Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Matt Kominkiewicz of Saint Francis returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown Saturday at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium. The out-of-the-gate score propelled the top-ranked Cougars to the rout of Lindenwood-Belleville and their 18th straight victory.
Sunday, October 29, 2017 1:00 am
Saint Francis 70 Lindenwood 0
Early score sets table for Cougars' rout
GREG JONES | The Journal Gazette
That's all it took for top-ranked and defending NAIA champion Saint Francis to get it going against winless Lindenwood-Belleville in a 70-0 win Saturday at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium.
Freshman Matt Kominkiewicz took the game's opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Cougars (8-0, 5-0 Mid-States Football Association Mideast League) the lead at 14:47 of the first quarter. The score only got more lopsided as Saint Francis cruised to its 18th straight win and first shutout of the season.
The Lynx fell to 0-8, 0-4.
“These kind of games you just want to get through and not get anybody hurt and the shutout defensively,” said Saint Francis coach Kevin Donley, who estimated he got around 70 players into the game. “We did pretty much what we needed to do.”
Senior quarterback Nick Ferrer threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns to up his MFSA record to 126. He threw scoring tosses to three different receivers – sophomore Dan Ricksy, senior Sean Boswell and sophomore Nate Carson. Ricksy had six catches for 170 yards.
Ferrer didn't play in the fourth quarter.
“Even having a lesser opponent, the defense played amazing with the shutout,” Ferrer said. “All in all, it was really good and really positive. Our coaching staff does a great job of (creating energy); you have to come out and play your hardest and play your best, no matter what because you don't know how many opportunities you are going to get.
“You have guys who are fighting for that 57-man playoff roster. What they do here when they get in and have their opportunities is going to speak volumes when it comes to that roster.
“Coach (Donley) talks about it each week, about not getting complacent, keep getting better and focus on us; if we focus on us, everything will take of itself.”
The Cougars outgained the Lynx 494-174. The defense gave up only 15 rushing yards, and Spencer Cowherd returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
“(Your eyes) get pretty big, especially when you see nothing but green,” Cowherd said of the interception. “I was like, 'Is the ball really coming at me?' Yep, and I got it, and right down the sideline. It was an exciting play, and it brought some energy to the fans, and I definitely like to have that on the highlights. The defense did a great job, and everybody doing their job allowed me to make that play.”
Junior linebacker Kaleb Summers capped the scoring and the big day for the defense by returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown in the fourth.
Saint Francis led 21-0 after the first quarter, 49-0 at halftime and started taking starters out early in the third quarter with a 56-0 lead.
“What we gained is a lot of guys got the opportunity to play and show what they had,” said junior running back Justin Green, who ran for 73 yards and three touchdowns.