Football beats Susquehanna with last minute TD

By GREGORY MELICK | September 14, 2017

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HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Quarterback David Tammaro threw for 299 yards against Susquehanna.

The Hopkins football team opened their Centennial Conference play this past Saturday with their second straight nail-biter, this time against the Susquehanna University River Hawks.

The game was off to a strong start for the Blue Jays, as junior safety Ian Lodge intercepted Susquehanna quarterback Nick Crusco’s second pass attempt of the game. However, the offense could not take advantage of their strong field position and the Jays’ senior kicker Jamie Sullivan missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.

After the missed field goal, the momentum shifted to the other side of the field. The River Hawks marched down the field, going 78 yards in only nine plays for the touchdown. The Blue Jays again found themselves down early in the first quarter.

The rest of the first quarter was a battle of the defenses, as neither offense could get on the board. The only scoring for the rest of the quarter came when the Blue Jays took advantage of a nine-yard punt by Susquehanna, giving Hopkins the ball at the Susquehanna’s 12-yard line. But even with great starting field position, the Blue Jays settled for a field goal to get their first points of the game.

The River Hawks responded to the Hopkins field goal by going on another nine-play, 78-yard drive for another touchdown, extending their lead to 14-3 shortly after the beginning of the second quarter.

The Blue Jays responded with their own touchdown drive, culminating in sophomore quarterback David Tammaro’s six-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Luke McFadden.

The defenses took over again for a series of drives, but with the second quarter drawing to a close, Tammaro threw a deep pass to McFadden that bounced off the defender’s hands into the waiting arms of McFadden for a 34-yard touchdown pass, giving Hopkins its first lead of the game.

The River Hawks came out firing to start the second half, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions of the third quarter to take the lead back at 27-17.

The fourth quarter, on the other hand, was dominated by the Jays. They too scored on their first two possessions of the quarter, reclaiming their lead, 31-27. But the game wasn’t over yet.

With only four and a half minutes left, the River Hawks went 89 yards on seven plays and ate up over three minutes of game clock to score a potentially game-winning touchdown.

But the River Hawks gave Tammaro and the Blue Jays’ offense too much time. It took the Jays only 54 seconds and seven plays of their own to go 73 yards down the field to secure victory.

This was the second time in as many weeks where Hopkins trailed with less than 30 seconds left. This is unusual for a team that has dominated the regular season the last couple of years. The Jays’ regular season win streak now stands at 43 games and their Conference win streak is 38 games.

Some outstanding performers for the Blue Jays this week were Tammaro and junior safety Addison Quinones. Tammaro threw 299 yards and created three touchdowns while adding 83 yards rushing on 18 carries. The Centennial Conference chose him for Offensive Player of the Week.

On the defensive end, Quinones led the team in tackles with a career high 16 and also had a sack in the game. The junior is confident that the close back-to-back games will help the team going forward.

“If we are ever in that situation again, we can feel comfortable knowing we’ve been there before,” Quinones said after the game.

He also praised the River Hawks for their hard and consistent play. In fact, despite the losing effort, Susquehanna’s quarterback Crusco nearly matched Tammaro’s stellar performance. He had 287 yards passing and two touchdowns in addition to 44 yards rushing.

“They didn’t make many mistakes on offense and took advantage of ours,” Quinones said. “We knew they were going to get some plays, but we weren’t rattled. We never let up, and it paid off.”

The Blue Jays will be back on Saturday, Sept. 16 with another home game, this time against the Moravian College Greyhounds.

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