LORETTO - After losing a third-quarter lead in last week's loss at James Madison, St. Francis head coach Chris Villarrial was looking for a complete game from his team. Statistically St. Francis had a complete game. He got that in a 38-7 victory in their home opener Saturday against Lincoln.
However, the number that Villarrial was focused on most at the end of the game was five. That was the number of times St. Francis put the ball on the ground Saturday in very rainy conditions.
"It was a very sloppy game," he said. "We can't play like that and expect to win this conference. We have to play better. We have to look at this tape, correct our mistakes, and get going. With the conditions we had, we'll take the win. Obviously we did some things offensively, and defensively we did a tremendous job and shut them down."
Two of the Red Flash's five fumbles came on the first two plays of the game. St. Francis was able to recover the first fumble, but the Lions took possession of the ball on the second play of the game after Red Flash quarterback Max Ward was sacked and lost the ball. Two plays later, Lincoln quarterback Doug Cook hit Akeem Jordan on a 12-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
With the weather conditions not conducive to passing, the Red Flash relied on senior running back Kyle Harbridge. He responded in record-tying fashion. He ran for 230 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns, tying the school record for most rushing touchdowns in one game. He originally set the record against Morehead State on Sept. 17, 2011.
Harbridge quickly got the momentum back on the Red Flash's side with a 64-yard scamper on the first play after Lincoln's touchdown. Two plays later, he scored from 7 yards out to tie the game. He added an 8-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, and Khairi Dickson added a 2-yard touchdown late in the half to give St. Francis a 21-7 halftime lead.
A 49-yard Dane Domonkos punt return early in the third quarter set up Harbridge's third score, from 4 yards out. Another long punt return, a 51-yard scamper by Anthony Abeid, flipped field position which eventually led to a 21-yard touchdown run by Harbridge that tied his school record.
DaQuan Minter intercepted a Cook pass in the first quarter to stop one Lions drive, and Lorenzo Jermone picked off another pass at the Red Flash 9-yard line just before half to preserve the 14-point lead going into intermission.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Lincoln ....................70 0 0- 7
St. Francis..............7 14 14 3-38
L-Jordan 12 pass from Cook (Jaski kick), 13:57.
StF-Harbridge 7 run (Geesey kick), 12:42.
StF-Harbridge 8 run (kick failed), 14:57.
StF-Dickson 2 run (Dickson run), 3:47.
StF-Harbridge 4 run (kick failed), 12:50.
StF-Harbridge 21 run (Damiano run), 6:08.
StF-FG Geesey 22, :17.
Time of Possession30:1129:49
RUSHING-Lincoln, Gilliam 21-39, Watlington 11-10, Ngozi 2-6, Cook 2-(minus 5), Kelly 1-(minus 7). St. Francis, Harbridge 22-230, Dickson 11-45, Campbell 9-34, Myers 6-20, C.Thompson 1-(minus 16), Ward 7-(minus 39).
PASSING-Lincoln, Cook 6-14-2-48, Ngozi 0-2-0-0. St. Francis, Ward 2-8-0-55, Gensiak 1-1-0-8, C.Thompson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING-Lincoln, Jordan 2-28, McRary 2-10, Roberts 1-6, Morris 1-4. St. Francis, T.Smith 1-49, Rounceville 1-8, Bowman 1-6.0