2012 Siena Heights University Football
Siena Heights Saints (1-0) vs
Iowa Wesleyan Tigers (0-1)
Saturday, Sept. 1 - 2 p.m. (1 p.m. CST) - Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Live Coverage: Jerry Hayes (play-by-play), Siena Heights Sports Network (www.shusaints.com), WLEN 103.9 FM
For a complete PDF version of game notes, click HERE.
IOWA WESLEYAN: Roster | Schedule | Coaches
The Siena Heights football team will play its first road game of the season on Sept. 1 when it visits Iowa Wesleyan for a 2 p.m. EST contest (1 p.m. CST local time).
Running back Travis Damron rushed for three touchdowns, including the game-winner, as the Saints opened their season -- and NAIA membership -- with a 26-19 double-overtime victory over Robert Morris (Ill.) last Saturday at O’Laughlin Stadium. After Damron’s go-ahead score, RMU had one chance to answer, but five incomplete passes and a sack by defensive lineman Joseph Mravec helped the Saints hold on.
Iowa Wesleyan also played its first game last week, dropping a 39-14 decision to William Penn (Iowa) at home. Quarterback Kevin McConnell completed 15 of 27 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 14 times for 45 yards while wide receiver Ridge Hobbs finished with five catches for 96 yards and a score. Richard Silva led the Tiger defense with 12 1/2 tackles.
FOLLOW THE MARCH
All Siena Heights football games will be broadcast on the radio on WLEN 103.9 FM and on the Siena Heights Sports Network, which can be accessed via the Stretch Internet link on WWW.SHUSAINTS.COM. Live stats can be followed online at WWW.SHUSAINTS.COM.
SHSN will provide live video for each Saint home game. Play-by-play will be called by Jerry Hayes while Doug Goodnough will provide color commentary. Games will be archived in Stretch’s on-demand feature.
Jim Lyall (Michigan ’74) is in his second season as head coach for Siena Heights, where he now has a 1-0 varsity record. He is 103-91-1 all-time as a collegiate varsity football coach. During SHU’s 2011 club season, Lyall went 8-1. He was previously the head coach at Adrian, where he compiled a 102-91-1 varsity slate.
Tom Parkevich (Mount Senario, Wis., ‘91) is in his first season as head coach of the Iowa Wesleyan football program. Prior to joining the Tigers, he was defensive coordinator for Saint Scholastica (Minn.).
UP NEXT ...
On Sept. 8, the Saints will play their first league game in the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League when they host No. 3 Marian (Ind.) for a 1 p.m. kickoff at O’Laughlin Stadium. The Knights should prove to be SHU’s toughest test to date; they were an NAIA Tournament semifinalist in 2011.
Marian opened its season last week with a 35-0 victory over Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and is visiting No. 11 Bethel (Tenn.) this week.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
The Iowa Wesleyan Tigers, who finished last season with a 4-7 overall record and 2-5 slate in MSFA Midwest League, dropped their season opener to William Penn (Iowa) last week.
IWC is led on offense by a pair of All-MSFA Midwest League performers. Sophomore wide receiver Ridge Hobbs was named to the All-MSFA Midwest First Team last season while junior quarterback Kevin McConnell was named to the All-MSFA Midwest Second Team.
The Tigers had a plethora of players named as Honorable Mentions -- most of which have returned in 2012. That group includes seven juniors: offensive linemen Douglas Fuentes and Jordan Padgett, defensive linemen Sale Fatu and Richard Silva, and defensive backs Justin Hunnicutt, Napoleon Johnson and Duane Lee.
Last week, Iowa Wesleyan was tied with No. 14 William Penn at halftime, 14-14, before the visiting Statesmen ran off 25 unanswered points for a 39-14 WPU victory. Eleven of those points were a direct result of the Tigers being backed up in their own end of the field: two safeties and one WPU fumble recovery in the end zone.
IWC did not allow any yards passing, holding William Penn to an 0-for-6 performance, but did surrender 357 yards on the ground.
McConnell completed 15 of 27 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 14 times for 45 yards while Hobbs finished with five catches for 96 yards and a score. Brandon Harris led the Iowa Wesleyan running-back corps in carries and yards, finishing with nine and 43, respectively.
Defensive lineman Richard Silva had 12 1/2 tackles.
THE GROUND GAME
As a team, the Saints finished with 51 carries in their season opener against Robert Morris. Three ball-carriers had 10 rushes or more; that group was led by sophomore Julius Taylor, who had 18 runs for 80 yards.
While Taylor led the squad in carries and distance, it was fellow sophomore Travis Damron who found the end zone on three separate occasions. Damron scored a pair of 5-yard touchdowns and one 1-yarder, finishing with 15 carries for 68 yards. Junior quarterback Matt King also figured into the running game with 10 rushes for 49 yards.
Sophomore tight ends Donovan Campbell and Lyle VanFleteren have proven themselves valuable as the SHU offense gets acclimated to varsity opponents.
Campbell had eight receptions for 83 yards while VanFleteren finished with three catches for 61 yards against Robert Morris. With the Saints facing defeat, Campbell made the game’s biggest catch.
SHU trailed 19-13 in the first overtime and looked at fourth-and-4 from the Eagles’ 9-yard-line. Quarterback Matt King found Campbell in the back right corner of the end zone, tying the score at 19-all and giving the Saints new life. Campbell’s TD reception was the first in Siena Heights varsity history; VanFleteren had the first touchdown catch in SHU football history when he reached paydirt in last season’s opener at Robert Morris.
LONG LIVE THE KING
The numbers for quarterback Matt King weren’t overly impressive last week, but he was efficient, finishing 17 of 24 for 167 yards and one touchdown. The stats did add up to a 143.0 efficiency rating for the Saints’ signal caller.
King spread the ball around to five receivers, connecting with tight end Lyle VanFleteren for the team’s largest gain on offense -- a 25-yard, one-handed circus catch.
BACK AT IT
A year ago, the Siena Heights defense took many trips into the backfields of opposing offenses. In the 2012 season opener versus RMU, it was no different as the Saints finished with seven tackles-for-loss, including four sacks.
Sophomore Tyler Karcher was SHU’s leading tackler, finishing with nine stops, while freshman defensive end Joseph Mravec had two sacks.
The Saints’ defenders made several big plays. On the game’s opening drive, RMU reached first-and-goal at the SHU 10-yard-line, but eventually had to settle for a 30-yard field goal, which it missed.
In the second quarter, the Eagles elected for another FG, but fumbled the snap. Later in the period, sophomore defensive back Michael Butler came through with an interception in SHU’s own end zone.
RMU scored a touchdown late in the fourth, tying the contest at 13-all with 6:34 left, but the Saints were unwilling to let their visitors take the lead. Sophomore defensive end Kyle Connors recorded a blocked kick on the extra point.
When given an opportunity to close out the game, the Siena Heights defense was successful in the second OT. On a fourth-and-8 incompletion, the Saints were flagged for pass interference and, just like that, the RMU Eagles had the ball first-and-goal at the SHU 8.
The next four-play sequence ended the game and went as such: incompletion, Mravec sack, pass breakup by linebacker Chris Vann, incompletion.