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LIU Post looks to end skid vs. Southern Connecticut State

LIU Post Pioneers quarterback Yianni Gavalas during

LIU Post Pioneers quarterback Yianni Gavalas during the Stonehill Skyhawks at the LIU Post Pioneers. Sept. 16, 2017. Credit: Lee S Weissman

LIU Post is not used to losing streaks. Before this season, the Pioneers had lost back-to-back football games only once since 2014, and coach Brian Collins believes the team can stop its current two-game skid Saturday against 1-3 Southern Connecticut State.

Collins said the key is quarterback Yianni Gavalas, a graduate student from Manhasset. “I think he’s prepared to lead us to victory,” Collins said.

Despite back-to-back three-touchdown performances, Gavalas also has thrown a total of five interceptions in the two losses, including three in the team’s most recent 54-20 loss to Assumption on Sept. 30.

“We need to start the game strong,” Collins said. “We need to start fast and come out ready.”

Collins said containing quarterback and former Post recruit Raymond Catapano, who has averaged 199 passing yards per game this season and also rushed for 296 yards, will be key for the 3-2 Pioneers. Catapano, from Franklin Square and Carey High School, threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns against Post last season. Running back Eli Parks, who has totaled 292 rushing yards this year, also will be a focal point for the Post defense.

On the offensive side, Gavalas and his teammates could be on the verge of a breakout day. Southern Connecticut has allowed averages of 30.2 points and 346.2 yards per game this year.

And coming off a bye, Gavalas has had plenty of time to clear his mind in hopes of getting back on track.

“It’s been hard waiting a few weeks, but we kind of treated this like a minicamp,” Gavalas said. “We know this is a must-win game.”

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