Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Fall to Saint Francis in Sloppy Season Opener
Matt Watkins had an interception and led Valpo in tackles at Saint Francis.
Matt Watkins had an interception and led Valpo in tackles at Saint Francis.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Box Score

                Turnovers on three of the first four possessions of the second half on a muddy field turned field position favorably toward Saint Francis (Ill.) on Thursday evening and the Fighting Saints took advantage, recording a 21-0 victory over Valparaiso in Joliet, Ill. in the season opener for both schools.

                In a game played in a driving rain storm, field possession was at a premium.  The opening 15 minutes saw both team struggle to move the ball, with the majority of the action being played between the 30-yard lines.  Matt Watkins (Mason, Ohio/Mason H.S.) intercepted a pass early in the first quarter, the first of two turnovers the Crusaders forced in the first half.

                Saint Francis found the scoreboard at the 12:26 mark of the second quarter after utilizing a seven play, 70-yard drive, all on the ground.  Javon Stewart, who carried six times on the drive, scored on misdirection to the right from 20 yards out to put the Fighting Saints on top 7-0.

                “Their early score made it an uphill battle for us to climb,” head coach Stacy Adams said afterwards.  “By the end of the first quarter the field was a quagmire.  We’re a no excuse team though, but we would have loved to have played them on a dry surface.”

                Anthony Curry (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville H.S.) picked off another Saint Francis pass midway through the second quarter, returning it 22 yards into Fighting Saints territory.  Valpo could not move the ball past the host’s 35-yard line in the first half, punting on all five possessions.

                The Crusaders appeared poised to threaten opening the second half, as John Popper (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman H.S.) returned the kickoff 33 yards to the Valpo 47, but two plays later a fumble, the first Valpo turnover of the game, gave Saint Francis the ball at midfield.  The Crusader defense responded, forcing a three-and-out.

                After a short Valpo punt, the Fighting Saints took over at the Crusader 25-yard line.  Five running plays later, Donte Villery scored up the middle from three yards out.  A bad snap on the conversion left Saint Francis on top 13-0 at the 8:26 mark.

                A fumble on the ensuing kickoff again set Saint Francis up in Valpo territory.  A converted fourth-and-seven kept the drive alive and Jason Fiske went around left end at the 4:10 mark for a 10-yard score.  Fiske then ran right for the two-point conversion, and the home team led by 21 points when the third quarter came to an end.

                 Another fumble on a punt allowed Saint Francis to start yet another drive at the Valpo 29, but the defense held on fourth down on the first play of the fourth quarter.

                Valpo’s offense finally moved inside of the Saint Francis 30 with under four minutes to go in the game, picking up the Crusaders lone first down of the second half.  Valpo managed just 24 yards of total offense in the second half.

                Saint Francis (1-0) threw just three passes in the game, and ran on all 33 plays in the second half, totally 216 yards on the ground.  Valpo finished the game with just 116 total yards.

                Villery led the Fighting Saints ground game with 95 yards on 25 carries while Ross Wiemer (Burlington, Wis./Burlington H.S.) had a team-high 49 yards on 12 carries for the Crusaders. 

                “We played a good football team that returned a lot of veterans,” added Adams.  “Turnovers hurt us tonight, but with a team like ours we will bounce back.  We battled for 60 minutes tonight.”

                Valparaiso (0-1) will host Concordia (Wis.) on Saturday, September 13 at Brown Field in the home opener.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. with all the action carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network.

 

Game Notes: Four Crusaders made their first collegiate starts: Steve Lara (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central H.S.), Ryan Myers (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.), Nikko Carson (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township H.S.), and Jake Jenrich (Chicago, Ill./Saint Rita H.S.) … for Lara, Myers, and Carson, it also marked their Crusader debut … this was one of only two games Valpo will play on grass in 2008 (also at San Diego) … the game took just 2:20 to play … Warren Arnold (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) moved into 10th place on Valpo’s career list for all purpose yardage with 3,085.

 
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay