The LIU Post Pioneers had all the momentum early in the fourth quarter of their season-opening game with East Stroudsburg on Saturday afternoon. Then, with a flash, the momentum shifted.
Though this time, the flash wasn't purely metaphorical, it lit up the Brookville sky. A lightning delay came with the Pioneers ahead by 12 points with 11:27 left in the game, halting play for 1 hour, 27 minutes. When action resumed, the tides turned rapidly.
After the delay, the Pioneers allowed 20 unanswered points and fell 43-35 at the newly christened Durrell "Bronko" Pearsall Field at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium.
"The break really killed us," Pioneers receiver Shane Hubbard said.
Hubbard, a redshirt sophomore in his first start, made 10 catches for 142 yards and one touchdown.
A 3-yard TD run by East Stroudsburg quarterback Matt Soltes with 4:40 left put the Warriors up for good, 36-35.
The Pioneers still had a chance in the final minute.
Quarterback Steven Laurino orchestrated a 69-yard drive that brought the Pioneers to the East Stroudsburg 3-yard line, facing third-and-goal with 16 seconds remaining. Two incomplete passes, one intended for Kamron Palmer and the other for James Higgins, effectively ended the game.
"It was a good drive," Laurino said. "It had a lot of bad plays, but we made a few good plays to march down the field. It's a defense that I can easily say we're better than, offensively . . . We had pass interference on the last play, but they're never going to call that."
Laurino was 28-for-43 for 351 yards, threw two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Perhaps the most costly of those interceptions came with 3:58 remaining. On first-and-10 from the Post 44, Laurino threw off his back foot, launching a heave into the arms of Teron Dobbs.
"A running back didn't get into his route," Laurino said. "Pre-snap, we had a coverage that would have given me the running back in the flat. He picked up a blitzer instead of getting into the flat. Because of that, I made a mistake. I sailed it a little high and was a little impatient. I should have hung in there and drilled it."
Three plays later, Soltes found Dusty Reed for a 50-yard touchdown pass to put the Warriors ahead by eight.
"The hardest thing is overcoming a loss when you know you're better than the team," Laurino said. "When you come into a game and get your butt kicked, so be it. But when you play a team you know you're better than and you end up losing, that's hard. But we're going to be fine . . . We go into [Northeast-10] play next week and it's like a fresh season for us."
Notes & quotes: East Stroudsburg receiver Robert Healy, a redshirt sophomore from East Meadow, made four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns.