The football team lost a nail-biter this afternoon at Butterfield Stadium, falling to the St. John Fisher Cardinals (4—1, 2—0) in overtime by a score of 13-10.
The Bombers held the Cardinals to an overtime field goal, but senior Andrew Rogowski had his 35-yard attempt blocked to end the game. St. John Fisher had previously blocked a 29-yarder with 5:26 left in the 4th quarter.
Junior quarterback Ryan Kramer was a dual threat for the Cardinals, running 19 times for 100 yards and passing for another 150 yards through the air. He said though he had a solid performance, it was the defense that was the key to victory.
“Our defense held us in there,” he said. “Our offense — we got the ball down the field we just couldn’t put it in the end zone. We just kept with it, we knew our defense would make stops and we came out on top.”
St. John Fisher made big plays in crucial moments. Junior defensive back Troy Sant had two interceptions – one that came when the Bombers had moved the ball inside the red zone. Additionally, the Cardinals scored the sole touchdown of the game on a 42-yard gadget play in which senior wide receiver Ryan Schmidt threw a pass to to senior wide receiver Ryan Francis. Francis caught 10 passes for 118 yards in the game.
Bombers junior quarterback Jason Hendel went 17 for 27 for 212 yards and three interceptions. He also added 84 yards on the ground with one touchdown. Junior wide receiver Joseph Ingrao caught seven balls for 95 yards.
The Bombers played solid defense throughout the game. Senior linebacker Joe Gilfedder led the game with 12 tackles and senior linebacker Eric Toporoff added 11 tackles. The Bombers were aided by interceptions from sophomore linebacker Jake Santora and senior safety Kevin Cline.
The game was played remarkably even – the Cardinals possessed the ball for just 10 seconds longer than the Bombers and each team moved the ball more than 300 yards. But, as sophomore running back Sal Sulla said, it was minor mistakes that turned the game.
“We knew it was going to a battle like this the whole week,” Sulla said. “A few turnovers, that’s what killed us. A few penalties. We were right there and just lost it at the end.”
Sulla ran for 55 yards on 14 carries in the loss.
The college honored the 1991 football team, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of their national championship season that ended with a 34-20 victory against Dayton University, in a halftime ceremony. The alumni spoke to the current team Friday night and before this afternoon’s game. Junior safety Josh Liemer said the team’s extra motivation was helpful during the contest.
“The captain from the team was on the sideline and he was really picking us up,” he said. “If anything went wrong he was just telling us, ‘keep playing, keep playing.’”
Though the Blue and Gold have not defeated the Cardinals in six seasons, the all-time series between the two teams stands at 7—7. Kramer said though the game was not pretty, the Cardinals were happy to get the conference victory.
“A win is a win,” he said. “There’s no easy games in the Empire 8. We got Ithaca, we knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew it was going to be a war and we came out on top.”
The Bombers return to action at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Springfield College.