GAME NOTES: Football Goes for First Ever Seven-Win Season Against Stonehill

GAME NOTES: Football Goes for First Ever Seven-Win Season Against Stonehill


MANCHESTER, N.H. – Already assured of its first winning season since 2000, the fifth-seeded Saint Anselm College football team (6-4, 5-4 NE-10) will try and post the first seven-win campaign in program history when it plays host to sixth-seeded Stonehill College (4-6, 4-5 NE-10) in a Northeast-10 Championship Weekend tilt Saturday, Nov. 15 (12 p.m.) at Grappone Stadium. Links to live stats and video are available on the football schedule page.

The Hawks will be looking to avenge a 23-16 loss to Stonehill at Grappone from two weeks ago when they scored 13 unanswered fourth-quarter points, but came up short.


Sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas accounted for four touchdowns, including a 48-yard pass to senior WR Brandon Gomes as time expired to lift the Hawks to an improbable 37-34 victory against New Haven on Nov. 8 at DellaCamera Stadium.

The win snapped a four-game skid for the Hawks, as they improved to 6-4 on the season and 5-4 in Northeast-10 play. Saint Anselm matched the program record for wins in a season, which was set back in 2000. That 2000 campaign was also the last time the Hawks produced a winning record, which they assured themselves this season. It was the Hawks' first win against New Haven since a similar shocking road victory Nov. 6, 2010 (35-26). The Chargers, who lost to Saint Anselm for just the second time in six lifetime meetings, saw their six-game winning streak snapped as they dropped to 6-4, 6-3 NE-10.

The win, coupled with Assumption College's triumph over Stonehill College, earned Saint Anselm the No. 5 seed for Northeast-10 Championship Weekend and a home game against Stonehill.

Gavalas finished 42 of 56 for 439 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 40 yards and another score on 13 carries. The 439 yards are the third most in a single game in school history, while the 479 yards of total offense are the fourth most. In the game, Gavalas moved past Michael Pierce (2009) for the single-season record in both passing yards (2,629) and total offense (2,933).

Senior WR Justin Bernard made 12 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, as he became the first Hawk ever to reach 4,000 receiving yards in a career. Fellow senior WR Ahkeen Williams caught 11 passes for 102 yards and a score to leapfrog former teammate Marc Wilson and move into second place all-time in program history with 2,231 receiving yards. Gomes hauled in nine passes, including the game winner, for 125 yards and the clinching score.

Saint Anselm trailed, 21-7, at halftime, and used a 30-13 margin in the second half to pull off the stunning triumph. The Hawks racked up the ninth highest mark in program history with 549 yards of total offense – the most in over a month since they put up 601 at Merrimack on Oct. 4. In addition to the 439 passing yards, the Hawks ran for 110, marking the 11th time in the last 14 games they have cracked the century mark.

Trailing by two scores at the half, Saint Anselm received the opening kick in the third quarter and charged 74 yards in 11 plays, with sophomore RB Joe Hayman polishing off the drive with a 5-yard run that cut the deficit to 21-14 after the extra point by junior K/P Shane Grayson just 3:23 in.

The Hawks pulled within 21-16 later in the period when sophomore WR Zach Bartak blocked Anthony Greenfield's punt, which was then recovered in the end zone for a safety with 4:22 remaining in the third.

As if getting to that point wasn't a battle enough for Saint Anselm, it overcame more adversity when Gomes caught a pass that looked to be the go-ahead score on the first play of the fourth quarter, but he fumbled and New Haven recovered at its own 6-yard line.

The defense forced a punt, however, and the offense needed just three plays to take the lead for the first time as Gavalas hooked up with Bernard on a 53-yard touchdown that made it 24-21 following the Grayson PAT with 10:23 remaining.

After the teams traded fumbles, the Chargers took advantage of a short field as Lamar Thomas ran in from five yards out to regain the lead at 28-24 after Brian Roberts' kick with 6:14 left to play.

Gavalas remained cool, calm and collected as he drove the Hawks 63 yards in 12 plays and found Williams on a fourth-and-8 from the New Haven 12-yard line for a score that put Saint Anselm in front, 31-28, with 2:05 to go after the Grayson point-after.

New Haven did not go away, however, and set itself up nicely on the first play of the ensuing drive as QB Joey Bradley hit Courtney Moshood for 54 yards down the right sideline. Facing a fourth-and-three from the Saint Anselm 5-yard line, New Haven opted to go for the win instead of the tie and made the gamble look good as Bradley found Thomas, who dove just inside the right pylon for a 5-yard touchdown that put the Chargers back on top, 34-31 with 20 seconds on the clock. Roberts' kick was blocked by junior DB Carroll Bailey, meaning the Hawks only needed a field goal to tie it.

