Football - Sat, Oct. 27, 2007
CHICAGO - In a game dominated by big plays on both sides of the ball, No. 6 Saint Xavier University (Ill.) came out on top, 36-20, over No. 11 Malone College (Ohio) in Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League action Saturday afternoon at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago. However, the fitting highlight for the Cougars was that on "Senior Day," the team's last regular season home game of the year, the seniors came to play and no one more than senior wide receiver Jim Doherty (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park). Doherty finished Saturday's game with 12 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns and recorded the longest play from scrimmage in SXU football history, a 99-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter. The previous longest play came on an 86-yard pass versus University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on September 10, 2005.

Doherty was not the only senior to rack up some big numbers in Saturday's victory. Senior kicker/punter Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) connected on all five of his field goals attempts in the game (43, 32, 27, 45, and 32 yards) and all three extra-points for 18 of the team's 36 points. Senior linebacker Sean Kenney (Orland Park, Ill./Stagg) finished with 10 total tackles, including seven solos, while senior defensive back Mike Wilkinson (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) helped wrap up the game with an interception in the endzone late in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan/Rich South) finished 27-of-42 for 358 yards through the air and two touchdowns.

Malone struck first with a 55-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Billy Bob Orsagh to junior wide-out Josh Settlemire with 7:38 to play in the first quarter. Longest made the score, 7-3, with a 43-yard field goal three minutes later and then the Cougar defense forced a Malone three-and-out to give the offense back the ball, which led to a big drive capped by a 57-yard touchdown pass from Yeo to Doherty. Trailing 10-7, the Pioneers marched down the field on its next possession and scored a touchdown on a two-yard run by senior running back Bernard Payton early in the second quarter. SXU's defense was able to block the extra point to put Malone ahead, 13-10. The remainder of the half belonged to Longest, who tallied three field goals of 32, 27, and 45 yards, respectively, to send his team to the locker room leading 19-13.

Saint Xavier controlled the third quarter outscoring Malone, 14-0, behind a two-yard run by junior running back Juaquin Rodriguez (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) and the 99-yard touchdown reception by Doherty. The big, 99-yard play was set up after the Cougar defense kept Payton, the MSFA's leading rusher, from reaching the endzone on three consecutive rushes from the SXU two-yard line. Malone cut the lead to 13, 33-20, with 10:27 to play in the game on a 24-yard TD reception by senior wide receiver Mike Clapham, but Longest was able to put the game away with a 32-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining.

Saint Xavier (8-1 overall/4-1 MSFA) wraps up its MSFA Mideast League and regular season slate with back-to-back road games over the next two Saturdays. First, the Cougars travel to Upland, Ind., next Saturday to face unranked Taylor University (Ind.) at 12 p.m. central time. SXU then gets to close out the regular season with a big match-up against No. 5 University of Saint Francis (Ind.) at 11 a.m. central time on Saturday, November 10.