The Sacred Heart 2011 football season got off to a sour note Saturday night as the Pioneers dropped their home opener at Campus Field, losing 20-7 to Marist. The Pioneers played their season debut before better than 2,000 fans.
The locals had a 7-0 lead at the half, but were unable to get on the scoreboard in the second half, and Marist scored 20 unanswered points to secure the win. Pioneer quarterbk Tim Little scored his first collegiate touchdown on a five yard run at the 8:02 mark of the first quarter. Marist QB Chuckie Lonney threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, as the Red Foxes earned head coach Jim Parady his 100th career victory. It was also the opening game of the year for Marist.
Sacred Heart took advantage of a Red Fox fumble on a punt return following the game’s opening series as Niko Serra jarred the ball loose and Sean Bell recovered the fumble to set up the Pioneers with possession in the red zone. Little dove into the end zone four plays later to give Sacred Heart a 7-0 lead.
The Red Foxes struck quickly to start the second half, moving 70 yards and to tie the game at 7-7. Michael Rios caught a 43-yard strike from Looney to cap the three play drive. The game remained deadlocked at the end of the third quarter.
Marist took the lead on a play that was set up by Looney’s wheels. The sophomore quarterback escaped pressure in the pocket and found Anthony Calcagni in the back of the end zone to make it 14-7.
Looney and Marist would put the game away with 7:26 remaining as Rios and Looney connected on a 47 yard touchdown pass that made it 20-7.
Little went 9-of-12 for 77 yards while Luke Wischnowski completed seven passes on 13 attempts for 65 yards for the Pioneers Jo Jo Jamiel paced the Sacred Heart receiving core with seven catches for 54 yards. Sierra led the Pioneers with seven tackles while Vinny Branchini had the teams’ only sack. Marist brought down the Pioneer quarterbacks four times.
The Pioneers will have a bye week to prepare for a September 16 clash against Northeast Conference opponent Bryant for a home game.