MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team suffered a 30-10 setback to American International College on Saturday afternoon in a Northeast-10 Conference matchup at Grappone Stadium in Manchester, N.H.
The Hawks fall to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the NE-10, while AIC improves to 2-3 and 2-2 in conference games. Saint Anselm hits the road for the next two weekends, starting with a 1 p.m. matchup with LIU Post on Oct. 8.
The Saint Anselm offense was held to 254 total yards by the Northeast-10 Conference's top defense as the Hawks passed for 218 yards and rushed for only 36 yards in the defeat. The Yellow Jackets posted 392 total yards, throwing for 275 yards and rushing for 117 yards.
Yianni Gavalas finished the game going 26-of-46 for 218 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Connor Schoske had a pair of spectacular grabs for 52 yards; while Kyle Hill and Zach Bartak had six catches apiece, combining for 88 yards with Bartak hauling in the touchdown.
Ryan Monette led the team with nine catches on the day for 34 yards, with Joe Hayman adding three catches for 44 yards. Hayman was also the Hawks' top runner, picking up 22 yards on 12 carries and 126 yards on six kick returns.
Defensively, Liam Gillis registered a team-high eight tackles in the game – including two for a loss – with a half sack. Shaun Callahan and Andy Klouda added seven tackles apiece with Callahan grabbing his first interception of the year. Nate Lewis also recorded an interception to go with four tackles and a pair of pass breakups, with Will Collins contributing the other 0.5 sack.
AIC's Joseph Czelusniak was 15-for-25 for 275 and three scores and a pair of interceptions. Christian Dargan was the top target for the Yellow Jackets, catching three balls for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Marcel Depina and Evan Graham also added touchdown catches. Willie Brown IV carried the ball 20 times for 87 yards to lead the ground game.
The two teams traded punts to start the game until a 12-yard punt by the Hawks left AIC with great field position at the 29-yard line of Saint Anselm. On the first play from scrimmage, Czelusniak found Depina on a wheel route down the left sideline for the game's first touchdown as the Yellow Jackets took a 7-0 lead.
After another Saint Anselm punt, Nate Lewis was able to get the ball back for Saint Anselm as he intercepted Czelusniak and brought the ball back to the AIC 22 yard line. The Hawks eventually worked the ball to the five yard line, but the drive stalled there and Daniel Parisi nailed a 22-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game with 4:35 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Yellow Jackets answered quickly, driving 77 yards in only 2:30 as Czelusniak found Dargan for a 48-yard touchdown to put the visitors on top, 14-3. AIC's Christopher Boteler would eventually put a 22-yard field goal through with 12:43 to play to put the Yellow Jackets on top 17-3.
Yianni Gavalas was intercepted on the next Saint Anselm drive, but Callahan got the ball right back for the Hawks as he intercepted Czelusniak on the Yellow Jackets' first play from scrimmage. Saint Anselm worked the ball deep into the red zone, but came up short of the end zone on fourth down, giving the ball back to AIC with just over five minutes remaining.
AIC got the ball out of danger, eventually driving to the Saint Anselm five-yard line before settling for another Boteler 22-yard field goal that made it a 20-3 game headed into the half.
The Yellow Jackets opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown strike from Czelusniak to Graham. After the two teams traded punts over the next couple of possessions, Boteler put AIC on top 30-3 with only 1:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Saint Anselm eventually took over at their own 20 with 9:43 to play in the game. Yianni Gavalas led the Hawks down the field – connecting with Schoske for a pair of big plays – before finding Bartak for a quick-hitting three yard touchdown on fourth down to make it a 30-10 game.
The Hawks got a defensive stop and Ryan Monette had a 30-yard punt return to give Saint Anselm the ball back with three minutes remaining at the AIC 29 yard line. After picking up a first down, Gavalas took a shot in the end zone, where AIC's Elijah Johnson broke up the pass and eventually intercepted the juggling ball in the back of the end zone to wrap up the Yellow Jacket victory.
AIC won the time of possession battle, controlling the ball for 32:26 while the Hawks held the ball for only 27:34. Both teams struggled on third downs as the Hawks were 2-of-13 (15%) on the day and AIC was 3-of-12 (25%).
Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @STAHawks.