By Alan Paape
This past week, the Cougars returned home to Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field to take on the Concordia University Cardinals of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This would be the second match-up between these two teams in their history and the Cougars came out with a huge victory in last year’s matchup 63-3.
Prior to the game, Saint Xavier had come off a huge road victory, 55-31 over Taylor University in Upland, Indiana on October 20th. The Cougars 55 point scoring output was their largest of the season.
Concordia University won the opening coin toss and decided to differ the opening kickoff and let the St. Xavier offense take the field against their defense first. The Cougars looked to do something that they have not done all year, and that would be to score on their opening possession of the game.
The Cougars were set up with great field possession to begin the game after Cole Midgett returned the opening kickoff 52-yards to the Concordia 21-yard line. After two passes fell incomplete and a rush for negative yards, Spencer Nolan came on to attempt a 40-yard field goal. Nolan’s field goal missed wide right and the Cougars failed to score on their opening drive once again.
The Cougar defense, which in the previous game gave up 24-points in the first half, took the field. The Cougar defense was dominant from the moment they began the game, after forcing a three and out and not giving up a single yard on the first drive of the day, the Cardinals were lined up in punt formation and on the ensuing punt attempt, Wes Gastel shot into the backfield and blocked the Cardinal punt setting up the Cougar offense with great field position.
It did not take long for the Cougars to get on the board after the blocked punt. On the very first play of their second offensive, Jimmy Coy found Corey Wennemacher in the end zone for an eight yard touchdown strike.
The Cardinals set themselves up in Cougar territory after a great return on the ensuing kickoff. The Cardinals drove all the way down to the Cougar nine yard line and set themselves up with a first and goal situation. The Cougar defense forced three incompletions and the Cardinals had to settle for a field goal.
On their very next possession, the Cougars drove down the field 83-yards on only seven plays and came away with another touchdown. Nick Pesek, who became St. Xavier’s all time leading rusher in the game against Taylor, punched it in from two yards out to increase the Cougar lead.
The Cougar defense forced another Cardinal three and out and the Cardinals were forced to punt once again. The Cougar offense continued scoring at their rapid pace and they added another touchdown just over a minute and a half after regaining possession. The six play 57-yard scoring drive was capped off with Coy’s second touchdown pass of the afternoon, this one 27-yards to Shane Zackery.
On the very first play offensive play for the Cardinals following the Cougar touchdown, Tyler Steele’s pass was intercepted by Jeremy Rhodes at the Concordia thirty eight yard line. The Cougar offense stalled at the Cardinal 24-yard line and Nolan knocked a 41-yard field goal through the uprights increasing the Cougar lead to 24 points.
Before the end of the first quarter, the Cougars would add a fourth touchdown. Coy’s third touchdown pass of the afternoon was his longest of the game. Coy found the speedy Gastel downfield for a 54-yard touchdown pass.
Coy and the starting receivers and backs exited the game about five minutes into the second quarter of play and Joe Gill and company took over. Gill led the Cougars to 16 points in the second quarter of play. Nolan had a 28-yard field goal, Josh Hunter had a two yard touchdown run and Austin Feeney had an eight yard touchdown reception. At the half, the Cougars led 47-3.
In the second half of play, the rest of the Cougars starters gave way to the second unit on both sides of the ball. On the offensive side of the ball, the Cougar offensive line was now anchored by veterans Anthony LaBanca and Mac Stevenson.
During the second half, each team had a touchdown of their own. The Cardinals scored on Tyler Steele’s 52-yard touchdown pass, and the Cougars scored on a 40-yard fumble recovery by Patrick Kelso. The final score of the game was 54-10 Cougars.
The Cougars improved to 7-1 on the season and next week the Cougars have their biggest matchup of the season as the #1 team in the nation, Marian University comes into town. Next Saturday will also be “Senior Day” at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field.
If you are not able to make it out to the game, for the 1:00pm kickoff, WXAV 88.3fm and wxav.com will have all of your coverage.