Skyhawks Stunned By Iona, 35-34 In Overtime


David Pringle (West Haven, Conn.) had a career-high 10 catches for 101 yards in the Skyhawks' 35-34 overtime loss at Iona.


Skyhawks Stunned By Iona, 35-34 In Overtime


New Rochelle, N.Y. - In a game that featured nearly 900 yards of total offense, 79 pass attempts and six passing touchdowns, host Iona rallied from a 14-0 first quarter deficit to knock off visiting Stonehill, 35-34 in overtime, at Mazella Field on Saturday afternoon in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The Skyhawks scored on their opening possession of overtime when senior Jeff Payne (West Haven, Conn.) scored from three yards out to give Stonehill a 34-28 lead. Brendan Gorey (West Islip, N.Y.), however, missed the extra point wide right setting up the Gaels' winning score.

On third down on their first overtime possession, Iona signal caller Nick Rosetti found wideout Jeffery Miller for a 22-yard score that evened the game at 34-34. Robert Woods' extra point try was the difference as the Gaels improved to 4-0 all-time against the Skyhawks.

The win for Iona marked the second straight week in which they have rallied from behind to defeat a Northeast-10 opponent. Last week they scored 24 fourth quarter points to stun Pace, 30-26.

Stonehill, which drops to 1-4 on the season, started out strong, racing out to a 14-0 lead courtesy of some big plays in the passing game. On the initial drive of the game, Cruz Parsons (Signal Hill, Calif.) connected with sophomore Eddie Vachon (Newton, Mass.) for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Skyhawks an early 7-0 edge.

After the Purple and White defense forced a three and out, the offense faced a third and 14 from the Iona 17. Parsons then connected with junior Cory Wright (Manchester, N.H.) for 68 yards. Facing another third down, this time from the Iona 12, Parsons found tight end Jon Kaloyanides (Cranston, R.I.) for a score, upping the Skyhawk advantage to 14-0.

Iona responded behind Rosetti, who used both his arm and his legs to get the game tied at halftime. First he hooked up with Nick Groth from ten yards out at the end of the first quarter. Then using the hurry-up offense, he hit Tim Mastrino on a 40-yard play that left the game tied at 14.

Stonehill drove down the field right before the half, with Parsons finding open receivers and scrambling effectively, but Gorey's career-long attempt of 40 yards was wide right as time wound down.

Midway through the third following an eight yard punt by Woods, Stonehill marched deep into Gael territory but settled for a 39 yard field goal from Gorey to regain the lead at 17-14.

Another three and out forced by the Skyhawk defense and an excellent punt return by Vachon set up the Stonehill offense in Iona territory. The offense eventually reached the Gael 15 yard line before settling for another field goal try. This one, however, was blocked by Gerald Ford and returned 80 yards for a score by Desmond Hinds, handing Iona its first lead of the game at 21-17 late in the third quarter.

A pair of unsportsmanlike penalties on the Gaels and a good kickoff return by Vachon gave the Skyhawks excellent field position on their next drive. After stalling out inside the 10, Gorey booted his second field goal of the contest, bringing Stonehill to within one at 21-20.

A missed field goal by Woods gave Stonehill the ball at their own 20 and Parsons and the offense embarked on nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 12-yard score from Payne. Along the way, Parsons made key completions to freshman Jordan Smith (Northfield, N.H.), David Pringle (West Haven, Conn.) and Wright to keep the chains moving. Payne gave the visitors a 28-21 lead when he converted the two point conversion from a yard out.

Rosetti and the Gaels answered back in just 3:09, when he linked up with David Nelson for an 11-yard score, knotting the game at 28-28.

Stonehill got the ball back with a little more than two minutes left, but Parsons' pass was intercepted up the left sideline by Hinds at the Iona 30.

The Gaels gave the ball right back, however, as freshman Stephan Neville (Foxborough, Mass.) stepped in front of a Rosetti pass with 50 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.

The Skyhawks racked up a season-high 460 yards of total offense led by Parsons' 312 yards through the air and 37 on the ground.

The 300 yard passing day marks the first time a Stonehill signal caller has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game since John Darak threw for 314 yards in a 49-24 loss to Bentley on November 15, 1997.

Pringle was the beneficiary of Parsons' pass distribution, hauling in 10 passes for 101 yards, marking the second straight contest in which he has topped the 100-yard mark in receiving yards.

The Skyhawks had an effective day on the ground with Payne (68 yards, two touchdowns), Vachon (42 yards) and Parsons (37 yards) all doing their share.

Greg Sanzari (Centerport, N.Y.) led the way defensively for Stonehill with 11 tackles, while Kevin Bonnett (Manchester, N.H.) chipped in with 10 stops. George Whetstone (Norwood, Mass.) had eight tackles, two for loss and Stonehill's only sack of the day.

For the Gaels, Rosetti was 26-of-39 for 253 yards and four touchdowns and added 66 yards on the ground. All four of his touchdown passes went to four different receivers. Jacob French and Andrew Lipski each tied for game-high honors with 14 tackles.

The extra session marked the first time Stonehill has played an overtime game since September 14, 2002, when they lost 20-14 to Pace.

Stonehill will return to action next Saturday when they wrap up their three-game road stretch with a meeting with Conference-leading American International.