College Football: St. Xavier gets past William Penn 12-6
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 26, 2013 5:56PM
Updated: October 26, 2013 8:58PM
The first 12 possessions for St. Xavier on Saturday produced two field goals, two turnovers and exactly no touchdowns.
But needing a score to break a late tie against visiting William Penn, the Cougars’ struggling offense kept rolling forward. No looking back this time.
“We try to take every drive as just that one drive,” St. Xavier freshman Stephen Simms said. “We try to put the ball in the end zone every time.”
Catching a Joe Gill pass for a 6-yard go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, Simms’ touchdown was the game’s only touchdown. St. Xavier prevailed in a low-scoring affair, winning 12-6 over William Penn in a Mid-States Football Association Midwest League game.
Simms finished with 35 rushing yards and 27 receiving yards to help lead St. Xavier (5-3, 2-1).
The Cougars managed just 230 yards of offense to 199 for William Penn.
“We’re 5-3, and we know we have to be 8-3 to get into the playoffs,” St. Xavier coach Mike Feminis said. “The playoffs started last week for us. We’re not going to win with style points. We’re too young, too banged up. Whatever we’ve got to do to win, that’s what we’ll do.”
With the offense limited to two Spencer Nolen field goals (31 and 50 yards) through three-plus quarters, St. Xavier finally put some plays together in the fourth.
Nolen even ran for 16 yards on a fake punt on a fourth-and-10, helping set up the Gill-to-Simms combination.
“Our defense was just outrageous, and we feed off their energy,” Simms said. “I ran the wrong route, and the play broke down. I was wide open the whole play. I told the coaches they couldn’t be too mad.”
William Penn (3-5, 1-2) had one last shot to tie or go for the win on a fourth-and-10 from the St. Xavier 25-yard line, but Nick Cemeno’s pressure helped force an incompletion.
The Cougars limited a run-heavy William Penn offense that averages 321 rushing yards per game to just 118 yards on 47 carries.
“We said if they couldn’t score a touchdown, they weren’t going to win,” St. Xavier linebacker Dave Marciano said. “We know we have a good defense, and I love when we come out and show it.”
Khary Ferguson had 68 rushing yards on 23 carries for St. Xavier.
Joliet Catholic product Zach Dolph finished with 23 tackles for the Cougars, a school single-game record.