By Alan Paape
The St. Xavier Cougars had a very impressive showing in the first round of NAIA Playoffs two Saturdays ago when they shutout William Penn University 31-0. With the win, the Cougars moved on to the quarterfinals of the playoffs to face the University of the Cumberlands.
St. Xavier faced the Cumberlands in the first round of the 2010 NAIA playoffs, and the Cougars came away with a huge 66-19 victory. In the last game against the Cougars, Patriots running back Terrance Cobb had a huge game, and he scored all three touchdowns against the Cougars. The Cougars would need to stop him if they wanted to win this game.
The Cougar offense would take the field to start the game. The offensive unit was led down the field by Jimmy Coy, who did not throw a single incompletion in four pass attempts on the opening drive. Linebacker Dave Marciano capped off the 70-yard scoring drive with a one yard touchdown run.
The Patriots would answer back though on the very next possession. On their very first possession of the game, the Patriot offense was able to do something that William Penn could not do the previous week, put points on the scoreboard. The Patriots found the end zone on a nine yard touchdown run by receiver Willie Gibson.
The Cougars would regain the lead just a couple of minutes later. The Cougars' offense stalled once they found the red zone, but Spencer Nolen was able to give the Cougars the lead with a 25-yard field goal. At the end of the first quarter of play, the Cougars led 9-7.
The Cougars would add to their lead on their very first possession of the second quarter of play. Coy capped off a five play 67-yard scoring drive with a 14-yard rushing touchdown. This touchdown increased the Cougar lead to nine points.
Later on in the second quarter of play, the Patriots would answer back with their second touchdown of the day. After the Cougars fumbled the ball on offense, the Patriots took over on offense with great starting field position. Seven plays and 50-yards later the Patriots found the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown run by D’Angelo Jordan.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Cougars found themselves with just over a minute to work with before the end of the half. After a huge 35-yard completion to Wes Gastel and a roughing the passer penalty the Cougars found themselves inside the Patriot ten yard line. After not being able to punch the ball in for a touchdown on their first three plays from inside the ten yard line, the Cougars called a timeout with nine seconds on the clock.
The Cougars field goal unit huddled up on the field on the fourth and goal play from the three yard line. The Cougars broke the huddle and scurried to the line of scrimmage to catch the Patriots off guard. The field goal unit lined up with the holder, Pat Kelso, under center and Cole Midgett in the backfield. When the Cougars snapped the ball, Kelso pitched the ball to Midgett who found the end zone from three yards out. At the half, the Cougars lead was 23-14.
The Cougars continued to put points on the scoreboard in the second half of play. Nolen converted on his second field goal of the day, this time from 31-yards out, to extend the Cougar lead to 12 points.
After a poor punt by the Patriots, the Cougars had great field position at the Patriot 39-yard line. After a nine yard completion to Shane Zackery, the Cougars were set up with a second and one from the Patriot 30-yard line. Coy handed the ball off to Nick Pesek who was able to find the end zone from thirty yards out.
The only points the Cougar defense would give up in the second half of play came on a 60-yard touchdown run by Cobb of the Patriots. The Cougars would go on to add a field goal for insurance in the fourth quarter and go on to win the game 35-21.
Coy was named the Offensive player of the game, and Zach Dolph was named the Defensive player of the game. With the win, the Cougars advanced to the semi-finals of the NAIA Playoffs for the fourth straight year.
This Saturday, December 1, the Cougars will travel to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa for their chance to go back to the national title game in Rome, Georgia. WXAV 88.3FM and wxav.com will have all of your coverage for this game beginning with pre game coverage starting at 11:30am, with kickoff to follow at noon.
For more Saint Xavier News and Sports visit www.thexavierite.com