Sep 20, 2014 7:19 PM
Saint Anselm rallies, improves to 3-0
MANCHESTER - Sophomore quarterback Yianni Gavalas completed 37 of 49 passes for 386 and two touchdowns, while running for two more scores, as the Saint Anselm College football team rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to foil Bentley University, 38-34, in its home opener Saturday at Grappone Stadium.
The Hawks improve to 3-0 (2-0 Northeast-10) for just the second time ever and first time since 2004 by beating Bentley for the first time in 15 tries. The Falcons drop to 1-2, 0-2 NE-10.
"Playing a team that's historically one of the better teams in the league year-in and year-out, coming off two back-to-back wins prior that were nail-biters and coming back from being down 10 in the fourth quarter against a quality team just continues to build confidence," Saint Anselm coach Patrick Murphy said.
Gavalas spread the ball around to five receivers, including senior wide receiver Justin Bernard and Brandon Gomes, who both had big games. Bernard caught 12 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Gomes made seven catches for 112 yards and a score. Junior running back Elad Covaliu, who pulled in four passes for 12 yards, turned in his best game in a Saint Anselm uniform thus far as he ran 20 times for 95 yards (4.8 avg) and a touchdown.
"We have a long way to go - we have eight games left, minimum," Murphy said. "There's a lot of football to be played. We're 1-0 this week and that's the thing we're preaching to the guys - it doesn't matter what the record is; none of the points carry over. We just have to play hard, smart, fast and physical football each week."
Trailing 34-24 with under 10 minutes to go in the game, the Hawks responded by marching 86 yards in 11 plays to pull within a field goal as Gavalas ran it in from 3 yards out before junior kicker Shane Grayson tacked on the extra point that made it 34-31 with 7:06 remaining.
Following a punt, the Hawks took over at their own 48-yard line with 4:46 to go and picked up one first down until the drive seemed to fizzle out as the offense faced a third-and-10 from the Bentley 40. As they have numerous times through the first three weeks of the season, however, the Hawks came through as Gavalas heaved the ball down the left sideline for Gomes, who snatched the ball out of the air for a 33-yard gain that set up a first-and-goal from the 7. Covaliu ran three times, including for 3 yards on the final rush that put the Hawks in the end zone for the fourth time in five possessions to take a 38-34 lead after the Grayson PAT with 2:33 on the clock.
Bentley marched down to the Saint Anselm 26-yard line, but a 5-yard penalty stalled the drive as quarterback Dan Guadagnoli's next three passes fell incomplete and the Hawks were able to take a knee to run out the final 39 seconds.
Junior defensive back Carroll Bailey came up big down the stretch as he tallied 10 tackles (nine solo) and three pass break-ups. Senior lineback Zach Hayes also registered 10 tackles for the Hawks, including 0.5 for a loss.
Senior wide receiver Nick Marcella made seven catches for 78 yards, while fellow senior wide receiver Ahkeen Williams reeled in seven passes for 67 yards. The offense put up a season-best 499 yards of total offense, while the defense held Bentley to a season-low 346.