New Haven picked up a personal foul penalty on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Hawks the ball at the Chargers' 48-yard line. Following an incomplete pass, New Haven called timeout with five seconds remaining. Saint Anselm came out with three receivers lined up to the right and Gavalas aired one out down the sideline for Gomes, who reeled in the pass just inside the 20-yard line and shed one tackler before sprinting into the end zone with zeroes on the clock to lift the Hawks to victory.

The Hawks were led on defense by senior LB Zach Hayes, who registered 13 tackles, including 2.0 for a loss.

New Haven jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter as Bradley tossed touchdown passes of 35 yards and nine yards to Rishawn Harris and Jonathan Badyna, respectively. Saint Anselm answered 1:37 after the second score on a 15-yard Gavalas run that trimmed the deficit to 14-7 with 10:18 to go in the second. The Chargers hit back just 39 seconds later, however, as Bradley capped a two-play, 65-yard drive with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Henry Adegunle to make it 21-7.

Saint Anselm was driving inside the final minute of the first half when Gavalas threw a short pass to the New Haven 25, but his receiver was hauled down and the defender intercepted the ball. No call was made and the Chargers went into the break with a 14-point lead.

The Hawks earned the No. 5 seed for Northeast-10 Championship Weekend via their 37-34 win at New Haven and Stonehill's 28-21 loss at Assumption on Nov. 8.

The Hawks trailed by 14 points at the half and then again by three with 20 seconds left in the game, but pulled out a 37-34 victory at New Haven on Nov. 8. The Hawks scored two of the three touchdowns in the final 2:05 of the contest, including a 48-yard touchdown pass from sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas to senior WR Brandon Gomes  as time expired, to earn the win. The triumph snapped the Hawks' four-game skid and broke up the Chargers' six-game winning streak. It was also the second win in three trips to New Haven for Saint Anselm.

With their 37-34 win at New Haven on Nov. 15, the Hawks matched the program record for wins in a season (2000) and, at 6-4, assured themselves of their first winning season since the year 2000. No team in school history has won seven contests in a single season.

Sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas was chosen as the Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the Northeast-10 on Monday and by the ECAC on Tuesday. It was the third time Gavalas, who was also chosen as one of five D2 Quarterbacks of the Week by Beyond Sports Network on Monday, had captured each award this season. In the 37-34 win at New Haven on Nov. 8, Gavalas finished 42 of 56 for 439 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 40 yards and another score on 13 carries. The 439 yards are the third most in a single game in school history, while the 479 yards of total offense are the fourth most. In the game, Gavalas moved past Michael Pierce (2009) for the single-season record in both passing yards (2,629) and total offense (2,933).

In the Hawks' 37-34 win at New Haven on Nov. 8, senior WRs Justin Bernard, Ahkeen Williams and Brandon Gomes each went over 100 yards receiving and caught a touchdown. Interestingly, it was the first time three Hawk receivers each reached the century mark in a single game since Bernard (129), Marcel Bouie (110) and Keith Charles (100) did it in a 35-26 win at 23rd-ranked New Haven on Nov. 5, 2010. Bernard caught 12 balls for 151 yards and became the first Hawk to reach the 4,000-yard plateau for a career. Williams made 11 catches for 102 yards and moved past Marc Wilson and into second place all-time behind Bernard with 2,231 yards. Gomes totaled 125 yards on nine catches, including a 48-yard game winner with no time on the clock. No Saint Anselm trio had ever each racked up 100 yards receiving and caught a touchdown until their performance.

Senior WR Justin Bernard caught 12 passes for 151 yards in the Hawks' 37-34 win at New Haven on Nov. 8. Bernard, who already owns Saint Anselm's single-game, single-season and career records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches, caught a pass in a school-record 40th consecutive contest dating back to Oct. 9, 2010. Bernard's 379 career grabs are the most by any active player across all divisions, while his 4,102 receiving yards rank him fourth in that same category and third amongst all active Division II players.

The Hawks have now rushed for 100-plus yards in 11 of their last 14 contests dating back to Oct. 19 of last season following a 110-yard ground attack in their 37-34 win at New Haven on Nov. 8.

