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St. Vincent football starts season with 3 losses

| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

Nobody at St. Vincent figured the Bearcats football team would start off with three consecutive losses.

Not after the breakout season it had last year, resulting in the program's first winning record since the school brought back the sport in 2007.

“The (returning) players thought we were on our way,” St. Vincent coach Bob Colbert said. “I told them at the start of the year, ‘It's a new season. It's a new season every season. You can't look back.' ”

But St. Vincent lost a lot from that 6-5 team that went out with a 23-15 defeat to Lebanon Valley in the ECAC Division III Southwest Bowl.

For starters, Colbert had to replace his quarterback following the graduation of Aaron Smetanka, who threw for 2,150 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“It's still a relatively young team we have here,” said Colbert, voted the Presidents' Athletic Conference coach of the year after St. Vincent finished second in the league in the 2011 regular season with a 5-3 mark.

Among the other departures was linebacker Anthony Johnson, who led the PAC with 107 total tackles.

In its most recent performance, a 35-14 loss to Waynesburg in the PAC opener at Chuck Noll Field, St. Vincent followed a familiar trend. In all of their three games, the Bearcats were competitive at the start.

But in two of them, they fell behind by a wide margin and couldn't recover.

They lost to Bridgewater (Va.), 23-7, in their opener after the teams played to a scoreless first-half tie. On Saturday against Waynesburg, the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 after the first quarter.

St. Vincent's other loss — a see-saw, 27-21 overtime decision to Wooster — the Bearcats were leading by a touchdown in the second half but couldn't prevail.

Colbert tried to smile after the latest loss. He felt it would mask the pain he feels for his team and perhaps for his coaches and himself.

St. Vincent, which plays at Westminster (Pa.) on Saturday night, was without several key players for the Waynesburg game, including leading rusher Huey Ehredt, for what Colbert described as unspecified health reasons.

“Was there a positive to come out of this?” he said of the loss to Waynesburg. “Well, we didn't turn the ball over. But a negative was we didn't get one, either.

“Sure, we're disappointed. It's a matter now of us not giving up.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dmackall@tribweb.com or 412-380-5617.

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