The Sacred Heart running back tandem of senior Marcel Archer (Miami, FL) and r-freshman Gregory Ibe (Queens, NY) each scored twice on the ground to lead the Pioneers to a season opening 28-25 win at Marist Friday night. The Pioneers racked up 456 yards of total offense en route to the win.
Archer led all runners with 104 yards on 22 carries including touchdown runs from six yards and one yard out. Ibe was right on his heels with 97 yards on 16 carries with a two-yard plunge and an eight-yard score to his credit.
The Pioneers used a balanced offensive attack with 227 yards on the ground and 229 through the air while holding the football for nearly 35 minutes. R-Senior quarterback Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) completed 22-of-28 passes for 229 yards with an interception in the win.
The first play of the 2010 season for the Pioneer offense was a 13-yard scamper from Archer but the senior lost control of the football and fumbled it away to Marist. After being stopped on fourth and less than a yard on fourth down on their next drive, SHU finally broke through opening the second quarter.
Ibe finished off an eight play drive with his first career touchdown from two yards out. The big play on the drive came on second and one from the Marist 37-yard line as Fink hit junior Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) on a play-action pass for 21 yards.
An interception by SHU cornerback Ahmad Covington (Clementon, NJ) set up the Pioneers second score, an Archer rush from six-yards out to cap an 11 play drive for a 14-0 lead with 5:47 left in the half.
Marist grabbed some momentum back just before the half as quarterback Tommy Reilly hit senior James LaMacchia on a five-yard strike to close off a 12-play drive and send the game into the half at 14-7 Pioneers.
The SHU defense stood tall on the third-quarter's first series, forcing a three-and-out by the Red Foxes, putting the ball back in the hands of Fink and the SHU rushing attack. Archer picked up his second score of the night just nine plays later, scoring from a yard out.
The Pioneers pushed the lead to 28-7 with 48 seconds left in the third as Ibe capped a nine-play drive that covered 80 yards with an eight-yard score, making SHU four-of-four on their red-zone visits. Fink picked up a third-and-four on the drive, finding r-sophomore Jo Jo Jamiel (West Yarmouth, MA) on a 14-yard hook up. Fink then found r-sophomore Rock Tate (Lantana, FL) down the left sideline for a 20-yard pick-up setting up Ibe, who scored four plays later.
SHU would need to hold on late, fending off a Red Fox rally. Marist quickly cut it to 28-14 as Reilly hit Michael Rios on a 72-yard catch and run for six on their first play from scrimmage following the Ibe score. A 31-yard Jason Meyers field goal cut the lead to 28-17.
Marist would mount one last comeback attempt late as freshman Chuckie Looney, subbing for an injured Reilly, marched his team 78 yards in 14 plays culminating with a 10-yard scoring strike to Fitzpatrick followed by a two-point conversion with 37 seconds left. SHU's Jamiel recovered the ensuing onside attempt to thwart the rally and deliver the Pioneers their first win in 2010.
Defensively, SHU got nine tackles apiece from junior Justin Embler (Cinnaminson, NJ) and senior Brian Flumere (Milford, MA). Seniors Bill O'Brien (Lafayette, NY) and Andrew Costantino (Abiagton, MA) each picked up a sack in the win. SHU held the Red Foxes to just 289 yards of total offense, just 26 on the ground. Marist was just seven of 16 on third down on the night.
The Pioneers return to Campus Field for their 2010 Home Opener next Saturday, September 11th against Robert Morris. Kick-off is scheduled for 12 noon in the Northeast Conference opener for both clubs.