Fairfield, CT – The Sacred Heart Pioneers scored a program record 78 points on their way to a convincing 78-35 victory over the Chowan University Hawks Saturday afternoon on Homecoming weekend at Campus Field.
The previous all-time SHU record for points was 62 points scored in a 1995 Sacred Heart victory over Curry College. The 11 Pioneer touchdowns is also a school record. Sacred Heart improves to 4-0 to start the season, their best start since 2008.
Sophomore quarterback RJ Noel (Lowell, MA) completed 9 of 15 passes and tossed three touchdowns, as he stays unbeaten in a Pioneer uniform.
Junior running back Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) ran for 78 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Senior Tino Perrina (Reading, MA) added 74 yards on the ground.
Senior Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) recorded a career high 111 yards receiving and a touchdown.
On special teams, Senior wide receiver Robert Dim (Sicklerville,NJ) blocked two punts, both of which led to Pioneer touchdowns. Dim blocked three punts last season.
Sacred Heart scored a school record 50 points in the first half, taking a 50-21 lead into halftime.
SHU found themselves in a hole early, as Chowan scored a touchdown on their first offensive play to quickly quiet the homecoming crowd. Quarterback Cameron Stover faked a bubble screen on the left side and then found Anthony Clanton down the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown.
Chowan added to their early lead after a failed Sacred Heart snap on a punt gave the Hawks a first and goal on the nine-yard line. On the next play, Stover found Robert Holland in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to give Chowan the 14-0 lead.
Down 14-0, SHU immediately fired back, scoring 36 unanswered points to seize control of the game. Noel hooked up with Dube from 23 yards out to give Sacred Heart its first score of the game. Dube snuck behind the Chowan safety for a walk-in touchdown.
Following a Denis Regan (Philadelphia, PA) interception and subsequent 22-yard return, junior running back Sean Bell (Medford Lakes, NJ) ran in for a touchdown from five yards out to score Sacred Heart's second touchdown.
Special teams came up with the big play for Sacred Heart's next score. Freshman wide out David Berment (Dorchester, MA) returned a Robert Dim blocked punt nine yards for a touchdown to give SHU the 22-14 lead.
Noel found Dube again for a touchdown in the second quarter, this time from 15 yards out to give the Pioneers a 29-14 lead.
After both teams exchanged punts, Dim struck again on special teams, this time blocking a punt to give Sacred Heart a first and ten at the Chowan 21-yard line. After an 11-yard reception by Moore, Spence rambled in from four yards out to give SHU the 36-14 lead.
Spence scored his second touchdown of the game and junior Gordon Hill (Sicklerville, NJ) intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards to the house to cap Sacred Heart's scoring at 50 points in the first half.
To start the second half, Sacred Heart scored touchdowns on back-to-back fumble recoveries. First, it was sophomore linebacker Kellen Sperduto (Oldwick, NJ) picking up a Ryan Cottrell (Montvale, NJ) forced fumble of Chowan running back DaSean Martin and returning it 17 yards to the end zone. Next, it was junior Preston Sanford (Birmingham, AL) picking up and returning a fumble 44-yards to the end zone.
In the win, the Sacred Heart defense recorded 12 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
Sacred Heart looks for five in a row next weekend when they travel to take on the Bucknell Bison on Saturday night.