St. Xavier hits stride, zips past St. Francis
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media September 8, 2012 10:56PM
Saint Xavier University's Wes Gastel breaks a tackle and runs the ball into the endzone to score the third touchdown for the Cougars against University of St. Francis during their football game in Chicago Saturday, September 8, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 8, 2012 1:57AM
Four offensive possessions. No points.
Not exactly a typical start for the high-flying St. Xavier offense.
Playing at home for the first time since winning the 2011 NAIA title, the Cougars fell behind by three points only to come back with a vengeance Saturday.
St. Xavier scored touchdowns on three consecutive first-half possessions on the way to a 31-3 win over St. Francis in a Mid-States Football Association crossover.
“We were making some early mistakes but we were able to pick it up,” Cougars receiver Wes Gastel said. “We dropped some catchable balls but we cleaned it up.”
St. Francis kicker Sean Murray drilled a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter to put the Fighting Saints (1-2) up 3-0.
With a turnover on downs, an interception and two punts to show for its first four possessions, St. Xavier (2-0) finally clicked offensively. Quarterback Jimmy Coy (38-of-53, 334 yards, 4 TDs) found Corey Wennmacher for a 24-yard touchdown.
Gastel capped 90-yard and 96-yard drives with touchdowns, an 8-yarder in the corner and a 50-yard grab across the middle in which he broke two tackles to find the end zone.
“I hope it got everyone going,” Gastel said. “It’s always fun when someone on the team does it, and we’ve got a lot of guys who can (score).”
Shane Zackery finished with 11 catches for 103 yards and a score for St. Xavier. Jacob Ghinazzi, Clayton Fejedelem and Jeremy Rhodes had interceptions of St. Francis quarterback E.J. White (25-of-40, 282 yards).
The Fighting Saints racked up 376 yards of offense but were unable to convert in the red zone while committing five turnovers.
“It’s been the story of our year so far,” St. Francis coach Joe Curry said. “We drive the ball great 20 (yard line) to 20 and something stupid happens in the red zone. We pride ourselves on touchdowns. We don’t want to kick field goals.”