Third Time a Charm as Castronova-Hawthorne Combo Proves Too Much for Golden Eagles

Third Time a Charm as Castronova-Hawthorne Combo Proves Too Much for Golden Eagles

The Erie Community College football team put together its first win streak of the season with its second-consecutive road win. The Kats came from behind to defeat Brockport JV, 42-28, Sept. 25 at Bob Boozer Field.

With each team claiming the lead on two separate occasions through the first three quarters, the Kats' offense exploded with 15 fourth-quarter points, while the defense shut the door as the game's fifth and final lead change favored Erie, who dominated the fourth quarter both offensively and defensively for the win.

Trailing by just a point at 28-27 at the beginning of the final quarter, the Kats needed just 99 seconds to pull away for good via Sam Castronova's fourth touchdown throw of the game, a 4-yarder to Stephon Hawthorne.

It was the duo's third touchdown connection of the game and each time the result put the Kats in the lead. In the first quarter, the pair combined on a 54-yard TD to extend Erie's lead to 13-0. Then with just 96 seconds left in the first half, both hooked up on a 62-yard scoring play to take a 27-21 lead at the intermission.

Hawthorne finished the game with 123 yards off four catches as Erie's top receiver. Castronova combined for 280 total yards and was in on five touchdown plays. In addition to the three touchdown throws to Hawthorne, Castronova also connected with Anthony Stitt for a 12-yard touchdown strike. The Williamsville South grad also opened the scoring with a 6-yard run and finished the game with 64 rushing yards off eight carries, while adding 216 yards through the air on 14 completions. The yardage total and touchdowns allowed Castronova to become the first Kat signal caller to net over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdown throws over a career at ECC.

Nehemiah Stone led all Kat rushers with 135 yards on the ground that included a 72-yard touchdown run to close out the game's scoring with 2:20 left to seal the win.

The offense netted 462 yards in a balanced attack that saw only a 30-yard differential between its rushing output of 246 and passing of 216. The offensive line did not allow Castronova to be sacked and helped the team convert six third-downs at a 40-percent efficiency.

The defense was led up front by John Pope, who had a game-high 13 tackles (11 solo) with a pair of sacks and three tackles for loss. In the backfield, the defense was led by Christian Cheatom, who had a pair of interceptions, a couple of pass breakups, and four tackles (three solo).

In all, the Kats registered six sacks and four interceptions. Kerrell Johnson had one of those picks to go with seven tackles (six solo), while Alonzo Turney had the other interception with a return of 25 yards. In addition to Pope's two, four other Kats had single sacks that included D'Andre Jenkins (five tackles), Al-Tron Webb (four tackles), Gary Harris (three tackles), and Nick Perrine.

After putting up 20 or more points in its first two games this season, Erie scored more points in this game those first pair of games combined, and now average nearly 30 points-per-game. The team will need that type of offensive thrust as they next face nationally-ranked Lackawanna College, Sat., Oct 1 at West Herr Stadium for Military Appreciation Day. No. 4 Lackawanna (4-0) has averaged nearly 55 points-per-game and is the second-highest scoring team in the nation behind No. 3 Tyler Junior College. The game will be the next-to-last home contest of the season and the lone home game in October.