Sapere leads Owls to blowout win over Stonehill
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
After losing their last two games, at home to Bentley and then at the University of New Haven, the Owls really needed a win to pick up their spirits. Last Saturday night they delivered.
Matt Sapere, a redshirt freshman starting in place of the injured Matt Sanzaro, was on target most of the game. He went 15-of-22 for 170 yards and three passing touchdowns. He also ran for 56 yards on the ground, including a 23-yard first-down scramble, in the team’s 42-21 victory.
“One man goes down and it’s gotta be the next guy up,” Sapere said. “I think I got my feet wet last week against New Haven so my confidence was there coming out tonight and it was a great team win – everything was put together on all ends of the football.”
Senior running back Eli Parks also led the offense by carrying the ball 31 times for 140 yards and freshman wide receiver Julian Chung led the team with six receptions for 65 yards.
“A big credit goes out to our coaches and players for really digging down deep at practice,” head coach Tom Godek said. “We had an early-morning practice out here [last] Tuesday and it was raining but everybody was there ready to go for a really good football team. We knew Stonehill would come in here hungry.”
The Skyhawks came into the game with the same record of 1-2, having opened their season with a 34-19 loss to Fairmont State, a 57-54 triple overtime victory over Saint Anselm, and a 27-7 loss at the hands of LIU Post Sept. 15.
Their quarterback, Kyle Smith, went 12-of-30 passing for two touchdowns and 184 yards while their running back, Justin Felder, went off for a 98-yard night.
“Stonehill came out and played their second front to start the game so it took us awhile to figure some of that stuff out.” Godek said. “But Matt showed some poise in there. He’s
a competitive guy and when you’re recruiting kids you’re looking for kids who are competitive.”
At the 14:10 mark in the third quarter, redshirt freshman Jeremiah Banto blocked a punt for a 31-yard touchdown return to give the Owls a 21-7 lead and a short time later Sapere found Andre Ridley for 42 yards to give him his third touchdown pass of the contest.
Said Godek: “It looks like the offense did all the work but our special teams came in with the blocked punt and we had a few defensive scores.”
“It was so important to get a win. You can’t come off of two losses and be way up here naturally. You have to work as a team to get that energy and that motivation back and I think we did a great job this week,” Sapere said.
The Owls will stay at home to take on Saint Anselm Saturday, with a 2 p.m. kickoff, before heading into their bye week. The Hawks are 1-2 and defeated American International, 29-21, last week.
Godek said that Sapere will remain the starter until Sanzaro is cleared by the training staff from his “upper-body” injury.
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications