With the running game underperforming for LIU Post’s football team, if the Pioneers were going to make a fourth-quarter comeback, it was up to quarterback Yianni Gavalas.
Gavalas was ready for the challenge.
The senior quarterback from Manhasset led LIU Post to a 35-34 victory at host University of New Haven in Northeast-10 football yesterday, orchestrating a 13-play, 83-yard drive in 3:55 and finding Derick Eugene for a 1-yard touchdown with 4:07 remaining to give the Pioneers the one-point lead.
Gavalas finished 41 of 54 for 405 yards and four touchdowns, finding Malik Pierre for 96 yards on 10 receptions and Eugene for 90 yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions.
New Haven didn’t make the final four minutes easy for LIU Post. The Chargers drove 61 yards, with a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line with 51 seconds remaining. The Pioneers’ defense held New Haven to only one more yard, and kicker Danny Stock sent a 27-yard field goal wide left as time expired to allow LIU Post to hold on to the win.
LIU Post (2-0, 1-0 NE-10) took a 7-3 first-quarter lead on Pierre’s 1-yard touchdown run to cap off a 12-play, 65-yard drive. After New Haven’s touchdown less than two minutes into the second quarter, LIU Post didn’t regain the lead until Deon Mash’s 21-yard touchdown from Gavalas.
Gavalas completed 41 passes to 10 different receivers, including six players catching multiple passes. The Pioneers had 28 first downs compared to New Haven’s 24 but New Haven outgained LIU Post in yards, 479-454. New Haven held a significant advantage on the ground, totaling 169 yards and averaging 5 yards per rush compared to LIU Post’s 49 yards and 2 yards per carry, but Gavalas made up the difference in the passing attack.
LIU Post, ranked No. 10 in the American Football Coaches’ Association Division II Top-25 poll after a 42-13 opening victory over Virginia Union, hosts Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Saturday at 1 p.m.
Nassau Community College fell, 36-7, at home against Monroe yesterday. After the only score in the first half came for Monroe via a safety, the Tribunes scored a 72-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half and Monroe took a 23-0 lead after the third quarter.
Nassau (1-1) scored its lone touchdown on Khalil Trotman’s 13-yard run with 34 seconds remaining in the game. The Lions play at Navy Prep, Saturday at 2 p.m.