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College Football: St. Xavier hangs on for victory

Updated: January 10, 2013 1:46AM



Maybe St. Xavier was looking ahead to the postseason, or maybe a sloppy field was just enough of an equalizer to make things interesting.

Whatever the reason, the No. 4 Cougars found themselves in a dogfight Saturday against Robert Morris in Arlington Heights.

It wasn’t until the St. Xavier defense stopped the Eagles on a 2-point conversion attempt with 3:52 left in the game that the Cougars faithful could rest easy as their squad held on for a 28-19 win in their regular-season finale.

“This was not the way we wanted to go into the playoffs,” St. Xavier coach Mike Feminis said. “We weren’t ourselves today, but when a play had to be made in crunch time, our ‘D’ made it.”

The win likely assures the Cougars will have home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the NAIA playoffs. Pairings are set to be announced Sunday.

Robert Morris (8-3) was inside the Cougars’ 35-yard line on all four of its second-half possessions but came away with just six points as St. Xavier (9-1) made a pair of fourth-down stops and got an interception in the end zone from Mark Williams.

The Eagles pulled to within nine on a 1-yard TD pass from Matt Westerkamp to Deshawn Weaver with 3:25 left, but Westerkamp’s pass on the 2-point try sailed high.

St. Xavier escaped despite not scoring over the game’s final 26 minutes, slowed on a mud-covered field torn apart by strong rain.

The conditions weren’t a problem early for Jimmy Coy (28-of-48 passing, 361 yards) and Shane Zackery (8 catches, 96 yards), who hooked up for three first-half TDs of 12, 45 and 16 yards.

“Jimmy made sensational throws and that’s just the connection we have,” Zackery said. “But we didn’t play to our full potential today. It’s definitely a wake-up call.”

Coy hit Chase Catton (8 catches, 108 yards) for a 7-yard score early in the third to make it 28-13.

Then it was up to the defense to hold on.

“We knew we’d get a win,” said defensive lineman Greg Hayward, an Oak Lawn alum. “We always find a way.”



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