Sept. 27, 2008
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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (September 27, 2008) - Sacred Heart quarterback Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) completed 24-of-31 for 281 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Pioneers to a 28-16 win on the road at Marist College Saturday afternoon. The win propelled the Pioneers to 4-0 for the first time since the 2001 and 2000 season as they head into Northeast Conference play next weekend.
Fink hooked up with junior Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) on seven catches for 113 yards and a score. The SHU offense racked up 414 yards of total offense and 21 first downs in the win. On the ground, senior Evin Jones (Pennsauken, NJ) rumbled his way to 99 yards on 17 carries, a 5.8 yard average, and a touchdown.
The Pioneers (4-0) dominated offensively in the first half, out gaining the Red Foxes 213 to 41 through the first two quarters. Despite struggling on the offensive end it was Marist who struck first, getting on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. After the first two Pioneer drives stalled out in Red Fox territory it was the Marist defense that came up with the game's first big play. Facing a third and three on his own 18, Fink dropped back to pass looking for Tedesco but saw his attempt batted into the air by a lineman and pulled down by linebacker Nick Andre at the 21 to set his team up with fantastic field position.
The Red Foxes (1-4) needed just five plays to capitalize as quarterback Chris Debowski hit James LaMacchia on a four-yard slant for six. From there it was all Pioneers the rest of the quarter as Fink led the Pioneers on three-straight scoring drives for a 21-9 halftime lead.
Fink's first touchdown of the afternoon capped off a six play drive when he hit freshman Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) in the front corner of the endzone on second and goal. Rossi did a nice job of getting his feet in for his second touchdown in as many weeks. A three-and-out for Marist set up the SHU offense on their own 38 yard line and the sophomore signal caller found Tedesco on the drive's eighth play, sticking the ball between three defenders on a third and goal for a 14-6 advantage.
The Red Fox offense responded on their next drive, converting a third and 15 along the way to a 36-yard field goal by Kevin Pauly. The Pioneers took over with 2:21 showing before the break but needed just 1:15 of it to march 71 yards for their third touchdown of the quarter. Fink moved his offense down to the Marist five where Jones pounded his way in to head to the locker room up 21-9.
Fink finished the half 16-of-21 for 213 yards with Tedesco racking up all seven of his catches during the first two quarters. As dominant as the Pioneer offense was in the first half, they barely saw the ball in the third quarter as the two Marist drives took up 10:35. Despite holding the ball for over 10 minutes on their first two drives of the second half, the Red Foxes came up empty on both drives, falling short on fourth down inside Sacred Heart's 10-yard line on both occasions.
Marist took the second half kick-off and marched down to the Pioneer six-yard line. A Bo Ehikioya two-yard rush on first down was all Marist could muster as Debowski misfired on three-straight tries looking for receiver Will Brown to turn it back over to the Pioneers with no points scored. After a defensive hold the Marist offense again embarked on a long drive, this time 10 plays as they took the ball to the SHU 14-yard line. After three plays left the Red Foxes a fourth and less then a yard at the five, the call went for a quarterback draw out of the shotgun formation but Debowski was stood up by linebackers Brian Flumere (Milford, MA) and Will Veix (Pipersville, PA) resulting in another visit deep in Pioneer territory without scoring.
Another solid defensive stand by Marist gave their offense back the ball with excellent field position and the third time proved the charm as Ehikioya capped an eight-play drive with a one-yard plunge to pull within 21-16 with just under nine minutes to go.
Fink and the Sacred Heart offense left no room for a comeback on their next possession, putting the together a 10-play drive that covered 70 yards and took 5:20 off the clock. Fink hit five-of-six on the drive including a 28-yard completion to freshman Jared Kemp (Miami, FL) on a third and nine play. Facing a third and five on the Marist 10, Fink capped the drive hitting sophomore Tony Patterson (Groton, CT) at the goal line for six and a two-score lead, 28-16.
SHU's defense, looking for their first turnover of the afternoon got it on the next possession to seal the game away. Sophomore Rashod Underwood (Baltimore, MD) picked off a Debowski pass at midfield, his second interception on the year, giving the Pioneers the opportunity to run out the clock.
In addition to Tedesco's fine receiving day, Kemp was equally impressive with six catches for 60 yards in the win while adding a 28-yard kick-off return to his ledger. Defensively, junior Bill O'Brien (Lafayette, NY) posted a career-high 11 tackles including a half sack.
The Pioneers return to action next Saturday when they play host to Robert Morris on "Homecoming Weekend".