MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team finished out the 2019 season with a convincing 61-23 victory over the Greyhounds from Assumption College on Saturday at Grappone Stadium.
Using the second-most points scored in any game in the Hawks 21-year modern day football history, Saint Anselm finishes 2019 with a 4-7 overall record alongside a Northeast-10 Conference record of 4-4. The four overall victories are the most in a season for the Hawks since 2014 and the squad's four conference victories come only one shy of matching the team's all-time record.
The Hawks knocked off two of the top teams in the NE10 this season, according to the league's annual Preseason Coaches' Poll. New Haven, toppled by Saint Anselm by a 37-31 score on Oct. 12, was projected to finish atop the conference standings with Assumption right behind in second place. Cumulatively, Saint Anselm defeated three of the league's top five programs in 2019.
The Saint Anselm offense threw for over 3,200 yards in 2019, the fourth-most in team history, and the team's 23 passing touchdowns in 2019 are the third-most in single-season team annals. Averaging just shy of 300 passing yards per game, Saint Anselm scored over 300 points for just the third time in team history.
After losing at Assumption earlier in the season in a non-league game by a 54-23 score, the Hawks left no doubt on Saturday, racking up 721 yards of total offense, the second-most in any game in program history. Saint Anselm averaged 9.7 yards per play, setting a team record, and the Hawks scored nine touchdowns which stands as the most all-time in one contest.
The Hawks took command of the game with five touchdowns on the team's first six offensive possessions and never looked back. Saint Anselm owned the ball for over 35 minutes of action, including 21 minutes in the second half of play alone. The Hawks defeated Assumption for the first time since Sept. 11, 2004 and logged 1,184 yards of total offense against the Greyhounds in two games this year.
Senior quarterback Eric Fairweather (Londonderry, N.H.) finished his career at Saint Anselm with a bang, gaining 13.3 yards per attempt (team record) while completing 26-of-34 passes for a career-high 453 total yards (third-most all-time). Fairweather's 76.5% pass completion percentage was a personal record and he also generated 152 yards of rushing offense, sprinting home for two touchdowns.
With 605 offensive yards gained by Fairweather (second all-time in one game), he concludes his stellar Saint Anselm career ranked first all-time with 34 career rushing touchdowns. Listed second all-time in rushing yards (2,225), his 6,110 passing yards are the third-most in a Saint Anselm career. He had a hand in 79 touchdowns across his career, the all-time team record.
Senior Shawn Donovan (Abington, Mass.) had his second three-touchdown game of the year, making seven catches for a career-high 184 yards (sixth-most all-time). He recorded touchdown catches of both 79 and 65 yards and opened the contest with a 10-yard reception from Fairweather. His nine touchdown catches in 2019 are the fourth-most by a Hawks student-athlete in one season.
Freshman JC King (Fall River, Mass.) matched Donovan and the team's all-time single game record with three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving. In only his third career game, King broke out with 94 receiving and 65 rushing yards for 159 total yards.
Junior Joey Cody (Cinnaminson, N.J.) had seven extra points in the game, matching the team's single-game record, and the Hawks recorded 10 kick returns, the most in a single game in team history. He has helped the team average 37.83 yards per punt in 2019, setting the single-season team record in that statistic.
Senior CJ Miller (Clinton, Md.) posted 17 total tackles, setting a single-game personal high mark and ranking sixth all-time in the team's single-game history. He led the way with two sacks and had two quarterback hurries against the Greyhounds. His 135 unassisted tackles from 2016-19 is ranked fifth all-time and his 30 tackles for a combined loss of 154 yards places him eighth all-time in Hawks history.
Saint Anselm opened the game with back-to-back passing touchdowns from Fairweather to Donovan, opening up a 13-0 lead. Brevin Easton countered for Assumption with a 47-yard touchdown score, but the Hawks tacked on the next two touchdowns, the first coming on a Fairweather seven-yard sprint and the second coming on a King reception that totaled 47 yards.
Ahead 27-7 with 9:59 to go in the first half, Assumption added three points on a 20-yard field goal by Conor Hickey prior to Donovan's third touchdown reception on the next Hawks offensive drive. Saint Anselm went into the break with a 34-10 advantage, thanks to 479 total yards of offense in the first half. The Hawks averaged 14.5 yards per play in the opening 30 minutes.
The Greyhounds would not go quietly, receiving the second half kick and scoring only 1:57 in thanks to a Carlins Platel fumble recovery touchdown. The Hawks punched right back, using a 42-yard touchdown pass by freshman wide receiver Anthony Brown (Belton, Texas) that found the hands of senior Franklin Holgate (Easton, Mass.).
Assumption scored their last touchdown of the day on the very next offensive sequence as Khaleed Exum-Strong capped a four-play, 52-yard drive with an eight-yard rushing score to cut the Hawks lead to 41-23 with 11:05 left in the third quarter.
From that point on, King added two additional rushing touchdowns and Fairweather's last offensive play as a Hawks student-athlete was a 26-yard rushing score to set the final score at 61-23. The Hawks defense forced three punts, a fumble and an interception on the last five Assumption drives and made the guests punt a total of seven times in the game.
Junior Ryan Sullivan (Stoughton, Mass.) had 11 tackles on the day for the Hawks, adding a sack for four yards. Senior Rob Green (Malden, Mass.) posted an interception and a team-leading three pass breakups for Saint Anselm and junior Luke Hufnagle (Peabody, Mass.) and sophomore Chance Clency (High Point, N.C.) had fumble recoveries for the Hawks. Sophomore Aidan Gillis (Marblehead, Mass.) also forced a fumble for Saint Anselm in the victory.
Jordan McAfee was 8-for-20 under center for Assumption, throwing for only 81 yards – 47 of those came on one passing play. Exum-Strong and Doug Santos each logged 97 rushing yards and Easton's 47-yard touchdown reception was the most yardage by a Greyhounds wide out. Calvin Milliner had a team-leading nine tackles for Assumption.