A meeting with non-conference Mercyhurst yesterday was supposed to assuage the wounds of a punishing loss to nationally ranked California (Pa.) a week ago.
"I guess you could say we almost looked past them,'' linebacker Sean Smith said after Mercyhurst stunned Post, 28-20. "We were ready for a 2-1 record. They came with some different formations that we weren't ready for, we didn't make plays we needed to, we missed some tackles. We didn't play a good game, we didn't play our game.''
The Pioneers are 1-2 with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference schedule beginning next week at Shippensburg.
The latest loss magnified deficiencies on offense, defense and special teams. While Post quarterback Erik Anderwkavich ran for 160 yards and a touchdown and also completed 16 of 28 passes for 209 yards and two TDs, he was intercepted four times.
"I just didn't execute,'' Anderwkavich said. "I made lot of bad reads out there.''
Anderwkavich was picked off three times in the first half. Mercyhurst (2-1) couldn't capitalize on the first two, but with the scored tied at 7, Julius McCormack made a pick with 50 seconds left on Post's 26-yard line. Mercyhurst then took a 14-7 lead at halftime as Garrett Kensy found Ryan Bartizal for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Post scored first on Anderwkavich's 23-yard scoring pass to Sean Persch that was preceded by Chris Dilorio's interception of Kensy. A 9-yard run by Kensy had accounted for the Lakers' first touchdown.
The defense wasn't up to the task when Lakers running back Gerald Anderson scored on a 65-yard run on the second play of the third quarter to make it 21-7. Post closed to within 21-13 on Anderwkavich's 2-yard scoring run with 9:42 left.
But Anderson's 6-yard run with 4:21 left put the game out of reach at 28-13. Anderson totaled 205 yards.
Toward the end of the first half and down 14-7, Pioneers' coach Bryan Collins decided to punt on fourth-and-inches from Post's own 46-yard line. It seemed that he had seen enough turnovers and broken plays on offense and wanted to make sure Mercyhurst would not take over in Post territory.
"These guys that come off the field upset that we're not going for it at fourth and half a yard,'' he said. "Let's get it done on third down so we're not in that position."