Fairfield, CT - The Sacred Heart Club Football team clinched home field advantage for the 2018 Conference Championship this past Saturday with a win over conference opponent Vermont. The Pioneers started slow, quickly having to kick the ball to Vermont after starting the game with the ball. The Catamounts drove down the field and Vermont Senior QB Kyle Morand connected with Junior WR Nick Daigle for a touchdown pass down the visiting sideline. The ensuing PAT was blocked by SHU, which made the score 6-0 early.
The Pioneers would bounce back quickly, returning the next kickoff out to midfield. With a constant barrage of downhill runs behind a tough offensive line, Freshman RB/WR David Depalma put constant pressure on the Vermont defense. The Pioneers punched one in the end zone with a beautiful pass from Sophomore QB Mike Contento to Junior WR Tyler Toussaint for a 20 yard touchdown pass. A Matt Lawrence extra point made the score 7-6.
The Pioneer defense stood strong again, forcing a punt and getting the offense great field position. Contento led a drive down to the 1 yard line, after another long completion to Toussaint, Sophomore Fullback Bryce McCanne scored his first collegiate touchdown from 1 yard out. After several punts and an interception by Freshman Safety Judson O'Brien, the Pioneers executed a two-minute drive and were within Lawrence's range. With 3 seconds left, Lawrence made a 28 yd field goal to make the score 17-6 at halftime.
The second half began with another short drive by the Catamounts, the Pioneers forced a punt and got the ball into their playmakers hands. After a called back Punt Return touchdown, the Pioneers made a huge play as Depalma took the handoff and was gone. The 80 yard touchdown run was Depalma's longest of the season and the longest for the Pioneers as a team. Another big 75 yard touchdown run the next series made the score 30-6 as the 3rd quarter came to a close.
The defensive unit was strong again, making the big fullback for the Catamounts earn every yard he ran for. With the clock ticking away, the Pioneers had one more chance to seal the victory for good, handing the ball off once again to Depalma. He fought through arm tackles and scored from 25 yards out, putting him easily over 100 yards rushing for the second week in a row. The final score of the game was 37-6.
With the victory, the Pioneers clinched home field for the Conference Championship, which will be held this upcoming Saturday night against Johnson & Wales. Kickoff is at 7pm.