Football - Sat, Sep. 1, 2007
Jackson, Tenn. - Behind six catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns by senior wide receiver Jim Doherty (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park), the No. 5 ranked Saint Xavier University football team got its 2007 season off to a promising start with a 44-0 road win over Lambuth University (Tenn.) at LL Fonville Field Saturday in Jackson, Tenn. Doherty was on the receiving end of both of SXU's first two touchdowns of the game, which helped lift the Cougars to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of Saturday's big victory.
The game was highlighted by a number of stellar individual performances. Junior quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan/Rich South) finished 15 for 27 on his pass attempts for 202 yards and three touchdowns, while senior kicker Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) went 3-for-3 on his field goal attempts, including a school-record 55-yarder, 5-for-5 on extra-points, and also handled punting duties for the Cougars. On six punts, Longest averaged 39.5 yards per kick. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Shane Franken (Carol Stream, Ill./Driscoll Catholic) led the charge with 10 total tackles, but senior defensive tackle Justin Tuffs (Mokena, Ill./Stagg) stole the show with six tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses, a sack of five yards, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Yeo and Doherty connected for a 15-yard touchdown strike with just over eight minutes remaining in the first quarter to put SXU ahead, 7-0. On Lambuth's first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Tuffs forced and recovered a fumble that gave the Cougars back the ball at the LU 20-yard line. It took just one play for Yeo and Doherty to connect again on a 20-yard touchdown pass and gave Saint Xavier a 14-0 advantage heading into the second quarter. With just under two minutes remaining in the first half, Yeo found sophomore wideout Matt McGinnis (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) open from 18 yards out to extend the SXU lead, 21-0. A blocked punt by Doherty deep in Lambuth territory gave the Cougars a shot at a 36-yard field goal to close out the half, which Longest converted to make the halftime score, 24-0.
Longest tacked on another field goal of 18 yards midway through the third quarter to push the lead to 27-0 before junior running back Juaquin Rodriguez (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) found the endzone from two yards out on SXU's next drive to push the lead to 34. In the fourth quarter, junior quarterback Jeremy Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) connected with junior tight end Eric Gomez (Oak Forest, Ill./Bremen) for a 25-yard touchdown reception with 12:36 remaining in regulation. The Cougars wrapped up the scoring in dramatic fashion when Longest connected on his 55-yard field goal attempt, a new Saint Xavier University record, with just under eight minutes left to play in the game.
SXU (1-0 overall) continues its season next Saturday with a Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) crossover game against former Midwest League rival University of St. Francis (Ill.). The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start in Joliet, Ill.