It is early in the college football season, but this was the game of the year for LIU Post as it hosted 11th ranked Bloomsburg. This is likely the sixth and final season that Post will compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
This one was for first place.
With both teams entering the game at 2-0, beating Bloomsburg would have put Post in a significant position to win the PSAC East and make strides toward an NCAA Division II bid. "I took it as a championship game," Post defensive back Donovan Edwards said. "Whoever wins, top of the conference."
Edwards, with two interceptions, had one of the best games of his career, but Post fell, 42-27, as its offense went cold after rallying to take the lead in the third quarter. With the score tied at 21, Edwards picked off Bloomsburg quarterback Tom Kelly, giving Post the ball on the Bloomsburg 30 with 2:10 left in the third. On the fifth play of the drive, quarterback Steven Laurino connected on 21-yard touchdown pass to his brother, Grayson, and Post had its first lead of the game.
"We could have blown the game open, Bloomsburg would have just been on their backs," Steven Laurino said. Instead, Bloomsburg came right back, and kept coming for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Fisher's third touchdown catch, this one for 60 yards, gave Bloomsburg a 28-27 advantage and Post's offense had no response, going three and out for four straight possessions. "It goes from blown open to a three and out," Laurino said. "Next thing you know they have the ball back and they score. That's football."
Running back Anthony Brunetti added, "We just couldn't get anything going, we just couldn't move the ball. But we got a lot of positives we are going to carry it with us." Brunetti gained 73 yards on 11 carries.
Laurino rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown and, despite playing with a broken right thumb on his throwing hand, was 14-for-29 for 141 yards and threw two touchdowns.
Every PSAC game for the Pioneers is key as the conference appears headed to an all-Pennsylvania slate of teams after this season. Post has been an associate member for football. "If they are going to kick you out, of course you want to go out on top," Laurino said.
Post will have to figure out where it will play next season.
"Right now we are concentrating on having a winning season," provost Paul Forestel said in a statement. "We have not yet been officially notified of the PSAC's vote on our continued participation. We are exploring options and are confident we will find a permanent conference for our teams. We remain focused on our scholar-athletes and are excited about playing in our new stadium set to open in the Fall of 2013."