Story and photo courtesy of Widener Athletics
Senior Chris Haupt broke 17th-ranked Widener’s career record for touchdown passes as his team remained undefeated with a 56-20 Middle Atlantic Conference victory over Stevenson at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium.
Haupt fired three touchdown passes on the day and moved his mark to 74, shattering the previous record of 72 held by Mike Granato (1996, ‘98’-00). He also threw for 279 yards and now is second in Pride history with 7,966 yards, trailing only the 8,163 yards tossed by Mike Lomas (2002-05).
Haupt, who completed 15-of-20 passes, needed just one drive to tie the record and give the Pride a 7-0 lead. Widener, which scored touchdowns on its first five possessions, gambled on fourth down and nine at the Stevenson 15 yard line and it paid off when Haupt found sophomore Anthony Davis (Upland, PA) on a touchdown pass just 2:16 in.
The record fell on the next possession on a great play from Davis. He hauled in a pass down the right sideline, avoided several defenders and ran over another at the goal line for a 52-yard scoring play and his 11th touchdown catch this season to make it 14-0.
His touchdowns catches this season are tied for fifth best in school history and helped Widener (6-0, 5-0 MAC) to its best start since opening 12-0 in 2001.
Freshman safety Travon Barnes (Randallstown, MD) forced a fumble on Stevenson’s next possession that sophomore Ameer Sorrell (Port Norris, NJ) recovered at the Mustangs 37 yards line. The five-play drive ended when junior Tevin Campbell (Brookhaven, PA) hooked up with Philip Ragona on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 left in the period for a 21-0 lead.
Another big defensive play set up the next score as Widener junior end Darius Johnson (Baltimore, MD) forced quarterback John Gasparovic to fumble on a sack and senior Chad Gravinese (Mullica Hill, NJ) recovered at the Stevenson 16 yard line. Haupt on the next play found freshman Matthew Locotos (Seaville, NJ) on a touchdown pass with 1:37 to go in the quarter for a 28-0 cushion.
This ended a dominant first quarter in which the Pride owned a 226-105 edge in total offense and completing 9-of-10 passes for 193 yards. Haupt completed 8-of-9 passes in the quarter for 158 yards and Davis had three catches for 75 yards.
Senior Dante Pergolese (Havertown, PA) had two short touchdown runs with freshman Robert Getz (Kunkletown, PA) and sophomore Leroy Wesley (Sharon Hill, PA) each getting one for the Pride, who closed with 524 yards of offense and only had 10 of its 67 plays the entire contest come on either third or fourth down.
Davis, who had two punt returns on the same possession returned for touchdowns called back due to penalties, closed with five receptions for 116 yards.
Johnson ended with seven tackles, Barnes had six to go with two forced fumbles and sophomore Nick Rodriguez (Haddonfield, NJ) added a 43-yard interception return for the Pride, who forced four turnovers.
Gasparovic played admirably, completing 17-of-26 passes for 177 yards and a score. He hooked up with Max Wilson on a three-yard touchdown pass and ran one in himself from two yards.
K.K. Smith had 28 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown pass, hooking up with Jarrett Bragg from five yards on a halfback option for Stevenson (1-5, 1-4).
The win keeps Widener in a first-place tie with Lycoming (5-1, 5-0) atop the MAC. Both teams have a bye next week before facing each other October 20 in Williamsport, starting at 1:30 pm, for the outright lead.