As a team, the Hawks are ranked 18th in the nation in passing offense (309.6 ypg) and 51st in total offense (441.3). Individually, sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas ranks second in the country in completion percentage (70.0%), third in completions per game (29.0), 15th in total offense (323.6), 17th in passing yards per contest (301.1) and 41st in rushing touchdowns (10). Senior WR Justin Bernard ranks fourth in receptions per game (9.2) and 23rd in receiving yards per contest (96.3), while fellow senior WR Ahkeen Williams is 10th in receptions per game (7.4) and 40th in receiving yards per game (86.9). Defensively, junior LB Joel Jorgensen is 27th in forced fumbles per game (0.30), while sophomore DL Eric Wilson is 37th in fumbles recovered (2) and junior DB Carroll Bailey is 38th in solo tackles per contest (5.4). Junior K/P Shane Grayson's 75.0 field goal percentage is 23rd best in the nation, while his 0.9 field goals per game are 52nd. Sophomore WR Ryan Monette's 767 combined kick return yards are 12th best, nationally.

-Senior WR Justin Bernard needs 38 receiving yards for his third straight 1,000-yard season and will break his own single-season record, set last season, with 185 yards against Stonehill
-Bernard also needs just eight receptions for his second straight 100-catch season
-Bernard has two career records in his sights, but will need a monster day to capture them. He needs five touchdowns to break Keith Charles' record of 42 and needs 23 points to erase Charles' record of 252
-Speaking of Bernard, he and fellow senior WR Ahkeen Williams own eight of the Hawks' top 10 single-game receiving yard records.  Former teammate Marc Wilson has the other two
-Sophomore Yianni Gavalas is 278 passing yards shy of 5,000 for his career
-Junior K/P Shane Grayson needs two field goals to surpass Michael Garcarcz' school mark of 10 field goals made in a single season (2003).
-Grayson can break his own record of 36 extra points from last season with four more PATs
-Grayson also needs three punts inside the 20 to break Shea Cerio's 2012 record of 16
-Senior OL Zach Lombard will set a new program record by playing in his 42nd consecutive game

The Hawks are close to setting new single-season records in a handful of categories.
-They need 29 points to break the record of 326 set last season
-The need 62 yards of total offense to break the record of 4,471 set last season
-They need 339 passing yards to break the record of 3,431 set last season
-They need 627 all-purpose yards to break the record of 6,273 set last season
-They will not catch the 2008 team, but need only eight rushing yards to pass the 2001 squad for second place

The Hawks are now 5-1 when winning the coin toss and are 4-0 when the game is decided by less than five points.

Junior K/P Shane Grayson gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead in their 23-16 Nov. 1 loss to Stonehill with a 33-yard field goal in the first quarter. That kick broke Erol Senel's school record for points scored by kicking in a single season (54 in 2001). Grayson also had a 63-yard punt in the second quarter that stands as the third longest in program history. He now owns the three longest kicks in the Saint Anselm record book.

Sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas broke Michael Pierce's 2009 record of 237 completions in a single season with his 16th completion of the afternoon in the Hawks' 23-16 loss to Stonehill on Nov. 1.

Sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas became the fourth Hawk ever to reach 4,000 passing yards in the team's 31-7 loss at Assumption on Oct. 24.

Senior WR Ahkeen Williams made six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown in a 49-21 loss at LIU Post on Oct. 18 as he became the third Hawk to reach 2,000 yards receiving in a career. He now sits at 2,044 yards, which is just 105 behind former teammate Marc Wilson for second place all-time. Fellow senior WR Justin Bernard caught eight passes for 73 yards in the game and became the third player in program history to amass 4,000 all-purpose yards.

With their one rushing touchdown in a 49-21 loss at LIU Post on Oct. 18, the Hawks set a new single-season program record with 18 rushing scores to surpass the previous  record of 17 from 2001. Junior RB Elad Covaliu did the honors as he matched sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas for the team lead with his eighth rushing touchdown of the season. Gavalas' eight at the time are the most in school history for a quarterback, while the 16 combined rushing touchdowns are the most for any Saint Anselm duo in history.

Senior WR Nick Marcella submitted the best performance of his career in the Hawks' 48-26 loss to American International on Oct. 11. Marcella reached career highs in catches (8) and yards (90), while also catching his first collegiate touchdown.

Senior LB Zach Hayes was a beast in the Hawks' 48-26 loss to American International on Oct. 11. Hayes registered a game- and career-high 15 tackles, in addition to corralling an interception and forcing a fumble.

With their 55-24 victory at Merrimack on Oct. 4, the Hawks extended their best start in program history to 5-0. The five straight victories match the program's longest single-season winning streak (Oct. 14-Nov. 11, 2000) and is the second longest run of wins all-time. The program record for wins in a season is six (6-4 in 2000).

