Post University football earns first win as a Division II program

The Post University football team trailed Franklin Pierce University by 10 points at around the midway point of the third quarter of Saturday’s Division II game in Rindge, N.H.

For a team that hadn’t won a game in its Division II history (0-16), that deficit could seem insurmountable. On one run, Isaiah Emmanuel turned the momentum in the Eagles’ direction, and they never looked back.

Emmanuel went 76 yards for a touchdown a mere 19 seconds after a Franklin Post touchdown to cut the Post deficit to four points. The Eagles continued their comeback and won, 16-13. The win was the first in the history of Post football’s Division II program.

Simon Burkett and Joshua Tracey completed the Eagle comeback when they connected for a 63-yard touchdown with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter. Aden Caine’s extra point put Post ahead, 16-13. 

Imeer Johnson made the defensive play of the game on the preceding Franklin Pierce possession when he forced a fumble after a 17-yard run by Remeillo Hyde. The fumble was recovered by Sabayan Schmitz at the Eagle 37 with 4:46 to go. Burkett and Tracey connected for their touchdown on the first play of the ensuing drive. Tracey made a terrific over-the-shoulder grab of Burkett’s deep ball at the Franklin Pierce 32 and raced the rest of the way down the Raven sideline for Post’s go-ahead score.

Franklin Pierce got to Post’s 26-yard line in the final minute, but a rush for no gain and a pair of incompletions brought a timeout with 18 seconds to play. On 4th and 10 from the 26, a Raven pass fell incomplete, and the Eagles had clinched their first Division II victory.

Caine made an 18-yard field goal with 14:54 left in the second quarter for a 3-0 Post lead. Franklin Pierce scored on a six-yard Alex Benitez run and Nolan Startzell extra point for a 7-3 lead with 10:08 to go until halftime. The teams went into their locker rooms with the score still 7-3. Benitez scored again from a yard out with 8:02 left in the third quarter for a 13-3 Raven advantage.

Emmanuel led Post with 160 yards rushing on 14 carries. Michael Gabettie had a monster game on defense with 17 total tackles, including 16 solo. Albert Curran forced a fumble that was recovered by Jah-Quinn Wembley. Zachary Jones and Jaylen Kelley also recovered fumbles.

The locals: Waterbury natives Dre Yeldell and Rashaun Mitchell each played on defense for Post. Yeldell had a solo tackle while Mitchell assisted on a tackle. Fellow Waterbury natives Matt Velasquez, RJ Damato and Jeremiah Mahlori are also listed on the roster.