards in the air and a passing touchdown. Brandon Eccher (Franklin, MA) hauled in a career-high 150-yards on 13 catches while Trey Pierce (Charleston, SC) had 26 yards rushing. Murtagh led all tacklers with 10 and Jonathan Arnone (Clinton, MA) followed with eight. Vinny Tavernelli (Plymouth, MA) out-punted his opponent for the 26th time in 28 career games. 

Mike Lefflbine (Greenwich, CT) was 6-for-12 with 51 yards and a passing score. Jake Gnieser(Dix Hills, NY) led all rushers with 44 yards and Maurice Irby (Freeport, NY) collected 43 yards.Mitch Gallagher (Malone, NY) added 39 yards on three catches. Alec Dietsch (Clarence, NY) paced the Saints with nine stops, including three for loss, as Charlie Maistrellis (Peabody, MA) and William Garrity (Middletown, CT) added eight apiece. 

The Engineers held a 259-172 yard bulge in total offense, including a 217-51 advantage in passing yards, while the Saints held a 121-42 margin in rushing yards. WPI also led in first downs (15-8) and time of possession (32:17-27:43) but lost the turnover battle 4-1. The Crimson and Gray were 2-for-3 on fourth down conversions and 1-for-2 in red zone chances while the Saints went 1-for-1 inside the 20. 

Next Saturday WPI heads to Rochester for a noon matchup while St. Lawrence hosts fellow Liberty League unbeaten Hobart at 1pm in a game that will determine the conference's AQ.