American International Edges Stonehill Late, 37-34

Junior John Gomes caught a school record 14 passes on Saturday for a career-high 154 yards and three touchdowns this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Vaca-Hurtado's 34-yard field goal with seven seconds to play the difference
Skyhawks get school-record performances from Gomes and Meyer

EASTON, Mass. (September 24, 2011) – American International College spoiled a pair of school-record performances from Stonehill College to claim a last second 37-34 victory in Northeast-10 Conference football action at W.B. Mason Stadium as part of Alumni Weekend festivities at the College this afternoon.

Freshman placekicker Cesar Vaca-Hurtado (Naples, Fla.) booted a 34 yard field goal with just seven seconds remaining in regulation to lift American International back from a fourth quarter deficit. Stonehill was left to rue three missed field goals on the afternoon after piling up 497 yards of total offense, with 212 rushing and 285 through the air. The Skyhawks were also hampered by 103 yards on ten penalties for the afternoon.

The loss squandered school-record performances from junior wide receiver John Gomes (Hyannis, Mass./Barnstable) and sophomore quarterback Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure). Gomes caught a school-record 14 passes for a career-best 154 yards and three touchdowns, while Meyer completed a record 30 passes on 42 attempts for 285 yards and the three scores with an interception.

Gomes, who finished with a career-best 188 all-purpose yards by adding two kickoff returns for 34 yards, broke the previous record of 12 receptions in a game set by Kevin Adamson against Sacred Heart University in 1990 and later matched by Mike Plitcha against Saint Anselm College in 2005, while the 154 receiving yards is the fifth-highest single game total in W.B. Mason Stadium history. Meyer broke the previous record of 25 completions set by Cruz Parsons in 2005 against Saint Anselm and then matched by senior Tim Morrison (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) at Merrimack College in 2009, while also posting the fourth highest passing yardage total in W.B. Mason Stadium history.

Sophomore Logan Meyer completed a school-record 30 of 42 passes for 285 yards and the three scores. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Freshman quarterback Kevin Arduino (Cornwall, N.Y.) accounted for 233 of American International's 387 yards of total offense as he completed 16-of-33 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, while also carrying the ball 11 times for 71 yards (6.5/carry) and two scores. Sophomore running back Terrell Williams (Hempstead, N.Y.) finished with 120 all-purpose yards for the Yellow Jackets as he posted 21 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while adding two catches for five yards.

Junior Markell Rice (New Rochelle, N.Y.) led the AIC defense with a game-high 14 tackles (12 solo), including 1.0 for a loss of a yard. Freshman Carron McCluney (Hillside, N.J.) added ten stops (nine solo), while sophomore Joel Bowen (Brooklyn, N.Y.) contributed nine tackles (seven solo), including 2.5 for a loss of 13 yards, and a sack for a loss of nine. Junior Kushtrim Hakanjin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished with nine tackles (five solo), including 2.5 for a loss of 11 yards, including 2.0 sacks for a loss of ten and a forced fumble that helped set up the winning field goal.

Junior running back Jermetrius Troy (Mattapan, Mass./Tilton School) rushed the ball 18 times for a career-best 130 yards and a score, averaging 7.2 yards per carry, for Stonehill, adding five receptions for 23 yards for 153 all-purpose yards. Senior Danny Carducci (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill) racked up 43 yards on two runs off fake punts.

Senior Matt Ianucci (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) led the Stonehill defense with a season-high 11 tackles (five solo), while junior Fabrice Dragon (Stoughton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) added eight stops (six solo), including 1.0 for a loss of six yards. Freshman Michael Hogan (Westborough, Mass./St. John's of Shrewsbury) chipped in with five tackles (four solo) and a pair of quarterback hurries.

