The Alfred State defense sealed the victory with a goal line stand in the final minute as the Pioneers defeated the University of Rochester 27-21 on Saturday.
Rochester started their final possession with 2:42 remaining in the game. They picked up a pair of 1st downs including a 62-yard pass play from Ryan Eamer to Dan Diaz that put the ball on the Alfred State 2-yard line with 1:03 remaining. After a Yellowjacket timout, the Pioneer defense forced a pair of incompletions and Elijah Rimpel (Queens/Bayside) stopped a run for a one-yard loss setting up a 4th and Goal situation. Rochester went to the air trying to tie the game but Andrew Pierre-Paul (Brooklyn/Erasmus Hall) was able to defend the pass and seal the victory.
The Pioneers started fast as they scored on their first possession. Trevor Carson (Bronx/Harry Truman) scored from three-yards out on the first drive of the game to cap a 82-yard, 9-play drive. On the ensuing kickoff, Martyrs Johnson (Staten Island/Curtis) forced a fumble that was recovered by Joery Barthold (Brookyn/Midwood). One play later, Nick Wynter (Brooklyn/Fort Hamilton) rushed in from 49-yards out to make it 13-0 just 4:52 into the game.
With 23 seconds left in the 1st quarter, Kyle Campbell (Brooklyn/Erasmus Hall) returned an interception 23 yards for a score to make it 20-0.
Rochester got on the board early in the 2nd quarter when Eamer connected with Noah Shinaman on a 42-yard score but Carson and the Pioneers answered right back on their next possession. Carson scored his second touchdown of the game when he capped a 12-play drive with a five-yard run to make it 27-7.
Eamer and Shinaman connected on a 31-yard scoring play on the Yellowjackets next possession and connected with Robert Kollmer on a 1-yard scoring pass on the final play of the 1st half to make it 27-21.
Neither team could put points on the board in the 2nd half. The Pioneers had a long drive in the 4th quarter but it stalled on the Rochester 20 with 6:54 remaining.
Dashown Wilson (Bronx/DeWitt Clinton) rushed for 108 yards on 19 carries and was 8 for 15 with 102 yards passing. Wynter finished with 65 yards rushing and Andrew Thomas (Bronx/Erasmus Hall) had four catches for 56 yards.
Eamer finished 26 for 44 for 320 yards for the Yellowjackets. Diaz caught seven passes for 108 yards and Shinaman finished with four catches for 89 yards and two scores. Jason Cunningham rushed for 76 yards on 22 carries.
Pierre-Paul led the Pioneer defense with nine solo tackles and a pair of pass break-ups. Rimpel also finished with nine tackles, Brian Williams (Fort Washington, MD) had eight tackles and an interception.
Key to the field position battle in the game was the punting of Michael Zimmerman (Canandaigua). He sent four of his five punts inside the 20 and averaged 47 yards (long of 55) per punt.
Caden Cole led Rochester with 10 tackles while Noah Braid had nine.
Rochester had a slight 396 to 392 yardage advantage in the game but the Pioneers held the ball for 38:34 of the game and won the turnover battle by forcing three turnovers without losing the ball.
This was the 7th straight year the Pioneers and Yellowjackets have met. The last three contests have been all decided by seven points or less.
The Pioneers head to Brockport next Saturday for a 2 p.m. match-up with the Golden Eagles.