FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2016
Pioneers Erase Early Deficit, Remain Unbeaten in Battle of Nationally Ranked Foes on ESPN3
BROOKVILLE, N.Y. – No. 10 LIU Post overcame a 9-0 deficit and two early turnovers en route to a 43-23 victory over No. 15 Assumption in the NE-10 Football Championship Game on Saturday from Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium. It was the Pioneers' second NE-10 title in the last three seasons.
Malik Pierre scored three second-half touchdowns to lead LIU Post to the comeback win. Pierre was named NE-10 Championship MVP for his efforts.
Despite surrendering two interceptions in the first quarter, the Pioneers (11-0) held the Greyhounds (9-2) to field goals on each of their first three red-zone trips, as Cole Tracy hit from 21 yards out twice and once more from 23 yards away to give Assumption a 9-0 lead.
From there, LIU Post rattled off 37 unanswered points to pull away for the win.
The comeback started late in the first quarter when senior quarterback Jeff Kidd connected with red-shirt junior wide receiver Kyle Ward for a 33-yard touchdown along the sideline. The Pioneers then scored on their first possession of the second quarter to take a 13-9 lead. Kidd led a 14-play, 79-yard drive that resulted in a go-ahead seven-yard touchdown pass to red-shirt senior wideout Shane Hubbard.
For Hubbard, it was a record-setting reception. The touchdown moved him past former Pioneer standout Jim Byrne for first all-time in LIU Post history in that category. He now has a program-best 31 touchdown catches to his credit.
The green and gold eventually took a 16-9 advantage into the break after sophomore kicker Joey Tolgyesi drilled a 41-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds of the half.
In the second half, it was Pierre that stole the show. He started the half off on the right foot with an explosive 87-yard return to the end zone on the opening kickoff of the period.
With momentum already on the Pioneers' side, LIU Post denied Assumption from the end zone, slamming the door on the Hounds on a 4th-and-goal attempt from the Pioneer 1-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs. Pierre then rushed for two more touchdowns as LIU Post took a commanding 37-9 early in the fourth quarter.
Assumption's Alex Shain capped a 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 37-16, but LIU Post immediately answered on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Kidd to Hubbard. Marc Monks capped the scoring with a 42-yard touchdown run for the Greyhounds, but that was all she wrote as the Pioneers earned the 43-23 win.
Pierre finished with a game-high 108 yards rushing and 248 all-purpose yards in the victory. Senior running back David White was also a 100-yard rusher on the day, totaling 106 yards on the ground. Kidd finished with 203 passing yards and three touchdowns, while Hubbard hauled in seven passes for 100 yards and two scores.
Connor Farrell led the LIU Post defense with nine tackles. Red-shirt junior defensive lineman Anthony DeNunzio collected eight tackles. Red-shirt junior defensive back Jared Chester made seven tackles and recorded an interception. Jarrod Casey led Assumption with 12 tackles, while Levi Fancher had 11 takedowns and Andrew Benson totaled 10 stops. Casey and Benson each recorded an interception for Assumption as well.
Head Coach Bryan Collins and the Pioneers now await word on a potential bid to the NCAA Division II Championship. The selection show will be aired live on Sunday (Nov. 13) at 5 p.m. on NCAA.com. You can view it by clicking here.
Additional information for this release provided by the LIU Post athletic media relations staff.
2016 NE-10 Football All-Championship Team
Jarrod Casey, Assumption
Levi Fancher, Assumpton
Alex Shain, Assumption
Connor Farrell, LIU Post
Shane Hubbard, LIU Post
Jeff Kidd, LIU Post
Malik Pierre, LIU Post
MVP: Malik Pierre, LIU Post
ABOUT THE NORTHEAST-10
The Northeast-10 Conference is an association of 15 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 6,500 student-athletes.
Each year, 4,500 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 24 sports, making the NE-10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.