It may have been a rematch of last season’s Northeast-10 Championship game, but time made quite a difference.
With rain falling throughout most of the afternoon at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium, the LIU Post football team’s performance appeared just as gloomy in Saturday’s 54-20 rout at the hands of Assumption.
The Pioneers defeated Assumption 43-23 last November to clinch the 2016 NE-10 title.
Pioneers (3-2, 2-2 NE-10) head coach Brian Collins was so displeased by his team’s effort that he said a total evaluation would be forthcoming.
“There’s nothing good that came out of that,” Collins said. “We have to totally evaluate what we’re doing. Every player, every coach, every scheme we do, how we dress, how we practice — everything’s got to be evaluated after that.”
Collins added that starting quarterback Yianni Gavalas, who completed 21 of 35 passes for 208 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions, would not be excluded from the process. Collins then clarified that a quarterback change was not imminent.
“I’m not saying people are being replaced, it’s just how we’re doing things,” Collins said.
Gavalas said the rainy conditions were no excuse for his struggles. His central focus, however, remains on guiding his team through its current two-game losing streak entering next week’s bye.
“This is on me as the leader of the team and the quarterback,” Gavalas said. “We just have to stick together and get ready for a tough Southern Connecticut team.”
The Pioneers dug their insurmountable hole in the first half, which began with Assumption quarterback Malik Monks diving over the defensive line on 4th and goal from the goal line 3:32 into the first quarter. He completed 12 of 28 passes for two touchdowns and an interception, and also tacked on 45 rushing yards and a touchdown carry on seven attempts.
Receiver Sam Blake sprinted down the sideline toward the end of the quarter, evading two tackles on a 73-yard touchdown reception to give Assumption (5-0, 4-0 NE-10) a 14-0 lead.
After allowing two more touchdowns and two field goals, Post entered halftime trailing a woeful 33-0. The Pioneers surrendered 350 yards of offense on 52 plays over the first two quarters, with 140 coming on the ground. Dylan Oxsen was a force, gashing the Post defense for 101 of his 144 rushing yards.
Post desperately searched for offensive production in the opening half, picking up a mere two first downs and only 26 yards on 36 plays. Gavalas completed just 3 of 9 passes for eight yards and threw an interception.
Top Post running back Malik Pierre was held to just 68 yards rushing.
After two second half picks, Gavalas tossed three unanswered touchdowns to cut the Post deficit to 47-20.
Although Assumption continued piling on the points, Gavalas downplayed the rematch of last season’s NE-10 title game earlier in the week, and didn’t believe Assumption’s desire to take down Post was related to earning redemption nearly 10 months later.
“Everyone’s gunning for the defending champions in every sport, in every game,” Gavalas said. “We know every team will give us their best.”