Football - Sun, Sep. 10, 2006
Lebanon, Ill. - A 47-yard field goal by junior kicker Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) with 5:48 to play in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as No. 8 ranked Saint Xavier University (Ill.) upset No. 5 McKendree College (Ill.), 13-10, Saturday in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League action Saturday at Leemon Field in Lebanon, Ill. The Cougars (2-0 overall, 1-0 MSFA) scored 13 unanswered points in the game's final three quarters to erase a 10-point first-quarter deficit spoiling the Bearcats' (0-1 overall, 0-1 MSFA) season opener. It was SXU's first ever victory at Leemon Field.
"This may be an upset in the national rankings, but our team believed we could come here and beat McKendree," said SXU head football coach Mike Feminis. "It was a great game that could have gone either way, but we got some momentum in the second half and were able to pick up the victory. I'm so proud of our guys for not folding when things weren't going our way in the first quarter."
McKendree scored the game's first 10 points. Senior defensive back Adam Clapp intercepted a pass by sophomore quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan) on SXU's opening possession and returned it 54 yards to the Cougars' three-yard line. Sophomore running back Jacob Rohman punched it into the end zone from a yard out to give the Bearcats an early 7-0 lead with 6:11 left in the first quarter.
On its next possession, McKendree added to the lead with Clapp helping to set up the score again. His 27-yard punt return put the Bearcats deep in Cougar territory, and sophomore kicker Shane McBride booted a 35-yard field goal with 1:16 left in the period to build a 10-0 advantage. Longest converted his first field goal attempt of the game, a 37-yarder, with 1:16 remaining in the first half to cut the lead to seven, 10-3, heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, Yeo connected with senior wide receiver Andy Ricca (LaPorte, Ind./Michigan City) from 17 yards out to tie the game, 10-10, following the extra-point by Longest, with 6:09 left in the period. McKendree had chances down the stretch to score, but the SXU defense stepped up big in the second half recording a fumble recovery, an interception, and a tackle for a loss following the break. Sophomore linebacker Joe Miller (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) led the defensive effort for the Cougars recording 11 total tackles.
Saint Xavier (2-0 overall, 1-0 MSFA) returns home to face Malone College (Ohio) on Saturday, September 16, in a MSFA crossover game at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.