TROY— The undefeated RPI Enginners faced off against the 4-2 Hobart Statesmen. Although the Statesmen shut the Engineers out last year, the Engineers were able to hold off Hobart in a 31-24 win.
RPI came alive early in the first quarter. On second down, Hobart’s Ryan Hofmann over threw his receiver by a couple of yards, right into the hands of Joey Gutkowski to give RPI the ball. On the first play, George Marinopoulos tossed it to the open Keaton Ackermann on the outside edge who passed it to Conor Davies down the middle for a forty-six yard opening play. The offense couldn’t keep the momentum though, dropping two passes en route to a turnover on downs.
Following a punt by Hobart, the Engineers started their drive at their own thirty-seven yard line. After some big throws from Marinopoulos to Bryce Todd and Keaton Ackermann, and some gains by RPI’s senior back Nick Cella they found themselves at the goal line. Then Nick Cella pushed his way through the loaded line for six points.
The Hobart offense was nonexistent early in the first half. On the Statesmen’s first three drives they gained a total of five yards from scrimmage and no first downs. A big hook up between Hofmann and Ray Conely for fifteen yards set up Hobart to convert another first down and eventually succumb to the RPI defense, settling for a field goal.
Following a Hobart punt, recovered by an RPI defender, RPI had the ball on Hobart’s eighteen yard line with less than a minute left to the half. On the third play of the drive Marinopoulos found Nick Smith wide open in the front of the end zone, putting them up by fourteen at half. The catch was Smith’s team leading third touchdown of the season.
The Engineers continued to carry all of the momentum coming out of halftime. On the kickoff, Conor Davies moved the ball down the left side of the field until being stopped just behind the fifty yard line. A long run down the middle by Nick Cella set Marinopoulos up to find Keaton Ackerman running down the boundary for a touchdown, Marinopoulos’ second of the game.
The Statesmen of Hobart made run to win the game in the second half. Closing in on the end of the third quarter, the backup quarterback David Krewson got the ball to Ray Conely for a touchdown. Two drives later, Ryan Hofmann connected with Ray Conely on a post route for an eleven yard touchdown pass. Now only down one score Hobart’s coach Kevin DeWall elected to perform an onside kick with just under three minutes left in the game. After recovering the kick, RPI was in the wildcat formation with Conor Davies under center. After a couple of plays Davies broke off a forty-five yard run to the end zone, carrying the defender the last six yards.
“We worked with it a lot in practice and I think we ran it one time earlier in the season. But it’s a good weapon to bring out whenever you need it,” said Conor Davies
Hobart’s time for a comeback was running short. With two minutes left in the game, Ryan Hofmann lead a charge downfield of six plays and seventy-nine yards, and he ended it with an eleven yard dime to Matthew Woods. They needed to do another onside kick in order to try and tie the game, but Pat Etter was there to make the catch.
So with the win, RPI will advance to a record of 6-0 with a 2-0 conference record. Also with St Lawrence’s loss today against Union, RPI is the only team with a perfect record in the Liberty League.
“Our motto is stay humble, and stay hungry, coach Isernia said. “Every single week we reset our record. It’s 0-0 and one to go.”