PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Freshman QB Yianni Gavalas (Manhasset, N.Y.) set a new school record for completion percentage and tossed six touchdowns, while the defense piled up a program-best seven interceptions and the offense etched new marks for points and touchdowns scored into the record book, in the Saint Anselm College football team's 63-33 win against Pace University on Saturday afternoon at Pace Field in both teams' regular-season finale.
The Hawks, who rang up nine touchdowns and set records for total points and points in a half (35 in the first), pick up their first win of 2013 to improve to 1-9, including 1-8 in Northeast-10 play. The Setters remain winless at 0-10, 0-9 NE-10.
Gavalas completed 28 of 30 passes (93.3%) to shatter the school's single-game completion percentage mark of 80 percent (16-of-20). He also threw for 316 yards and six touchdowns (one shy of the school record) to pace an offense that did not turn the ball over all day. Junior WRs Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.) and Brandon Gomes (Providence, R.I.) were his two favorite targets of the afternoon. Bernard caught 11 passes for 116 yards and matched his own program mark with three TD snags. Gomes, meanwhile, set personal bests in receptions (8), receiving yards (112) and touchdown catches (2). Senior RB Keith Charles (Laurel, Md.) gave the Hawks a sustained rushing attack with 25 carries for 107 yards and three scores, which matched both the school record and his personal best.
The Saint Anselm defense wiped out the old single-game school record of four interceptions, matched the Northeast-10 record for picks and also matched a program single-game best with the seven takeaways. Junior DB Tyrel McDonald (Leominster, Mass.) equaled the school record with a pair of picks, while senior DL Sam Mullins (Granville, Mass.), junior DBs Joey Polverini (Longmeadow, Mass.) and Matt Yopp (Bristol, Conn.) and freshmen LBs Jeremy Betts (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Ryan Casale (Portland, Maine) each recorded a pick. Freshman DL Kyrell Jaundoo (Cohasset, Mass.) tallied a team-high 10 tackles.
The Hawks struck first less than five minutes into the contest when Gavalas found junior WR Ahkeen Williams (DeWitt, N.Y.) from eight yards out for the score. Sophomore K/P Shane Grayson (Ormond Beach, Fla.), who set a new mark for extra points attempted (8) and matched the record for PATs made (7), tacked on the kick and Saint Anselm led 7-0.
After Atwan Washington's 3-yard run knotted the game at seven with 6:28 to play in the opening quarter, Saint Anselm grabbed the lead for good as Gavalas connected with Gomes on a 32-yard score as time expired to make it 14-7.
Saint Anselm then opened the second-quarter scoring as Charles visited the end zone for the first time with a 5-yard run that opened the lead to 21-7 just 4:35 in. Pace answered right back as Washington's second TD run – this one from a yard out – made it a one-score game with 7:10 to play in the half, but Gomes reeled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Gavalas just 1:14 later to provide the visitors with a 28-14 cushion.
Washington again kept it close, however, as he hit Matt Tarpley for a 23-yard touchdown with 2:26 remaining in the opening half. Saint Anselm's two-minute offense answered back as it marched 72 yards in nine plays and 1:52 as Charles polished it off with a 7-yard scamper that sent the Hawks into the locker room with a 35-21 advantage.
Pace would kick off the second-half scoring 2:45 in with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Washington to Luiz Ribeiro that trimmed the deficit to 35-27 after Paul Aponza's kick was blocked. The rest of the third quarter belonged to Saint Anselm, however, as the visitors received a 14-yard rushing score from Charles, sandwiched in between touchdown grabs of seven and 23 yards by Bernard, to widen the gap to 55-27. Grayson's point-after on Bernard's first score was blocked.
Washington and Tarpley would hook up again on a 6-yard TD with 11:35 to go in the game, but Aponza missed the PAT and the Setters trailed 55-33. The Hawks would close the scoring with 7:59 remaining in the contest when Gavalas threw a 21-yard strike to Bernard and sophomore DB and holder Joel Jorgensen (Eldersburg, Md.) ran in the two-point conversion.
Pace actually outgained Saint Anselm in total offense, 548-438. Rushing yards were even at 122 apiece, while the Setters held a 426-316 advantage through the air.
The ninth-seeded Hawks will close out their season with a Northeast-10 Championship Weekend tilt at sixth-seeded Bentley on Saturday, Nov. 16 at noon. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @STAHawks.