Late field goal lifts Duquesne over St. Francis
No matter how many work out in the end, the slow starts and second-half surges don't get any easier for coach Jerry Schmitt to stomach.
The Dukes (4-1, 2-0) scored 10 unanswered points in the final seven minutes to edge St. Francis, 24-21, on Saturday afternoon at Arthur J. Rooney Field. Senior Charlie Leventry kicked a 20-yard field goal with 32 seconds left to secure the Northeast Conference win.
“I don't want to be in that situation all the time,” said Schmitt, whose Dukes have outscored their last four opponents, 73-21, in the second half. “I'd like to come into the fourth quarter with the lead, and I think we can. I think we make mistakes to put ourselves in that situation.”
St. Francis (2-3, 1-1) held a 21-13 lead early in the fourth quarter and hoped to earn a rare victory over the Dukes, who now have won 13 of the past 14 meetings and lead the all-time series, 33-6.
“It meant a lot for us to try to come in here and make a statement,” St. Francis coach Chris Villarrial said. “Obviously we played hard, we fought hard. But it's a 60-minute game, and you can't play hard for 45 minutes and expect to win. … Some guys really stepped up today and played their hearts out. But there are just other guys who need to catch up real fast.”
Running back Larry McCoy's 3-yard touchdown and Sean Patterson's two-point conversion pass to Kyle Shuman tied the score with 6:54 left.
Duquesne drove 66 yards during the game-deciding possession. On third-and-8 from the St. Francis' 34-yard line, Patterson connected with Sean Brady in the right seam for a 30-yard gain.
“It seems like we tend to do this week-in, week-out,” said Patterson, who finished with 251 yards passing and 42 rushing. “I just told the guys to take what they give us and hang in there, because eventually something would open up for us.”
Leventry finished 3 of 4, with makes from 37, 30 and 20 yards and a miss from 39.
“I was more upset about the first field goal I made than the one I missed,” Leventry said. “The first field goal I made, I didn't hit it that well. I had some bad contact. And the field goal I missed, it was just my follow-through.”
McCoy finished with 32 carries for two touchdowns and 122 yards, a total that far exceeded the 23 he needed to reach 4,000 rushing yards for his career. His sixth carry of the game, a 6-yard gain off the left side of the line, allowed him to achieve a feat that previously only belonged to record-holder Donte Small (4,260), who played from 1998 to 2001.
Keion Wade finished with three touchdowns and 82 yards on 21 carries for St. Francis. Quarterback John Kelly led the offense in rushing (103 yards on 14 carries) and threw for 94 yards.
“It's frustrating,” Villarrial said. “I'm proud of 95 percent of our team right now. There are still a bunch of guys who don't know how to finish games yet, and that's my fault.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.