Kearns, Jr. rushed for a pair of touchdowns on Saturday. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Kearns, Jr. scores two second-half touchdowns, but Skyhawks comeback comes up short
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (November 3, 2018) – American International College scored 27 points in the second quarter on its way to a 34-19 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Ronald J. Abdow Field this afternoon.
Freshman Prince Olubakinde completed 20-of-33 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while rushing for a third, to lead the American International offense, which finished with 360 total yards. The Yellow Jackets broke the game open by outscoring Stonehill 27-0 in the second quarter after a scoreless opening frame, scoring two plays after a Stonehill turnover on downs at its own 44 and then recovering a blocked punt in the end zone for another score.
Senior Lennox Green, Jr. caught seven passes for 131 yards and both of Olubakinde's touchdowns for AIC. Sophomore Samad Davila added 20 carries for 66 yards on the ground for the Yellow Jackets.
Sophomore Jaysen Thompsen led the AIC defense with a game-high 17 tackles (nine solo), including 1.5 tackles for a loss of three yards and two pass breakups. Junior Cyriacus Ibezim added 14 stops (nine solo), a forced fumble and breakup. Sophomore Isiah Tolbert and freshman Rady Rojas-Portilla each chipped in with blocked kicks.
Ejiofor had nine tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sacks. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Junior Brian Kearns, Jr. paced the Stonehill offense with 20 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns. The two rushing touchdowns give him a team-high ten for the season and 20 for his career – both of which are just two shy of the program's single-season and career records, respectively, while his 860 rushing yards this season rank seventh in program history and his 24 career total touchdowns rank fourth all-time.
Junior Andrew Jamiel added a season-high 11 receptions for 78 yards, moving past receivers coach John Gomes '13 for second all-time in program history with 2,498 career receiving yards. Classmate Kyle Smith completed a career-high 24-of-49 passes for 139 yards and a score.
Senior John Ejiofor led the Stonehill defense with nine tackles (six solo), including 2.0 tackles for a loss of seven yards and 1.0 sacks for a loss of five. Senior Vandy Hall added five solo tackles, including two for a loss of four, while classmate Jerel Archer chipped in with five solo tackles and an interception.
AIC opened the scoring 2:10 into the second quarter when freshman Gianni Romeo drilled a 27-yard field goal after the Stonehill defense stiffened deep in its own territory at the end of an 11-play, 73-yard drive. The Yellow Jackets followed with three touchdowns in a three and a half minute span. Green, Jr. caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Olubakinde seven plays after a 14-yard Stonehill punt gave AIC the ball near midfield.
Jamiel had a season-high 11 receptions for 78 yards. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Olubakinde stretched the AIC lead to 17-0 with a one-yard keeper that was set up by a 42-yard pass to Green, Jr., two plays after the Skyhawks turned the ball over on downs at their own 43. The Yellow Jackets lead grew to 24 points when freshman Jonas Espinal recovered a punt blocked by Rojas-Portilla in the end zone, and then Romeo rounded out the first half scoring with a 32-yard field goal after the Yellow Jackets were set up with great field position at the Stonehill ten after a negative yardage punt.
Stonehill got on the scoreboard six minutes into the second half after the teams traded turnovers, getting the ball on the AIC 32 after senior Jack Kelly recovered a fumble. Kearns, Jr. scored his first touchdown of the second half three plays later with a one-yard push after gaining 27 yards on first down. AIC, however, answered the score on its next possession, as Olubakinde connected with Green, Jr. for a second time from 18 yards out with 5:17 remaining in the third.
Stonehill would pull back within two scores in the fourth quarter, starting when Smith found senior DJ Haskins for a 16-yard touchdown with 3:42 to play in the third. The Skyhawks were back within 34-19 after Kearns, Jr.'s second touchdown of the afternoon from a yard out with 13:20 still to play.
However, that was as close as Stonehill would get, as the Skyhawks were unable to score on fourth and goal from the four after recovering an AIC fumbled punt return, and then struck out on fourth and five at midfield on their final possession of the game.
Stonehill (1-8, 1-7 NE10) closes out its season next Saturday, November 10, when it hosts Assumption College for Senior Night at W.B. Mason Stadium at 6 p.m. AIC (1-7, 1-7 NE10) hosts Bentley University on Saturday at noon.
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