CORNING - The Hawks excited the home crowd with a long pass play late in the game - but came up short on the scoring drive in their 14-7 loss to Vestal Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Trailing by seven and facing a 3rd-and-15 play from its own 2-yard line in the fourth quarter, Corning quarterback Blake VanWoert connected on a 57-yard pass play to Cian Collins with less than three minutes remaining in the contest.
Corning got the ball to the Vestal 18, but couldn't connect on its final two tries and fell to 0-3 on the season.
Vestal drew first blood on its second possession of the first quarter as Devon Brown returned a Hawks punt 50 yards to the Corning 17. Brown followed that up with an 11-yard carry on the ensuing play to put the Golden Bears on Corning’s 6-yard line.
The Hawks defense held, but Vestal’s Mason Mabee connected on a 22-yard field goal with 4:42 remaining in the opening quarter.
Corning, which ran its option attack out of the shotgun formation in the first quarter, was stopped on its first two possessions.
Following an 11-yard pickup by Jason Rodriguez on the final play of the quarter, Corning tightened up its double-wing formation and began moving the ball.
Rodriguez and Cian Collins combined for 16 of the Hawks’ 17 plays in its first-half scoring drive that covered 86 yards. Collins rushed six times for 45 yards, while Rodriguez finished the drive with a 5-yard carry with 4:31 left in the half. A Seth Hogue PAT put the Hawks up 7-3.
Corning began the second half with the ball, but a fumble set up Vestal's next score - a 23-yard field goal by Maybee. Vestal's game-winning TD drive came on its next possession as the Golden Bears went 55 yards on five plays, including a 27-yard touchdown run by Matt Thrasher.
Thrasher finished with 72 yards on the ground to lead Vestal. Corning was led by 68 yards on the ground by Collins and 67 by Rodriguez.