LORETTO - St. Francis returned home to Loretto in hopes of continuing its winning ways at DeGol Field.
You see, the Red Flash had not lost a home game the entire season - beating Bryant and Robert Morris.
But fans, students and the homecoming game crowd in attendance saw something they had not seen all season, as the Red Flash lost a 31-24 decision to a visiting Wagner Seahawks team Saturday in Northeast Conference play.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
St. Francis’ A.J. Alexander attempts to put a move on Wagner’s Torian Phillips on Saturday at DeGol Field.
The game could not have been any more even across the board, when it comes to stats. The Red Flash edged the Seahawks in first downs, 24-20, but lost in time of possession, 31:43 to 28:17. St. Francis bested Wagner in rushing yards with 196-to-174, but the Seahawks outgained the Flash by a margin of 163 to 157 through the air. It should have come as no surprise as to how close the scores on the scoreboard were as well.
"We came up just short," Red Flash senior quarterback John Kelly said. "We made some errors, so it's just a matter of execution."
The Seahawks put the ball in the end zone midway through the first quarter and on their first possession of the game on a 10-yard run by Dominique Williams. The Red Flash tied the game, 7-7, when Kelly found a wide open A.J. Alexander and threw a perfect deep ball, hitting Alexander perfectly in stride for a 60-yard touchdown.
"A.J. made a great play," Kelly said.
Following a touchdown catch by David Crawford from quarterback Nick Doscher and a 34-yard made field goal by David Lopez, the Red Flash were able to score three more points as time expired in the second quarter. Josh Thiel answered Cruz's kick with a 43-yarder of his own, after the Red Flash drove 53 yards on nine plays, while using only 1:26 of the clock.
Williams, who finished with a team-high 93 yards rushing, reached pay-dirt for a second time this one a 7-yard receiving touchdown. Keion Wade made it a 24-17 deficit when he scored from 12 yards out. Wagner scored again with just over a minute left in the third quarter, when Darnell Sapps caught a 12-yarder from Doscher.
St. Francis' defense knew it had to shutout Wagner for the fourth quarter to have any chance at all to stage a comeback. That's exactly what they did. St. Francis coach Chris Villarrial's defense forced a pair of punts in the fourth quarter to allow them to keep them within striking distance. Kelly reached paydirt from 7 yards out with 10:30 left to make it a 31-24 game, but the Wagner defense stepped up its play as well, forcing a pair of punts by the Red Flash.
"Our defense made some good adjustments later on in the game," Villarrial said.
Kelly led the rushing attack with 110 yards and Wade added 79 yards of his own. Kelly completed 12-of-21 passes for 157 yards, but besides the long touchdown pass to Alexander, the Red Flash really didn't have any success going downfield.
"I am very happy with our run game," Villlarrial said. "But we need to get the ball downfield more."
The Seahawks improved to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the NEC.
The Red Flash fell to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference. They will play against Central Connecticut State on the road next week.
Score By Quarters
St. Francis01077 24
W Williams 10 run (Lopez kick), 5:34.
SF Alexander 60 pass from Kelly (Thiel kick), 12:43.
W Crawford 28 pass from Doscher (Lopez kick), 12:20.
W Lopez 34 field goal, 1:37.
SF Thiel 43 field goal, 0:00.
W Williams 7 pass from Doscher (Lopez kick), 11:27.
SF Wade 12 run (Thiel kick), 6:50.
W Sapps 12 pass from Doscher (Lopez kick), 1:06.
SF Kelly 7 run (Thiel kick), 10:30.
Rushing: Wagner Williams 19-93, Wright 5-45, Doscher 8-33, Greene 5-3. St. Francis - Kelly 20-110, Wade 20-79, Abied 1-7.
Passing: Wagner Doscher 12-17-0-163. St. Francis Kelly 12-21-0-157.
Receiving: Wagner Williams 4-43, Crawford 3-63, Morgan 2-21, Carrington 1-18. St. Francis Alexander 3-71, Domonkos 3-27, Parker 2-23, Wade 2-8.
TEAM STATISTICSW SF