Yianni Gavalas left Saint Anselm as the football program’s all-time leader in total offense, passing yards and touchdowns.
He will return on Saturday leading an LIU-Post team in desperate need of a victory.
The graduate transfer, who will be honored by his old school before the game, will need to lift his new one to a victory in the regular-season finale for the Pioneers to have a chance to make the Division II Tournament. Post is currently ranked 10th in their super region, but will need to get into the top seven to qualify for the postseason.
“I’m sure it’s going to be an emotional day for him, but we’re having fun with Yianni this week,” coach Bryan Collins said. “We played against him for many years and now he’s on the other end, playing for us and doing very well.”
Gavalas has thrown for 2,831 yards and 34 touchdowns and is completing more than 71 percent of his passes.
“He’s having a heck of a year,” Collins said. “I think it’s been difficult for him to come to a new team and an established program as a one-year guy but he’s handled it tremendously. He picked up the offense and is a leader, which is tough to do on a senior-laden team. He’s very calm and poised and that’s allowed him to make very good decisions.”
Post (7-2, 6-2 in the NE-10) will presumably need to win and get help in the form of losses from the teams ranked ahead of them, but is coming into Saturday’s game with a full head of steam. The Pioneers have won four straight games and have averaged 53 points per contest during this stretch.
“There are certainly some things that can happen with those teams that are ranked above us this weekend, but the first thing is making sure we win this game,” Collins said.
Saint Anselm (1-7, 1-8) has struggled without Gavalas and is averaging 13.1 points per game and allowing 35.8.
Said Collins of his Pioneers: “This team has played good football all season. I’m proud of this group and I think this team is a championship-caliber team. If we get in the playoffs, we can do some damage.”