I threw a pick early, but it didn't matter. We went out the next possession, and we just did what we do. —Snow QB Christian Stewart
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Christian Stewart probably couldn't have started much worse in the final game of his Snow College career.
But the redshirt sophomore quarterback couldn't have finished much better, either.
Stewart, a former BYU walk-on, missed his first three pass attempts but finished with 283 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception as the NJCAA-ranked No. 3 Badgers (11-1) won the inaugural Carrier Dome Bowl with a 47-21 win over No. 4 ASA College (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
"What happens in the past doesn't matter," said Stewart, who was named the event's offensive most valuable player. "I threw a pick early, but it didn't matter. We went out the next possession, and we just did what we do."
Damond Powell caught three passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, and Evan Moeai and Lowry Akers each added a score for Snow College.
Stewart's toss to Powell, a 74-yard dagger with 10:03 remaining in the first half, saw the sophomore receiver grab the ball through his defender before rumbling into the end zone.
"We've been doing this all year," Powell said of his connection with Stewart. "He's a great quarterback, and he gets it to all our receivers. It's not just me; I was just one of those guys who was open tonight, and he gave me a chance to make a play."
On his fourth pass attempt of the game, Stewart found tight end Evan Moeai for a 26-yard completion, and the Badgers rolled from there — despite an interception that set up the Avengers' first-quarter touchdown.
After allowing a first-quarter touchdown on Hosey Williams' 1-yard plunge up the middle with four seconds left in the opening quarter, the Badgers clamped down and continuously pressured ASA quarterback Daniel Pietrangelo, who finished 7 for 19 for 65 yards and three interceptions.
"Our guys were getting off the ball real well," Snow College head coach Tyler Hughes said of his defense. "We preached all week about trying to set the attitude and the tempo of the game, and that's what they did, in particular in the second and third quarters.
"We were able to get to the quarterback, and make things go faster than they wanted to go."
An interception by Shawn Sharkey with less than two minutes to play in the first half helped give the Badger defense momentum, and Dalton Brady and Zac Christian each added a pick in the third quarter.
"We had great preparation," said defensive lineman Jake Miller, who had six tackles, a sack and 1 1/2 tackles for loss en route to defensive MVP honors. "We don't get scared of people who put up a lot of points."
The 6-1, 200-pound Stewart added a 15-yard scoring strike to Akers with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter as the Badgers overwhelmed the Avengers (9-1).
Redshirt freshman kicker Spencer Groner made field goals of 43 and 24 yards for Snow College, and Levi Thompson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone that put the Badgers ahead, 47-7 at the start of the fourth quarter.
ASA backup quarterback Evan Pittman completed 8 of 12 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Pittman connected with Dahon Taylor with a 6-yard TD pass, and added an 18-yard strike to Ouslet Volcy with 21 seconds left in the game.
Volcy finished with 72 yards on four receptions for ASA.
The Avengers, who were playing in the first-ever bowl game after the team's founding in 2009, averaged 50 points per game during a regular season that saw them win the Northeast Football Conference.1 comment on this story
The Western States Football League champion Badgers, playing in a bowl game for the 10th straight year, used their veteran experience to clamp down after finishing the first quarter tied at 7-7.
"The whole time, we've felt really privileged to be here," Hughes said after a myriad of celebratory snapshots, smiles and trophy presentations. "It's a great opportunity for the guys to come out here and play in this venue. Everyone has treated us well. To play as well as we did, we'll remember this for a long, long time. Probably forever."