Lakers Take Niagara Cup With 24-22 Win over Gannon

Mercyhurst wins annual PSAC west rivalry game for second straight year

ERIE, Pa. - The Mercyhurst football team celebrated its Homecoming weekend with a 24-22 win over cross-town rival Gannon on Saturday at Tullio Field.

Laker quarterback Doug Altavilla passed for one touchdown and threw for another. He completed 16 of 26 passes for 306 yards. His leading receiver was wide-out Zach Smith, who made six grabs for 132 yards. Wide receiver Brad Novak added three catches for 88 yards and one touchdown.

Also for the Mercyhurst offense, running back Garrett Owens ran 20 times for 89 yards and one TD.

On defense, linebacker Chris Peluso led the way with 13 total tackles, including one sack. Linebacker Alex Zacharyasz and defensive backs Tarique Ellis and Jake Tarasovitch contributed nine tackles apiece.

Defensive back Dante' Redwood had an interception.

For Gannon, running back Marc Jones had 24 carries for 154 yards and one TD while quarterback Jimmy Keefe completed 17 of 33 throws for 220 yards, one touchdown and one intereception.

The GU defense was led by linebacker Geremy Paige, who recorded nine total tackles, including a half-sack.

After building a 21-10 halftime lead, the Lakers held off a late push from the visiting Golden Knights.

Owens had a 42-yard touchdown run to put Mercyhurst ahead in the first quarter before Gannon answered its 7-0 deficit.

Wide receiver Tyler Palka had a 3-yard TD run and kicker Karch Holland converted a 23-yard field goal as the Knights snagged its only lead at 10-7 in the second quarter.

Mercyhurst then closed the half with two touchdowns in the final 3:46 to take an 11-point lead. Novak caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Altavilla and then Altavilla himself scored on a 1-yard dive. Altavilla's scored was set up by a 43-yard hookup from Altavilla to Smith, which got the Lakers down to the GU 2-yard-line.

Gannon finally answered on a 3-yard TD run by Jones in the third quarter, trimming the Knights' deficit to 21-16.

A 22-yard field goal by Mark Schafer pushed the Mercyhurst lead top 24-16 before GU wide receiver Dontae Owens caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Keefe. The Knights' ensuing two-point try was unsuccessful, leaving the Lakers with a 24-22 advantage.

Mercyhurst drove down the field after that, getting as far as the Gannon 19 before turning the ball over on downs. The Laker defense then forced a turnover-on-downs by Gannon, essentially finishing off its rivals.

The Lakers (3-2, 2-0) will welcome nationally-ranked Slippery Rock to Tullio Field in their next game. The contest will happen on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 12 p.m.


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