ADRIAN, Mich. -- Saturday night the atmosphere was electric at O'Laughlin Stadium as the Siena Heights football team came back to defeat the 17th-ranked Saint Xavier (Ill.) Cougars 30-29 in a Mid-States Football Association crossover contest.
SHU opened the scoring in the first quarter with a field goal by sophomore kicker Brady Tanguay and a rushing touchdown by quarterback Garrett Schaller at the beginning of the second quarter before the Cougars responded.
Saint Xavier responded with 11:12 remaining in the second quarter when Alex Martinez sent Dan Ladd 32 yards, into the end zone.
After initially bobbling the ball, Jordan Riley made a 91-yard return on the SXU kickoff. The Saints were unable to get to ball in the end zone. Tanguay again answered the call, making an 18-yard and later a 25-yard field goal to put the Saints up 16-7 heading into halftime.
A SHU turnover, the Cougars flew a 30-yard touchdown into Stephen Simms to make the score 16-14 with 9:13 left in the third quarter.
Da'vonte Price came up big for the Saints (3-1, 2-1), blocking a SXU field goal attempt and recovering the ball on the Saint Xavier 40-yard line. Lucas Barner Jr. took advantage of the opportunity and took to flight, sending Austin Krider into the end zone with a 12-yard reception. The 23-14 score held through the third quarter.
With 12:49 remaining in the game, the Cougars strung together over six minutes of possession to come within two points of the Saints.
At the 2:38 mark, Martinez completes a 6-yard pass to Simms to score for the Cougars. SXU successfully converted the two-point conversion to go up 29-23 over Siena Heights.
Only three plays into their possession, SHU was set back at 3rd down and 15 yards. On 4th and 19, Barner threw and incomplete pass that garners a flag--pass interference on SXU.
Curtis Smith Jr. made two grabs from Barner to move the Saints up to the 35-yard line. Saint Xavier took a timeout at 1:02 and 0:33 to reset the defense.
The next play, 4th and 10, Barner threw an incomplete to Krider in the end zone when another flag is thrown--pass interference on Saint Xavier.
With a new set of downs, SHU looked to the endzone: Braelen Bader snatched a Barner toss to get the Saints on the 24-yard line. Bader got the Saints to the 8-yard line and a first down from another Barner connection.
Through the heavy coverage in the backfield, Barner found C. Smith to tie the score 29-29 with only 13 seconds on the clock. The SHU sideline earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was applied to the SHU extra point attempt.
For his longest attempt of the night, 35 yards, Tanguay sent the PAT through the uprights and to a 30-29 victory over the No. 17 Cougars. SXU tried a counter with a few trick plays but was unable to turnover a result.
Sophomore kicker Tanguay proved to be a difference-maker in tonights' contest, earning 12 of the Saints' 30 points--three field goals and three PATs.
For SHU, C. Smith and Krider each brought in a touchdown, going 70 yards and 63 yards, respectively.
Sophomore Siena Heights' quarterback Barner threw for 193 yards in 25 attempts and 16 completions.
Offensively, Saint Xavier (2-3, 1-0) out-rushed, 162-100, out-passed, 399-293, and out-possessed the Saints but Siena Heights still came out on top. SHU scored on 5 of 5 red zone chances while SXU scored on 3 of 5.
Martinez went 16 for 27 with two interceptions to gain 235 yards for the Cougars. Simms brough in eight passes for 136 yards.
On defense, Kevin Leifker led with four solo and six unassisted tackles.
The Saints have a bye week before returning to action on Oct. 8 when the Saints host third-ranked Saint Francis (Ind.) for the Siena Heights Homecoming game. USF, who is currently third on the NAIA Poll, will face Lindenwood-Belleville in an MSFA crossover contest on Saturday, Sept. 24. USF will also play Marian (Ind.) on Saturday, Oct. 1, prior to hosting the Saints.