Fourth quarter comeback falls short to No.17 LIU Post
Kevin Crompton – Editor-in-Chief
A fourth quarter comeback slipped through the grasp of the Owls on Saturday when they fell to LIU Post 24-13 on Senior Day.
LIU Post remains undefeated advancing to 9-0 and 8-0 in the conference. Southern football head coach Tom Godek said he was disappointed his team could not pull off the upset victory, however, he was pleased with the overall effort his group gave.
“I’m very proud of these guys and our coaching staff and how hard we worked to try and get this victory,” said Godek. “I’m not saying the whole week was smooth in practice, but as we came out to the game it was very impressive to see that our team was ready to play and up for the challenge today.”
Senior running back Eli Parks who leads the NE-10 in rushing yards and touchdowns, concluded his final game at Jess Dow Field with 124 rushing yards, a touchdown and a fumble. Parks said post-game that he deserves the blame for an unsuccessful rushing attack.
“I kind of screwed myself up giving up the ball,” said Parks. “It’s on me kind of. It’s on me. The line did what they had to do. There was some penetration sometimes, nothing we’ve seen differently, but I just got to finish my job. I’ve got to do my job.”
Both teams were faced with the challenge of playing in 20-30 mph wind gusts on Saturday. Godek said there were instances when the wind resulted in negative plays for Southern, but the weather is not to blame for the loss.
“They had to play in it, we had to play in it, but we could see in the first half we were just inches away at times,” said Godek.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Sapere went 13-28 with 184 passing yards. Parks said when the offense was moving into the wind it made it more difficult for Sapere to complete passes.
“When you can’t pass the ball, they’re going to load the box more and put an extra guy in the box,” said Parks. “There’s going to be an extra guy unblocked so it’s going to be tougher to get yards.”
Parks said that in light of the loss, his senior day was an emotional experience and made for an exciting environment to play in.
“It was great,” said Parks. “My family came, a bunch of family friends came, it was great to see them, and everyone else’s families come. It was a family atmosphere here today. It
was a good day. I wish the result was different, but it was a great day.”
Southern will graduate 17 seniors after the 2018 season commences. Among that group is senior linebacker David Spears Jr. who made the most of his senior day by sacking the quarterback three times. Spears Jr. now ranks third in the conference in sacks with seven, joining teammate and senior lineman Jared Bennett-Moorer, who has eight sacks, in the top three.
Moreover, redshirt senior running back Vochan Fowler found the end zone in his last game wearing an Owls home jersey. Fowler’s touchdown started the Owls’ comeback attempt to cut the score to 17-7 in the fourth quarter. It was his fourth touchdown of the season and his first since Sept. 29 in a 43-7 win against Saint Anselm.
“Those guys have been around for the turning of the corner,” said Godek, “and now we have to keep moving forward here and work to get a victory at Merrimack.”
Photo Credit: Jenna Stepleman