CHICAGO – Junior wide receiver Corey Wennmacher (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere North) finished with seven catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns to help No. 1 Saint Xavier University score 35 first-half points en route to a 49-14 homecoming victory over Trinity International University (Ill.) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) crossover action Saturday night at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (4-0 overall) overcame four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) in the game to secure its fourth straight win. Senior defensive end Michael Prosser (Rockton, Ill./Rockton-Hononegah) had a big game defensively for SXU posting seven tackles, including two for losses and a sack for six yards, to go along with two quarterback hurries and a blocked field goal.
Senior quarterback Jimmy Coy (Park Ridge, Ill./Valdosta State/El Camino College/Maine South) threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, but also finished with a pair of interceptions. Junior wide-out Shane Zackery (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) chipped in six receptions for 71 yards and a score, while junior wide receiver Wes Gastel (Freeport, Ill./Freeport) also had six catches for 43 yards. Freshman running back Cole Midgett (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) led the ground attack for Saint Xavier with six carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Dave Marciano (Chicago, Ill./Eastern Illinois University/St. Rita) led the Cougars in tackles with eight total stops, including an assisted tackle for a loss of two yards.
Midway through the first quarter, sophomore running back Nick Pesek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) put SXU ahead 7-0 on a two-yard run on the team's second drive of the game. An interception by senior defensive tackle Ben Touzinsky (Temucula, Calif./Great Oak) ended the Trojans' next drive, but the Cougars failed to capitalize after Coy had his pass attempt intercepted on the very next play. The SXU defense would force another TIU punt and Coy would find Zackery on a seven-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive and put Saint Xavier up 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter. Sophomore defensive end Ryan Miles (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) would pick off Trinity International junior quarterback Morgan Hall and return it 48 yards to extend the lead to 21-0 with 13:28 to play in the first half.
The Cougars would close out the half with a pair of big touchdown catches by Wennmacher to build a 35-0 halftime lead. The first one was from 26 yards out with 6:16 left to play and the second came at the 2:40 mark on a 30-yard reception. The Trojans provided the only score of the third quarter when Hall hooked up with junior wide receiver Nigel Pinson for a 15-yard strike. Trinity International would find the end zone again early in the fourth quarter when Hall hit freshman Courtney Johnson on a 10-yard reception to make the score, 35-14. However, the Cougars would get two rushing touchdowns late in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Senior running back Sean Bryce (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) would score the first on a seven-yard blast up the middle and Midgett would tally the final score on a nine-yard gallop.
Saturday's victory likely sets the stage for a huge road match-up next weekend in Fort Wayne, Ind. With both teams winning this week, Saint Xavier and No. 2 ranked University of Saint Francis (Ind.) will face off on Saturday, September 24 at Bishop John M. D'Arcy Stadium. The key NAIA match-up is scheduled for a 12 p.m. (EST) start.