The Saint Francis football team can end the season with a .500 record with a win Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, against Concordia.

While the “Turnaround Crew” couldn’t turn the season around and earn a playoff berth after last year’s 3-6 record, the Cougars (4-5, 2-4 MSFA Mideast) did post four lopsided wins this season, winning those contests by an average of 40.25 points. The Cougars also stood just eight points from a 5-0 start, losing at home to St. Xavier 25-20 on Sept. 24, and 13-10 at Siena Heights on Oct. 1.

Those positive steps, paired with the impressive play from true freshman Garrett Yoon at quarterback, give Saint Francis coach Kevin Donley hope that his squad can continue the upward trajectory into 2023 and beyond.

“We’re going into the last week of the regular season, and we have to find a way to get this one,” Donley said. “They have the same record as we do, and they’re a good football team. I love our kids, and I think we’ll rally at 1 o’clock on Saturday.”

The Cardinals have fallen on tough times as well this fall after finishing 9-2 in 2021, earning the No. 8 seed in the NAIA playoffs and advancing to the quarterfinals. Concordia has featured a bit of Jekyll-and-Hyde this season, handling a Lawrence Tech squad on Oct. 29 that narrowly defeated USF on Saturday, while also dropping a 24-21 decision at Taylor on Oct. 15 two weeks before the Cougars routed the Trojans at home by 38.

“We have to take care of the football,” Donley said. “We have to continue to throw the football well, and I think defensively we’ll play tougher. (We need to) stop the Concordia run, keep the ball in front of us on the back end, and offensively, we have to play pitch and catch.”

In his two starts, Yoon has completed 59 percent of his passes (45 of 76) for 568 yards and four touchdowns compared to just one interception, which came last week as the Cougars battled winds gusting to 40 miles per hour in Southfield, Michigan.

While an offensive line battling injuries has presented issues running the ball consistently, Yoon’s steady play behind center gives Donley promise for the future.

“We have a lot of guys playing (on the offensive line) that don’t have a lot of experience,” Donley said. “We’re scrapping and clawing and moving on to the next one. Obviously (Yoon) did extremely well against Taylor and he did well again Saturday.

“We have to run the ball better, but Garrett’s a competitor. He has a great football mind, he understands where to go with the football. I’m proud of him, the way he’s fighting it and trying to get better each and every day.”