The Hawks beat Merrimack for the first time since Oct. 10, 2008 with their 55-24 road win Oct. 4. That 2008 win against Merrimack was the first of seventh-year head coach Patrick Murphy's career.

With two grabs on the Hawks' opening drive of their 55-24 win at Merrimack on Oct. 4, senior WR Justin Bernard passed Robert Holland, who caught 325 passes for Chowan University from 2009-13, for most receptions ever in NCAA Division II history. The reception record across all divisions is held by Michael Zweifel, who caught 463 passes for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the University of Dubuque – both Division III programs – from 2007-11.

Despite senior WR Justin Bernard's record performance in the Hawks' 55-24 win at Merrimack on Oct. 4, fellow senior WR Ahkeen Williams was almost just impressive. Williams snagged 14 passes for 154 yards.

In their 55-24 win at Merrimack on Oct. 4, the Hawks' 55 points were the second most all-time in a single game in program history, while their 601 yards of total offense was the fourth best single-game mark. The defense forced seven turnovers to match the school record, tallied six sacks and held the second best offense in the Northeast-10 to 373 yards. The Hawks also returned both an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the same game for the first time in program history.

How good was the defense in the Hawks' 55-24 win at Merrimack on Oct. 4? It did something a Saint Anselm defense had only done three times in the previous 84 games – hold its opponent to under 100 yards rushing (96). The last time the Hawks turned the trick? Oct. 19, 2013 when they held Merrimack to just 48 yards on the ground. The Warriors made up for it through the air in that meeting, however, as they racked up 441 yards. This time around, Saint Anselm held the Northeast-10's most potent aerial attack to just 277 yards.

The Hawks began the season 4-0 for the first time in program history with their 52-26 Homecoming victory against Pace on Sept. 27. The four-game winning streak is the third longest in program history and the second longest within a single season. Saint Anselm won six straight games from Nov. 1, 2003-Sept. 18, 2004 and five consecutive contests from Oct. 14-Nov. 11, 2000.

The Hawks went 4-0 during the month of September, marking the first time they were perfect in a month in which they played at least four games in program history. Saint Anselm went 3-0 in November 2003 and then went 2-0 in both November 2002 and November 2000.

In the Hawks' 52-26 victory against Pace on Sept. 27, head coach Patrick Murphy put 80 players into the game, which is by far the highest number of participants in a single game during his seven-year tenure.

In their 52-26 win against Pace on Sept. 27, the Saint Anselm offense put up 38 first-half points, which erased the old school record of 35 points that was set the year before at Pace on Nov. 9. The Hawks amassed 672 yards of total offense, which is the second highest single-game amount in school history, including 415 through the air (fifth all-time) and 257 on the ground (eighth all-time).

In the Hawks' 52-26 victory against Pace on Sept. 27, sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas completed 28 of 34 passes (82.3%) for 415 yards and a touchdown, while running for 26 yards and two more scores on five carries. Gavalas completed 12 of his passes to senior WR Justin Bernard, who racked up 196 receiving yards and a touchdown as he moved to within just two catches of the NCAA Division II all-time record for receptions. Junior RB Elad Covaliu ran for 70 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, in addition to catching two passes for 52 yards, while sophomore RB Joe Hayman contributed 53 yards and a pair of scores on 11 rushes.

In the Hawks' 52-26 win against Pace on Sept. 27, junior K/P Shane Grayson went 7-for-7 on extra-point attempts to match the school record that he also equaled last Nov. 9 at Pace.

With their 38-34 come-from-behind win against Bentley on Sept. 20, the Hawks are 3-0 to start the season for the first time since the 2004 campaign. It is also the first time the program has earned three consecutive wins since Sept. 4-18 of that same season.

Saint Anselm beat Bentley for the first time ever when it erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to earn a 38-34 win Sept. 20. Bentley had won all 14 previous meetings dating back to 2001.

In their 38-34 win against Bentley on Sept. 20, the Hawks' defense came up with big stops when it had to. Saint Anselm held the Falcons without a first down until the second quarter. Senior DB Matt Yopp set the tone with a big interception on the first play of the game from scrimmage. Later in the game, with Bentley leading by three in the fourth quarter after scoring on six straight drives, the Hawks stopped the Falcons on both of their final possessions to win the game with the help of the offense. Sophomore LB Kyrell Jaundoo's monster sack was key for Saint Anselm on Bentley's second-to-last drive. Senior LB Zach Hayes and junior DB Carroll Bailey also came up large with 10 tackles apiece.

