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Seton Hill football ends losing streak, takes step in right direction

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Seton Hill no longer has the longest losing streak in football in the area.

That's because the Griffins ended their 23-game losing streak with a 17-10 victory Saturday at Cheyney State.

The victory was the first for new coach Isaac Collins.

The winning score came after Jordan Harper recovered a Cheyney fumbled punt at the Cheyney 15. Jarvis McClam, who rushed for 86 yards, scored on a 1-yard run with 5:59 left.

McClam caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Halfhill, who completed 10 of 16 passes for 141 yards.

Collins said he was excited for the players who fought and were able to overcome their mistakes for the first time this season.

He coached previously at Division III Widener, where he was a head football coach and defensive coordinator. In 2011, Collins led Widener to the Mid-American Conference title with a 9-2 record and an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Atlantic South Bowl Championship.

In three years as Widener's head coach, Collins brought the university back into prominence with a 25-8 record that included an 11-1 mark in 2012 and a No. 15 national ranking according in the American Football Coaches Association. In 2012, The Pride led the nation with 59.5 points a game and was fourth with 10.5 tackles for loss a contest and fourth with 0.33 sacks allowed a game.

California coach Mike Kellar said earlier this season that Collins has the team headed in the right direction. He was faced with a similar job when he became the Concord University coach in 2009.

“You have to clean house,” Kellar said. “It's not easy, but you have to change the attitude of the team and get rid of the losing culture. You do that with bringing new faces into the program.”

Kellar quickly turned the Concord program around, posting a 14-8 record and the school's first eight-win the season since joining NCAA Division II in 1993.

That's exactly what Collins is attempting to do.

The first season has gone as expected because of injuries. Seton Hill was down to its fifth string quarterback at times. It lost starting quarterback Andrew Jackson in the first half of the first game of the season.

Starting safety Josh Falatovich also was lost for the season with an injury.

Junior linebacker Tyler Zimmer has been named to the 2013 All Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West first team. Zimmer is the first Griffin to earn all PSAC West football honors. The teams are voted on by the division's head coaches.

This season, Zimmer led the Griffins in tackles with 93 (57 solo). He was third in the PSAC in tackles per game. He added 10 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.

“We just have to continue to work,” Collins said.

One thing the players said Collins brought to the program was discipline and stability.

“We just have to learn how to eliminate mistakes,” Collins said. “We'll get there. We're a young football team and I think these guys got a lot game of experience which is really important.”

He said the win against Cheyney State was a step in the right direction.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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