An Extra, Extra Bad Loss

Instead of following up their incredible upset victory over St. Peter’s with a convincing win on Saturday, the St. John’s football team suffered their most heartbreaking defeat of the season.

“Last week’s win was two steps forward, and while this is not a step back it is a step in the same place,” St. John’s Head Coach Bob Ricca said. “We need to continue to take steps forward if we want to improve.”

The Saints of Siena defeated the Storm, 20-19, ending any hope of St. John’s finishing the season with a .500 record.

“It was definitely a heartbreaking defeat,” Ricca said. “Both teams played a high-spirited, competitive game but sometimes the breaks don’t go your way.”

The Red Storm (2-6, 2-4 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) battled back from a 20-7 deficit to score two touchdowns in the second half, but on both scores senior kicker Tom Gavenonis, who had yet to miss a field goal this season, missed both extra points to hand the Saints a fortunate win.

“We’ll take the win any way we can get it,” Siena Head Coach Jay Bateman said following the contest. “The kids have played hard all season and deserve the opportunity to play for a .500 record.”

Siena got on the scoreboard with a first quarter field goal by Charles Conklin, giving the Saints an early lead.

But that was only until St. John’s scored with five minutes left in the half.

Quarterback Matt Millheiser connected with receiver Alicio Metellus on an 11-yard strike following an eight play, 49-yard drive.

Millheiser finished the day with 168 yards and two scores.

“I was impressed with the leadership of Matt Millheiser throughout the game,” Ricca said. “He made sure the team hung in there all day and rallied the troops in the end.”

However, as has happened several times this season, the Red Storm defense gave up a quick score, as Siena quarterback Christian Karolus threw a 40-yard pass to receiver Pat McCormack to tie the game at 10 apiece.

The Saints added a field goal to take a 13-10 lead at halftime.

Following a quick third quarter score on a two-yard run by Saints running back Sal Jeraci, Siena took a 20-7 lead.

However, St. John’s did not go down without a fight.

With just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter, St. John’s running back Matt McGuire scored on a 13-yard run following an impressive 11-play, 62-yard drive.

However, the extra point was no good, giving the Saints a 20-13 lead.

McGuire ended the game with 28 yards on 12 carries.

Both team’s defenses held each other scoreless for the majority of the second half until the Storm put together a crucial nine play, 39-yard drive with just minutes remaining in the game.

“The defense played exceptionally well in the second half after the quick score by Siena to start the third quarter,” Ricca said.

On fourth and two from the five-yard line with 3:07 to play, Millheiser found wide receiver Matt May in the left corner of the end zone where May made a spectacular leaping catch for a touchdown.

St. John’s closed the gap to 20-19 and went for the tie, but Gavenonis missed the extra point wide right to end any hopes of a comeback bid.

The Red Storm will look to bounce back against Fairfield with a new goal in mind – finish the season only one game under .500.