Nov. 14, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT (November 14, 2009) - Sacred Heart senior Steve Tedesco (Mission Viejo, CA) hauled in 12 catches for 144 yards and a school record four touchdowns but a 31-yard field goal from Duquesne's Charlie Leventry as time expired lifted the Dukes to a 45-42 win over the Pioneers in a back-and-forth Northeast Conference match-up. Tedesco also set the school's career scoring record (37) and tied his own mark for catches in a game (12) in his final game in the a Pioneer uniform Saturday afternoon.
The Pioneers (2-8, 2-6 NEC), trailing 21-7 at the half, put together a big second half to tie the game at 42-42 with 1:10 left looking for overtime. Duquesne (3-7, 2-5 NEC) quarterback Kevin Rombach had other ideas and drove his team 53-yards in the final minute to set up the game winner by Leventry. Rombach and SHU quarterback Dale Fink (Swansea, IL) were nearly perfect throwing the football on a rain soaked afternoon. Rombach completed 26-of-30 passes for 252 yards while Fink went 22-of-28 for 245 yards and set a new school record with six touchdown throws. Neither quarterback was intercepted on the day.
Duquesne rookie running back Larry McCoy had an impressive afternoon rushing for 121 yards on 20 carries and five scores, three coming in the fourth quarter to lead the Dukes to the win. Duquesne's three first half touchdowns were all set up by Pioneers miscues. After forcing a three-and-out on SHU's first possession, an errant snap sailed over punter Brian Friedman's (Point Pleasant, NJ) and set the Dukes up first and goal on the Pioneer eight-yard line. McCoy barreled in from the two for his first six points of the afternoon three plays later.
The Pioneers answered with an eight play drive for six as Fink hit Tedesco for the first of four scores on the first play of the second quarter. The ensuing kickoff was short and Duquesne's Cleodis Williams fielded it on a sprint at the 18-yard line and returned it 62-yards to the SHU 20. McCoy notched his second score on the fifth play of the drive to make it 14-7 with 12:11 left. On the second play of SHU's next possession, Fink found sophomore Rich Rossi (Moosic, PA) but Khiry Carter forced a fumble and the Dukes recovered at midfield. A 10-play drive ended with quarterback Sean Patterson dumping one over the middle to tight end Matthew Glose for a 21-7 lead with 5:32 left in the quarter. Duquesne tried to extend the lead to 24-7 attempting a 41-yard field goal from Leventry but the kick was blocked by sophomore Justin Embler (Cinnaminson, NJ).
The third quarter belonged to the Pioneers who displayed a quick-strike offense all game. SHU forced Duquesne into three punts in the quarter and tied it up on a pair Fink touchdown throws. Fink guided the Pioneers 60-yards in just six plays off the second half kickoff capping the drive with an 11-yard hook-up with tight end Chris Rapp (Ridgefield Park, NJ). Fink and Tedesco knotted the game at 21-21 with 3:44 left in the third, hooking up on a quick four-yard strike.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair that saw a score on every possession ending with the deciding field goal when time expired. The Dukes struck first in the stanza as McCoy capped a 10-play drive with a four-yard scamper for six and a 28-21 lead. SHU held serve and answered right back as Fink and Tedesco connected for a third score with 8:07 left tying it right back up. A short kick-off by the Pioneers resulted in a 37-yard return by Willie Milhouse setting the Dukes up on the Pioneer 37-yard line to start their drive.
After Rombach connected with Connor Dixon to convert a third and 19, McCoy delivered his fourth scoring run of the day just five plays later for a 35-28. Fink and Tedesco struck again to answer, this time hooking-up on a 46-yard pitch and catch for six with 3:18 left. SHU need just the point after to tie but saw another errant snap wipe out the try leaving the Dukes up 35-34. The Pioneers attempted an onside kick but Duquesne recovered and scored just four plays later on McCoy's fifth of the day for a 42-34 lead with 1:53 left in the game.
The Pioneers needing a big play got one from junior running back Marcel Archer (Miami, FL) who returned the kickoff 50-yards to the Duquesne 35-yard line to set up the offense. SHU marched right down the field on the arm of Fink who connected with Friedman in the right corner of the end zone with 1:10. Needing the two-point attempt for the tie, Fink found old-reliable in Tedesco at the back of the end zone to tie it at 42-42.
Duquesne opened their final drive at their own 33-yard line with a pair of timeouts to work with. Rombach made the play of the drive finding Dixon over the middle at the Pioneer 49-yard line and the junior wide out scamper out of bounds at the SHU 14-yard line with two seconds to spare to set-up the game-winning attempt. Leventry promptly took the field and buried it from 31-yards out as time expired to clinch a wild win.
The Pioneers had 400 yards of total offense and 26 first downs in the loss. SHU only faced six third down attempts in the game, converting twice, and no drives of more the eight plays. The Dukes in turn controlled time of possession, holding the ball for 38 minutes while amassing 450 yards of offense and 25 first downs.
Tedesco closes out a stellar four-year career with 229 receptions, 2,848 yards and 37 touchdowns. His 144-yards receiving on Saturday marked a season-high and gave him 11 career 100-yard receiving games. Tedesco tied the school mark of 12 catches in a game, a mark he previously shared (12-vs. Duquesne 10/25/08) with Doug Geoffrey (12-vs. Stony Brook 10/14/00). He finished the 2009 season with 67 receptions for 865 yards and 11 scores, catching a touchdown in seven-straight games to end the season. He ends his career holding the school records for career receptions (229), career receiving yards (2,848), career touchdowns scored (37), career receiving touchdowns (37), receptions in a season (77-2008), touchdown catches in a game (4 vs. Duquesne 11/14/09) and catches in a game (12 - 2x).
Prior to the game, the Pioneers honored their graduating seniors in captains Tedesco and Friedman, Andre Isla (Brookhaven, NY), Andrew Clayton (Egg Harbor Township, NY), Abel Malae (Pacifica, CA), Matt Maguire (Madison, CT), Chansler Davis (Islip Terrace, NY), Chris Rapp (Ridgefield Park, NJ) and Adam Conger (Randolph, NJ).