American International Quiets Stonehill, 31-10

Junior Nate Robitaille went over 100 receiving yards for the fourth-straight game and moved into the program's top ten list for career receiving yards today. (PHOTO BY Nicki Pardo)

Yellow Jackets hold Skyhawks to 189 yards for first NE-10 loss of the season

EASTON, Mass. (October 5, 2013) – American International College held Stonehill College to just 189 yards of total offense and handed the Skyhawks their first conference loss of the season with a 31-10 decision in Northeast-10 Conference football action at Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field at W.B. Mason Stadium this afternoon.

Junior quarterback Kevin Arduino (Cornwall, N.Y./Cornwall Central) led American International with 209 yards of total offense as he completed 10-of-19 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions to go with 16 carries for another 93 yards and a score. He nearly provided the Yellow Jackets with a pair of 100 yard rushers as junior Maurice Easterling (Yonkers, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) rushed the ball 28 times for 107 yards and a touchdown.

AIC posted 370 yards of total offense on the afternoon with 254 rushing and 116 through the air, while Stonehill was held to a season-low 189 yards, just 35 on the ground and 154 passing. Sophomore Jonathan Jubilee (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Tuckahoe) led the defense with eight tackles (one solo), including 1.0 for a loss of three yards and 0.5 sacks for a loss of one. Senior Joel Bowen (Brooklyn, N.Y./Sheepshead Bay) added six stops, including 1.5 for a loss of seven yards and 0.5 sacks for a loss of three. Freshman Jerrod Shelby (Brockton, Mass./Brockton) chipped in with four solo tackles, including a pair of forced fumbles, a pass breakup and quarterback hurry.

Senior quarterback Logan Meyer (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) was held in check as he completed just 11-of-26 passes for 121 yards and was sacked four times. Junior Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) went over 100 yards receiving for the fourth-straight game with seven catches for 110 yards, surpassing 1,000 career yards and finishing with 1,097 yards – good for ninth in program history. He finished the afternoon with a game-high 143 all-purpose yards, adding two kickoff returns for 33 yards.

Sophomore Anthony Masucci (East Haven, Conn./Notre Dame) led the Stonehill defense, which held the AIC offense off the scoreboard until midway through the second quarter with ten tackles (three solo), including 0.5 for a loss and a forced fumble. Senior Tim Bennett (Fillmore, Calif./Saint Bonaventure) also recorded a season-high matching ten stops (two solo), while sophomore Ryan Hollis (Hawthorne, N.J./Hawthorne) chipped in nine tackles (two solo), including 1.0 tackles for a loss of two yards and a pass breakup. Junior Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass./Rockland), the Division II leader for tackles, reached double-figures in tackles for the fifth time in as many games as he finished with ten (two solo), including 0.5 sacks for a loss of a yard.

Sophomore Anthony Masucci posted ten tackles and had a forced fumble today. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

American International jumped on the scoreboard early when junior Lenroy Neysmith (Meriden, Conn./Platt) took a handoff on the opening kickoff for a 98-yard touchdown return. Stonehill's offense struggled to get the ball moving, collecting just 51 yards of total offense in the first quarter and only nine yards on its first three drives of the second quarter. The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 14-0 when Arduino connected with senior Cal Brownridge (Newark, N.J./Paterson Catholic) for an eight yard touchdown pass with 6:35 left in the second quarter to cap a 12 play, 83 yard drive.

Stonehill, which has converted 14-of-16 trips to the red zone this season, was able to get points on the scoreboard the first time inside the AIC 20. Sophomore Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) drilled a season-long 33 yard field goal with 1:35 to play before halftime.

AIC was able to get the three points back before halftime as Arduino managed the two-minute drill down to the Stonehill 17. The Yellow Jackets opted for a 34 yard field goal attempt on third and ten with seven seconds left and junior holder Daniel Backx (Evesham, England) fumbled the snap and the Skyhawks recovered the ball, but were whistled for a personal foul, giving AIC half the distance to the goal line and a second chance. Junior Jared Hulsey (Springfield, Mass./Putnam) split the uprights for a 17-3 lead at the break.

Stonehill's offensive struggles continued into the third quarter, posting just 18 total yards over its first five possessions of the second half. Easterling capped a seven play, 78 yard drive after the Skyhawks lone turnover of the game with a six yard touchdown run with 7:03 to play in the third quarter and then Arduino scored on a five yard keeper with 8:47 left in the game for a 31-3 AIC lead.

Stonehill got its lone touchdown of the afternoon when backup quarterback Joseph Della Vecchia (Stratford, Conn./Saint Joseph) scored his first career touchdown with a six yard run at the end of a ten play, 70 yard drive with 4:38 left in regulation. He entered the game after Meyer was sacked for the fourth time and connected with senior Paul Piccirillo (Shelton, Conn./Shelton) for a 27 yard pickup on second and 17, finishing 2-for-4 for 33 yards on the drive while adding seven yards on two carries.

Stonehill (3-2, 3-1 NE-10) looks to get back on track next Saturday with its first of two successive trips to New Haven, Conn., when it battles Southern Connecticut State University at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Saturday, October 26, to host LIU Post at noon. American International (3-2, 3-1 NE-10) hosts LIU Post next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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