American International led by ten (20-10) at halftime, with Stonehill missing three first half field goals, but needed two scores in the final two minutes to pull out the win. Vaca-Hurtado's field goal came three plays and 15-seconds after Stonehill turned the ball over when Meyer was sacked by Hakanjin on fourth and two from the AIC 44, causing a fumble which the Yellow Jackets recovered at the 42. Arduino connected with sophomore Matt Brown (North Kingstown, R.I.) for a 41 yard pass on second down to the Stonehill 17 to set up the kick.

AIC knotted the score at 34-34 when Arduino carried the ball in from 14 yards out to cap an eight play, 65 yard drive over a span of 2:55. Williams had a key 26 yard run during the drive as well.

Stonehill trailed by ten at halftime, but chipped away, first drawing within three on a 33 yard touchdown catch by Gomes from Meyer with six minutes left in the third quarter. The score capped a three-play 40 yard drive that took 32-seconds after the Skyhawks got the ball inside AIC territory after a 25 yard punt return from sophomore Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) with ten yards added to the end for holding by AIC.

Junior Jermetrius Troy rushed the ball 18 times for a career-best 130 yards and a score. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill knotted the score on its next drive when freshman Ryan Handy (Howell, N.J./Howell) drilled a 29 yard field goal with 3:05 left in the third after a three and out by the Yellow Jackets. Meyer and Gomes connected for two passes for 32 yards on the six play, 43 yard drive.

American International answered right back with a quick five play, 68 yard drive over 1:50 as Arduino ran the ball in from 26 yards out to regain the lead. The Yellow Jackets got all 68 yards on the ground, with Williams collecting 29 yards on three carries and sophomore Bryant Fitzgerald (Highland Park, N.J.) adding a 13 yard scamper.

Stonehill tied the game once again on its ensuing drive when Meyer connected with Gomes again for a 19 yard scoring pass with 11:26 left in the fourth quarter. That capped an 11 play, 54 yard drive that consumed 4:37. Carducci kept the drive alive with his second fake punt run of the afternoon for 12 yards to the AIC 33 on fourth and 11.

Stonehill took advantage of an AIC fumble on its next possession to take the lead (34-37) with 8:19 remaining after a 43 yard touchdown run by Troy just three plays later.

Stonehill opened the scoring on the afternoon when sophomore Michael Kielbasa (Ludlow, Mass./Loomis Chaffee School) kicked a career-long 37 yard field goal 3:33 into the contest. Meyer hit freshman Zaire Reiph (Norwalk, Conn./Saint Luke's School) for a 33 yard pass on the Skyhawks first play from scrimmage.

Stonehill forced AIC three and out on the next possession and after an 11 yard Troy run on second down, Meyer was picked off by AIC junior Darius Evans (Linden, N.J.) who returned it 27 yards for a touchdown to reverse momentum. The Yellow Jackets scored again on its next offensive possession as Arduino connected with sophomore Cal Brownridge (Newark, N.J.) for a 23 yard scoring pass after the drive was extended with a personal foul penalty by Stonehill after a Yellow Jackets pass on third and two fell incomplete.

Kielbasa missed a 32 yard field goal after Stonehill drove to the AIC 15 on its next drive and the Yellow Jackets looked poised to run and hide with a touchdown on its ensuing drive. Arduino hit senior Andre Samuels (Linden, N.J.) with a seven yard scoring toss to cap a 12 play, 80 yard drive over 5:08.

Stonehill responded when Meyer and Gomes connected for their first scoring play of the afternoon from six yards out at the end of an 11 play, 81 yard drive over 4:21. Troy had a key 30 yard run during the drive. The Skyhawks missed two more field goals before the end of the half that would have pulled them within a point at the intermission.

Stonehill (1-3, 0-2 NE-10) hits the road for the next two weeks, starting with an NE-10 matchup at the University of New Haven next Saturday at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Saturday, October 15, to host Pace University as part of Family Weekend at the College at 1 p.m. American International (3-1, 2-0 NE-10) visits Bentley University next Friday at 7 p.m.

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