Sharks Fall in Home Opener

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By Andrew Scarpaci

Staff Writer

The football team hosted the Sacred Heart University Pioneers in their first home opener as a Division I program on Saturday, Sept. 21. With a 38-3 loss behind them against South Dakota State two weeks earlier, the Sharks looked to bounce back and prove they have the ability to compete in the Northeast Conference at the Division I level.

In a pre-game interview with WCWP’s Matt Weinstein, a senior broadcasting major, Coach Bryan Collins shared his optimism about his team’s performance against South Dakota State. When asked about how he thinks his Sharks will stack up with the rest of the NEC, Coach Collins said, “We just have to practice to be the best team we can be in order to be a competitive team in the conference.”

Sharks’ running back Tim Marinan has a similar take on the situation.“We want to take it as a step moving forward, not two steps backwards,” Marinan said to WCWP’s James Waldhof in regards to the team’s prior loss to South Dakota State.

The first quarter of the game against Sacred Heart University started off defensive with the Pioneers punting the ball away after going 3 and out to start the game. A field goal attempt by the Sharks was blocked, keeping the game scoreless.

The Pioneers opened up the scoring when running back Eli Terry rushed into the end zone, giving the Pioneers a 6-0 lead with 3:34 left to play in the first quarter.

The Sharks wasted no time getting back on offense. After getting 46 yards on five plays, they took their next snap on second and two at the Pioneers’ 20.

Sharks quarterback Clay Beathard looked downfield and scrambled 20 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 6-6, and score the first touchdown in program history with 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Kicker Briant DeFelice made the extra point, giving the Sharks the 7-6 lead.

In the second quarter, the game started to get away from the Sharks. Pioneers quarterback Logan Marchi took the game into his own hands. He completed back-to-back passes to running back Julious Chestnut and wide receiver Tory Holland, totalling 59 yards. Marchi found wide receiver Tyrese Chambers in the end zone for the 11-yard touchdown reception. The Pioneers took the lead, up 13-7 after a successful point after from kicker Dane Borges.

After a fumble by Beathard near the end zone, the Pioneers maintained their lead. After a 14-yard rush by Chestnut and a false start penalty, Marchi met with tight end Del Driscoll in the end zone for an-other Pioneers touchdown, extending their lead to 20-7 with 7:30 left in the half. After a short play, Mar-chi connected with Chambers for the 60-yard touchdown reception, making the score 27-7, Pioneers in the lead.

Just before the end of the third quarter, kicker Briant DeFelice knocked through the 33-yard goal to bring the score to 27-10.

With 12:37 left of the game, Chestnut settled the match by running down the Sharks defence. It only took four plays for the Pioneers to reach the end zone. Chestnut ran for 69 yards on the drive on three attempts, and capped off on a 44 run into the end zone for the touchdown, making the score 34-10.

This would be the final score of the game as The Sharks would turn the ball over on downs on their next drive nearing the goal line.

The Pioneers offense was no match for the Sharks’ defence this time around. Marchi threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns; Chambers had eight receptions for 144 yards and one touchdown; Chestnut rushed 28 times for 169 yards and one touchdown.

Sharks’ Beathard did not shine in the same light, as he only completed nine of his 25 passing attempts, totaled 135 yards, and his only touchdown came on the run.

The Sharks’ will look for their first win in their next game on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Wagner College. The contest against Wagner can be seen on ESPN 3 or heard live on WCWP “The Wave” radio on 88.1 FM.

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