LORETTO, Penn – The Sacred Heart Pioneers scored its lowest point total of the season, falling to the Saint Francis Red Flash, 24-10, Saturday afternoon at DeGol Field in Loretto, PA. The loss snaps a two game winning streak and puts the Pioneers at 2-2 in the conference and 7-2 overall this season.
Sacred Heart's lone offensive bright spot was junior running back Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) who ran for 138 yards on 23 carries. It is the third consecutive game Spence has accumulated over 100 yards on 20+ carries.
Not to be outdone, Saint Francis running back Kyle Harbridge (NEC's leading rusher) ran for 190 yards on 25 carries, including a 90 yard back breaking touchdown to give SFU a 24-10 lead with 11:16 left in the game.
In a defense dominated first half, Saint Francis kicked off the scoring with a 47-yard field goal by Lance Geesey with 6:40 left in the second quarter.
Two possessions later, Sacred Heart answered their lone touchdown of the game on a diving eight yard touchdown reception by junior tight end Tim Goodwin (Ventor, NJ). R.J Noel (Lowell, MA) found Goodwin for the score, his NEC leading 19th touchdown pass this season. The Pioneers were set up by a 36 yard Spence rush to create a first and goal situation from the ten yard line.
Following punts by both teams to start the second half, the Pioneers mustered up a 13-play 53 yard field goal drive to put themselves up 10-3. Junior Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY) knocked home a 36-yard field goal to cap off the drive. Spence ran for 24 yards on the drive, while Noel added 13 more on the ground.
Following the field goal, Saint Francis' Khairi Dickson returned the ensuing SHU kick-off 43 yards to set the Red Flash up at the Sacred Heart 47 yard line. Two plays later, facing a 3rd and 16 Harbridge hauled in a Capri Thompson pass on the right flat and took it 21 yards to the end zone to tie the game up at ten. Harbridge received a couple nice downfield blocks to spring him for a Saint Francis touchdown.
On Sacred Heart's next possession, Saint Francis defensive back DaQuan Minter picked Noel off and returned the ball 39 yards to the SHU 45 yard line. Following a couple of first downs, Zack Drayer found running back Anthony Bowman wide open on the right side for a five yard touchdown to give SFU a 17-10 lead.
Following a SHU punt, Harbridge found a crease up the middle and took it 90 yards to the end zone giving SFU a 24-10 lead. Harbridge surged up the middle into the SHU secondary and outraced all Pioneer defenders to the end zone.
Down 24-10, the Pioneers had a chance late but four Noel incompletions from the SFU eight yard line put an end to any SHU comeback attempt. Noel finished the afternoon completing 16 of 34 passes for just 94 yards.
SHU returns home to take on former NEC rival Monmouth next Saturday afternoon on Campus Field at 1:00 pm.