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LIU Post gets rolling in second half, romps past AIC

LIU Post quarterback Chris Laviano carries the football

LIU Post quarterback Chris Laviano carries the football against American International College during the Pioneers' 33-8 season-opening victory on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

There was never any panic or worry for the LIU Post defense Saturday.

It was only a matter of time before the Pioneers offense started to click,  defensive lineman Kevin Petit-Frere thought to himself

“We kept our composure as a defensive unit,” said Petit-Frere, a grad student who had nine tackles. “It just took a little bit. We knew they [the offense] were going to get it going in the second half.”

Petit-Frere was correct. The Pioneers’ offense scored 30 second-half points, and their defense limited American International College to nine first downs and forced four turnovers as LIU Post won its Northeast-10 and season opener, 33-8, before a home crowd of 1,386.

“[Our defense is] smart, and I thought they played excellent,” said Pioneers head coach Bryan Collins, whose unit allowed AIC only 201 yards of total offense. “The one thing I was really pleased about was the turnovers we created.”

Post defensive back Kasim Thomas intercepted an AIC pass on the first play of the second half. But the Pioneers managed just 12 yards and settled for Joey Tolgyesi’s second field goal of the game, this one 32 yards, as Post led 6-0. (Tolgyesi nailed a 49-yarder for the only points of the first half.)

After a three-and-out by AIC (the Pioneers’ D did that six times on the day), Post traveled 94 yards on 14 plays capped by a 1-yard plunge by Tim Marinan (10 carries, 39 yards).

On AIC’s next possession, Post’s Jake Carlock forced a fumble that was recovered by Abdoulaye Konate (10 tackles) at the AIC 35.

The Pioneers needed just one play to find the end zone, as redshirt senior quarterback Chris Laviano hit Deon Mash on a beautiful go route. Tolgyesi’s extra point gave Post a 20-0 lead with 1:08 left in the third quarter.

Laviano, who played at Rutgers from 2014-16 and also had a stint at San Diego State, saw his first game action since Oct. 15, 2016, a 24-7 Rutgers home loss against Illinois.

The former Holy Trinity standout was 8-for-16 in the first half for 63 yards with two interceptions. But Laviano and the Pioneers settled in during the second half with help from the defense. Former Sachem East product Connor Farrell intercepted an AIC pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and the rout was on.

Laviano finished 14-for-24 for 156 yards with a touchdown and two picks. He added 12 carries for 50 yards. Malik Pierre led Post with 61 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

“I grew up right across the street from here, so it’s definitely special,” Laviano said. “I couldn’t be in a better place right now, and we couldn’t be in a better place than 1-0 right now.”

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