Oct. 11, 2008
LORETTO, Pa. (October 11, 2008) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers ran their winning-streak to six-straight to open the season thanks to a 41-24 win over the Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash on the road Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers (6-0, 2-0 NEC) got a big day from r-sophomore quarterback Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) who threw for four touchdowns and senior running back Evin Jones (Pennsauken, NJ), who ran for 127 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Red Flash (0-6, 0-3 NEC) turned the ball over three times in the second half helping lead to 24 Pioneer points.
The Pioneer offensive attack, the Northeast Conference's top-scoring offense, put up 40 point or more for the third time this season as they finished with 363 yards of total offense in the win. The defense once again came up with timely turnovers, picking off two passes and recovering a fumble all in the second half to help break open what was a seven-point game.
SHU's offense got points on each of their first three possessions of the second half. Junior kicker Joe Schroeder (Jackson, NJ) capped the first drive of the game for SHU booming a career-long 45-yarder for a 3-0 lead. SHU made it 10-0 late in the first quarter as Fink hit rookie running back Garry Coles (Southington, CT) on a fly pattern down the left sideline. Coles out ran the coverage and made a toe-tapping grab just inside the pylon. The Red Flash got their points on their next drive, a Zak Campbell 29-yard field goal.
Jones, who carried the ball 28 times for his fourth 100-yard rushing game this season, finished off a 12-play drive with a one-yard plunge, his team-leading eighth score on the year, to put his team up 17-3 midway through the second. The Red Flash got their first touchdown on a quarterback George Little one-yard keeper and kept the Pioneers from scoring in the closing minutes of the half by picking off Fink deep in Saint Francis territory to go to the locker room down seven, 17-10.
Despite the hic-cup at the end of the half, the Pioneers took the second half kick-off and marched 56-yards in nine plays with a Fink to Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) for six hook-up to cap of the drive and push the lead back to two scores. Tedesco, the Pioneers leading receiver, was held without a catch in the first half but came on big in the second half with six grabs for 71 yards and two scores. The Red Flash again cut it to seven thanks to a Little to tight end Ryan Zarnich 12-yard scoring strike with seven minutes to go in the third quarter.
From there it was all Pioneers as Little was picked-off twice on two of Saint Francis' next three drives. Schroeder, with a 45-yarder already in the bank, drilled a 42-yard attempt to open the fourth quarter. Fink followed on SHU's next possession with his third touchdown of the afternoon, hitting tight end Tom Stripe (Mahwah, NJ) from nine-yards out for a 34-17 lead. The Pioneers closed out their scoring following a Red Flash fumble in their own end as Fink hit Tedesco for a 25-yard score on a fourth and four with 1:24 to go. SFPA tacked on a late score to produce the final 41-24 score.
Tedesco's big second half gave the junior wide receiver another all-time record to add to his resume. After breaking the career receiving touchdown record last week, Tedesco moved into first place all-time on the career receptions list. His six catches move him past Corey Bundy's (2004-07) record of 122 into the top-spot with 125 and counting.
Fink finished the day 20-of-31 for 214 yards with his four scoring strikes tying the Pioneer school record for TD throws in a game. In his short career, Fink has three times thrown for four touchdowns in a game. The sophomore signal caller completed passes to eight different receivers in the win. Freshman Jared Kemp (Miami, FL) had five catches for 64 yards in the win. Fellow freshman, Garry Coles again gave the Pioneers a spark on special teams with three returns for 98 yards including a long of 48 yards.
The Pioneer return game helped give SHU an average starting field position at their own 47-yard line. On the flip side, SFPA's average starting field position was their own 18-yard line. In addition to his two 40-plus yard field goals, Schroeder averaged 66.1 yards on his kickoffs with a pair of touchbacks to his credit.
Defensively, r-sophomore Rashod Underwood (Baltimore, MD) led the Pioneers with eight tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Both linebacker Brian Flumere (Milford, MA) and cornerback Ahmad Covington (Highland, NJ) had interceptions in the win. Flumere finished with six tackles, one for a loss, while Covington had six stops as well and a pass break-up. Junior Chansler Davis (Islip Terrace, NY) recorded his fifth sack of the season.
The Pioneers return home next week to play host to the defending NEC Champion Albany Great Danes in what will be a battle of a pair of league unbeatens. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 pm on Campus Field.