The ETSU football team went head-to-head against the Saint Francis Red Flash at Kermit Tipton Stadium on Saturday.
Saint Francis came out strong, scoring quickly in the first quarter and building to a 58-9 lead by the end of the game.
The first quarter didn’t start off well for the Buccaneers. On the opening kick, Saint Francis’ Lorenzo Jerome (Sunrise, Fla.) ran the ball back 98 yards for a touchdown, giving the Red Flash a 7-0 lead at the start of the game.
Shortly after a turnover on downs, Saint Francis’ Lance Geesey (Harrisburg, Penn.) completed a 28-yard field goal.
ETSU quarterback Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) threw an interception to Saint Francis’ Robert Miller, resulting in a 40-yard run to the end zone.
After a 43-yard kick return by ETSU’s Domenique Williams (Charlotte, N.C.), the biggest return this season, the Bucs’ defense made a huge stop with a safety by Ferguierson Charles (Fort Myers, Fla.), ending the quarter 17-2.
ETSU was unable to achieve a first down in the first quarter.
The second quarter started similar to the first. Saint Francis was able to score within the first 40 seconds of the quarter after Khairi Dickson (Cleveland, Ohio) completed a 13-yard touchdown run.
The quarter continued to look one-sided as Saint Francis scored two more times, the first after a 7-yard run by Zack Drayer (Hershey, Penn.) and the second after ETSU’s Nick Sexton threw an interception to Saint Francis’ Sean Orsini, who ran in for a 34-yard touchdown.
This score widened St. Francis’ lead to 38-2.
“We came out a little flat, and I can see where that was the case,” said Herink. “It’s one of those things that you can feel, but it’s tough to tell.”
The energy of the Bucs began to pick up going into the second half.
In the third quarter, the Bucs held Saint Francis to only one score. The Red Flash scored on a 37-yard pass from Drayer to Terrell Smith.
The extra point attempt was blocked by ETSU’s Austin Jackson (Cary, NC), giving St. Francis a 44-2 to close out the quarter.
Saint Francis continued to lead in both passing and rushing yards in the third quarter. In passing yards, the Red Flash completed 180 compared to ETSU’s 55. In rushing yards, St. Francis completed 89 compared to the Bucs’ 15.
In the final quarter, Saint Francis scored first with a 6-yard run by Wesley Nagaseu (Waipahu, Hawaii).
The Bucs were able to respond this quarter with their first touchdown of the game. Herink ran the ball 6 yards to the end zone to bring the score to 51-9.
Although the Bucs were able to score, it was too late to make a comeback. Saint Francis scored once more before the quarter ended with a 2-yard run by Marcus Bagley (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) resulting in a final score of 58-9.
“[In the] first half, we did nothing on offense,” said ETSU coach Carl Torbush. “Our defense played a lot more than they needed to, but I think they responded well. [In the] second half, we let some plays happen that can’t happen for us to have a chance to win.”
Tavian Lott (D’Lo, Miss), finished the game with 8 tackles, leading the ETSU defense.
“Honestly, I feel this was my best game as far as tackling,” said Lott. “Coach has preached a lot about the secondary needing to tackle better.
“We came out a little flat, but with me being the oldest guy on the team with some of the most experience, I think I played a role in that. I also think I definitely have to do a better job of getting our guys up and playing a little harder.”
The Bucs will have a bye week this Saturday and will get back on the field on Oct. 17 at Mercer in Macon, Georgia.