The senior WR tandem of Justin Bernard and Brandon Gomes was a favorite target of sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas in the Hawks' 38-34 victory against Bentley on Sept. 20. Bernard hauled in 12 balls for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Gomes made seven catches for 112 yards and a score. Gomes also had the play of the day on the Hawks' final offensive series of the game. Facing a third-and-10 from the Bentley 40, 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 and led to the go-ahead touchdown with 2:33 on the clock. Junior RB Elad Covaliu was also a beast for the Hawks as he sliced, diced, crashed and bashed his way to 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. It was the second straight week Covaliu ran in the winning score.

In the Hawks' first three wins, they won the coin toss to start each game and deferred to the second half each time. The Hawks were also forced to mount a comeback in each contest as they trailed at halftime on all three occasions. They also learned how to win close games as all three contests were been decided by less than five points each time and the Hawks won by a combined eight points.

Following their 23-20 overtime win at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 13, the Hawks moved to 2-0 to start the season for the first time since the 2004 campaign. It was also the first time the program had earned back-to-back wins since Sept. 11-18 of that same season.

The 23-20 OT win at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 13 was the Hawks' first overtime game since Sept. 5, 2009 when they defeated Plymouth State, 41-35, in five overtimes.

Despite a tough first half in which he threw three interceptions, sophomore QB Yianni Gavalas finished 23 of 31 with 177 yards and a touchdown in the 23-20 overtime win at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 13. Gavalas, who had only thrown four career picks in 235 career attempts entering the day, bounced back in the second half as he went 16-for-20 for 138 yards, a score and no turnovers.

Senior WR Ahkeen Williams caught eight passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in Saint Anselm's 23-20 overtime win at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 13. He caught a 76-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-all just seven seconds into the second quarter and had multiple big plays to keep drives alive all day long, including a 23-yard reception on fourth-and-six that kept the offense on the field and set up a touchdown to put Saint Anselm on top for the first time all game – 14-10 – with 4:49 on the clock in the third quarter. His biggest contribution of the day, however, came with the Hawks' backs against the wall in overtime. Facing a fourth-and-15 from the 30 and needing a field goal to force a second overtime session or a touchdown to win, Williams hauled in a 21-yard pass to move the chains and set up the game-winning nine-yard run on the ensuing play.  

Despite trailing 22-7 in the third quarter at Bowie State on Sept. 6, the Hawks came all the way back for a 23-22 win after the defense pitched a shutout in the fourth quarter. The 21 points are the fewest the Saint Anselm defense has allowed since holding Pace to 21 on both Oct. 13, 2012 and Oct. 22, 2011. It is the fewest points allowed against a team other than Pace since the Hawks only relinquished 17 at AIC on Oct. 3, 2009. The Hawks followed that up by making numerous big stops and giving up just 20 points in a 23-20 overtime victory at Southern Connecticut on Sept. 13. The 42 combined points in the two games are the fewest allowed in consecutive contests since Saint Anselm relinquished just 37 points to Bentley and Pace from Sept. 11-19, 2009.

The Hawks opened the season with a win for the first time since 2005 when they used 16 unanswered points over the game's final 16:37 to record a 23-22 victory at Bowie State on Sept. 6. A win against Southern Connecticut would give the Hawks their first 2-0 start since the 2004 campaign, which is also the last time they have won two straight (Sept. 11-18, 2004).

Junior K/P Shane Grayson helped lift the Hawks to victory at Bowie State on Sept. 6 when he drilled a 38-yard field goal whith just 3:26 remaining in the contest to cap a 16-point comeback. Grayson also punted eight times for a 42.1 average, including a 70-yard punt in the opening quarter that set a new school record. For his efforts, Grayson was chosen as the Special Teams Player of the Week by both the Northeast-10 and ECAC.

Saint Anselm Athletics and Pack Network will once again team up for the 2014-15 season to offer an industry-leading streaming video solution. The service will feature live event productions that include multiple cameras, an on-screen scoreboard and graphics so that fans can still be part of the action even when they can't make it to the game. Fans can stream games live on their ipad or iphone and starting this season, all events will be streamed in High Definition. This season, all football, volleyball, field hockey, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and men's and women's lacrosse games will be streamed live at The Hawks All-Access Pass, available for $69.95, gives fans the opportunity to watch not only all the live coverage of various Saint Anselm home athletic events, but also premium content not available to view without the All-Access Pass. The premium content includes an in-depth archive section of all video available. Single-event subscriptions for all live events will be available throughout the season for $6.95.