League-Leading St. Lawrence Defeats Football

Eric Laxroix

Canton, NY --- St. Lawrence quarterback Mike Lefflbine (Greenwich, CT) tossed three touchdowns and ran for another while the Saints defense forced six turnovers, including five interceptions, as the hosts defeated visiting WPI 42-21 in a Liberty League football contest played on Saturday afternoon.  

St. Lawrence scored three touchdowns in each of the first two quarters en route to a 42-7 advantage at the half.  The Saints started with a short field after a WPI punt went zero yards and Lefflbine found Vincenzo Ferraro (Greenwich, CT) on an eight-yard touchdown just three and half minutes into the contest.  Leondre Simmon (Freeport, NY) intercepted the next WPI play from scrimmage and two plays later Lefflbine scrambled 20 yards for a score.  Jake Gnieser (Dix Hills, NY) tacked on a 17-yard rushing score late in the first quarter and Mitch Gallagher (Malone, NY) hauled in a 14-yard scoring strike by Lefflbine with 3:54 to go before the half.

Things really got crazy in the last two minutes of the second quarter.  WPI broke into the scoring column as Romelle Jack (Glastonbury, CT) pounced on muffed snap over the punter's head in the end zone with 1:37 to go before break.  The hosts responded with authority as Austen Lauricella (Akron, NY) returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and after another WPI interception, Lefflbine found Leondre Simmon (Freeport, NY) on a 23-yaed score with just 32 seconds left in the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, WPI went to some trickery to find the end zone as wide receiver Marcus Middleton (Stoughton, MA) found quarterback Mack Eberhardt (Dunstable, MA) on a 9-yard scoring play.  Engineer rookie Connor Sakowich (Lynn, MA) capped the scoring with a 4-yard plunge with 2:34 to go. 

Lefflbine finished 16-for-25 for an efficient 155 yards and the three touchdowns.  Gallagher led the Saints receivers with six catches while Patrick Bryant (East Syracuse, NY) led in receiving yards with 47.  On defensive William Garrity (Middletown, CT) notched 11 tackles and picked off a pass and Skyler Williamson (Canton, CT) totaled nine stops, including a pair for loss. 

Eric Lacroix (Methuen, MA) led the WPI defensive effort with a pair of interceptions to go along with eight tackles.  Jake Brown (Fall River, MA) ended with a team-best 10 stops.  Steven Thulin (Walpole, MA) caught three passes for Boynton Hillers while Zach Grasis (East Brookfield, MA) amassed 39 yards on the ground and in the process passed WPI Hall-of-Famer Ernie Ansah (2,598) to move into fourth-all time in school history.  The fifth-year senior now has 2,633 career rushing yards.   

For the game, St. Lawrence outgained WPI 248-188 by the Engineers held a slight edge in first downs (14-13) and time of possession (33:12-26:48). 

WPI (5-3, 2-3) returns home Saturday to face Rochester at noontime on Senior Day.  St, Lawrence (7-1, 5-0) can clinch the Liberty championship and the conference automatic bid to the NCAA Championships with a win at Hobart next Saturday.