Sacred Heart Pioneers Pull the Upset, 26-25 Over Monmouth

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.  (October 30, 2010) – Sacred Heart senior Marcel Archer (Miami, FL) ran for four touchdowns his last coming with 51 seconds left in the game to deliver the Pioneers a 26-25 Northeast Conference win at Monmouth on Saturday afternoon.  Junior defensive end Justin Embler (Cinnaminson, NJ) ended any last second chance of a Hawk comeback sacking MU quarterback Kyle Frazier as the clock expired sealing the upset victory.

Sacred Heart (3-6, 1-5 NEC) ends a seven-game Monmouth (3-5, 3-2 NEC) winning streak in the all-time series between the two schools with the win.  Archer ended the day with 76 yards on 17 carries and his four scores give the senior a team-leading 14 touchdowns on the year.

The Pioneers marched down the field off the opening kickoff on a 14-play drive capped off by an Archer three-yard score on third and goal for a 7-0 lead.  SHU converted on four third down opportunities and converted a fourth and one from the Monmouth five-yard line on the drive.  From there, defense ruled the rest of the first half for the Pioneers forcing three Hawk punts while giving up just an Eric Spillane field goal. 

Junior cornerback Ahmad Covington (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) halted a Hawk drive at midfield halfway through the second quarter with his first interception of the season.  Facing a third and three on their own 49-yard line, Hawk quarterback Kyle Frazier looked for wide receiver Ryan Folsom along the left sidelines but Covington had a beat on the pass and made a spectacular leaping interception, returning it 54 yards to the MU six-yard line.

It appeared the Pioneers would be forced to settle for a field goal attempt after Archer lost a yard on first down and two-straight Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) incompletions.  Place kicker Jesper Fredriksson (Gothenberg, Sweden) buried a 24-yard attempt but a personal foul on Monmouth's Chris Mastrangelo gave SHU head coach Paul Gorham the option of taking the points off the board and accepting the penalty for a fresh set of downs.  Archer proved coach Gorham's decision to go for six right on the very next play, rumbling in from four-yards out off right tackle for his second score and a 14-3 lead with 3:18 left in the half.

The third quarter was all Monmouth as the Hawks held the Pioneers to just six yards on six plays while piling up 145 yards and 10 points.  The Hawks went to back-up quarterback Andrew Mandeville to open the second half and the fifth-year senior provided a spark for the offense rushing for 37 yards on a five-play scoring drive.  MU's Nick Romeo capped the drive taking a reverse 13-yards for six cutting the Pioneer lead to 14-10 at the 11:39 mark in the third.

A three-and-out on Sacred Heart's first possession of the second half was amplified by a special team penalty on the ensuing punt to set up the Hawks with great field position at their own 49-yard line.  Mandeville was the catalyst in leading his team to points on their second drive, completing a pair of shovel passes and ripping off a 19-yard run leading to Spillane's second field goal on the afternoon to trail 14-13 with 5:34 left in the quarter.

The Hawks made it three-straight scores in taking the lead just over two minutes into the fourth quarter.  MU Running back Ballal Sloan El burst up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown to cap 12-play drive as the Hawks went for two but came up short to lead 19-14.

Fink and the offense finally got rolling in the second half taking the lead back on Archer's third touchdown just 1:45 later.  Fink opened the quick five-play drive hitting freshman Greg Moore (Newark, NJ) on what looked to be a minimal gain.  The rookie wide out had other ideas, cutting back across the field for a 15-yard pick-up and took 15 more yards on a late hit penalty called on MU's Kendall Haley to move the ball out to the 49-yard line.  Fink hit wide out Rock Tate (Lantana, FL) for a 23-yard gain before Archer ripped off a 20-yard score cutting off right tackle with 11:10 on the clock.  SHU elected to go for two but Fink's pass for Tate fell incomplete leaving the Pioneers up 20-19.

Facing a third and four on the ensuing drive, Monmouth's Mandeville hit Romeo on a quick-hit screen pass and the senior took it from there, sprinting past the SHU defense for a 60-yard touchdown for the third score of the fourth quarter in a matter of just over five minutes of play.  Monmouth's two-point attempt was intercepted by Titus McIntosh (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) giving the Hawks a 25-20 lead with 9:24 left.

The Hawk defense slowed the SHU offense down posting a three and out and put the offense in position to add to their lead.  Spillane lined up for what would have been his third field goal of the day but his 41-yard attempt sailed wide left with 3:39 left keeping the lead at five points.  Sacred Heart took full advantage of the opportunity as Fink took his team on a nine-play drive that would give the Pioneers the lead back for good.

The senior signal caller hooked-up with Tony Patterson (Groton, CT) on a 13-yard completion to pick up a third and seven and then found the senior again on a 16-yard pass and catch down to the Hawk 24-yard line.  Fink made the throw of the game on the next play putting a strike on the money to Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) who made the catch in between a pair of defenders at the one-yard line.  Archer made the comeback complete with his fourth touchdown run of the day with 51 seconds left as the two-point attempt failed and the Pioneers clinging to a 26-25 lead. 

The Hawks went back to Frazier on their final drive and the quarterback drove his team to the Sacred Heart 37-yard line with 10 seconds left.  The Hawks would get no further and failed to get off a potential game-winning field goal as SHU's Embler sealed the win with his sack of Frazier as the clock ran out on Monmouth, delivering the upset win.

The Pioneers were outgained on the day by the Hawks, 474 to 313 yards but made the most of their red zone opportunities with four touchdowns in four trips.  The Hawks ran for 275 yards led by Mandeville's 110, all in the second half.

Fink finished 21-of-38 on the day, throwing for 220 yards.  Patterson led all SHU receivers with six catches for 77 yards in the win.  Defensively, the Pioneers got 12 tackles from junior linebacker Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA).

The Pioneers return home for the final two games of 2010 as they play host to the University at Albany Great Danes on November 6th and the Wagner College Seahawks on November 20th.  Both games are scheduled for a 1:00 pm kickoff.

xxxxx