William Penn Football Game Notes: FCS First Round–Saint Xavier
Oskaloosa–For the first time in 37 years and just the second time in school history, the William Penn football team is in the postseason. As expected, the road to its first national title will be wrought with challenges though, beginning with an opening-round meeting against the defending national champions.
The 13th-ranked Statesmen will travel to Chicago, Ill. to face #4 Saint Xavier in the NAIA Football Championship Series First Round. Kickoff is set for noon at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field.
William Penn, who has not been to the playoffs since 1975 (27-0 loss to California Lutheran), shared the Midwest League title with #8 St. Ambrose (in) and #16 Grand View (not in). The Statesmen earned an at-large bid. The Cougars have a similar story as co-champs out of the MSFA Mideast League. They, on the other hand, claimed their conference’s automatic bid as the highest-ranked program.
STATESMEN BROADCASTING: Saturday’s game can be followed on the radio (740 AM) and on the internet at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/kboe.portal
SERIES HISTORY: William Penn is 0-5 all-time in its series against Saint Xavier.
The programs have not met since 2006 with the Cougars claiming a 34-9 victory. The Statesmen were only outgained 332-248 with James Jackson, the program’s all-time leading rusher, recording 182 yards on the ground.
2002–Saint Xavier, 31-3
2003–Saint Xavier, 28-7
2004–Saint Xavier, 25-21
2005–Saint Xavier, 35-16
2006–Saint Xavier, 34-9
WILLIAM PENN PROFILE: Todd Hafner is in his ninth year as head football coach at William Penn, entering the postseason with a 61-39 career record.
Hafner, who became the program’s all-time winningest coach this fall, has guided William Penn to 28 wins over the last three years. The Statesmen have led the NAIA in rushing all three seasons. This year’s squad matched the 2010 team by sharing the Midwest League crown for the school’s fifth and sixth titles all-time.
The 2008 and 2010 Midwest League Coach of the Year, Hafner was also the recipient of the VSN NAIA Coach of the Year and the NFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year honors. As skipper, he has produced 119 all-conference players and 14 All-Americans prior to 2012.
Hafner graduated from Pittsburg State in 1994.
William Penn secured its playoff spot with a 17-12 win over Grand View last Saturday.
The Statesmen scored the game’s first 17 points and held on for the win. Taylor Parsons (Jr., The Woodlands, Texas, Sociology) recorded the first touchdown before leaving with an injury, while Joel Medina (Sr., Palmdale, Calif., Sociology) also crossed the goal line. Marcus Kerrigan (Jr., Cary, Ill., Sociology) hit a 28-yard field goal as well.
The Vikings scored twice in the final quarter, but their on-side kick with four seconds remaining sailed out of bounds to seal the William Penn win.
For the regular season, William Penn averaged 32.7 points and 373.2 yards per game, including 320.9 rushing and 52.3 passing. The squad topped the NAIA in total rushing yards (3,530) and was third in rushing yards per game.
Parsons led the Statesmen offense with 791 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Seven other players, including Evan Ressler (So., Cascade, Iowa, Physical Education) with 664 yards and nine scores, were also over the century mark.
Parsons was 31-of-80 in the passing game, accounting for 490 yards and three TDs. Aaron Broyles (Jr., Escondido, Calif., Physical Education) had ten receptions, while Ed Cazenave (Jr., Marietta, Ga., Communications) collected 191 yards on the receiving end.
William Penn committed 14 turnovers during the season.
Defensively, the Statesmen gave up an average of 13.4 points and 301.3 yards, including 170.4 passing and 130.9 rushing. William Penn was fourth nationally in points allowed per game.
Brock Peery (Jr., Payson, Utah, Secondary Education) headlined William Penn with 81 tackles. Nick DiMarco (So., St. Charles, Mo., Physical Education) had a team-best 6.5 sacks, while four players recorded three interceptions each. The Statesmen forced 31 turnovers.
Kerrigan went 33-of-39 in point-after-attempts and 12-of-14 in field goals. He ranked sixth in the nation in field goals made and field goal percentage (85.7%), and ninth in field goals per game (1.1).
The team again utilized a two-punter, rugby-style formation with Kerrigan and Jason Johnson (Jr., Geneseo, Ill., Industrial Technology) doing most of the work. Kerrigan had 19 punts for a 39.0 yard average, while Johnson kicked nine times for a clip of 36.0 yards.
Jacob Batterson (Jr., Eddyville, Iowa, Industrial Technology) took eight kickoffs back for an average of 23.8 yards (long of 51 yards), while Joel Medina (Sr., Palmdale, Calif., Sociology) had seven punt returns for a clip of 11.4 yards (long of 40 yards).
SAINT XAVIER PROFILE: Mike Feminis is in his 14th year as head football coach at Saint Xavier, entering the postseason with a 125-42 record.
The NAIA National Coach of the Year last season, he led the Cougars to their first national title in school history (first in all sports). He has earned numerous other accolades, including league Coach of the Year three times. Feminis has guided Saint Xavier to eight conference crowns and eight FCS appearances. Prior to his appointment, the program had struggled to just eight wins in its first six years of existence.
A graduate of St. Francis (Ill.) in 1990, he earned his master’s degree from Illinois-Chicago in 1993.
The Cougars secured a first-round home game with a 28-19 win over Robert Morris last Saturday.
Saint Xavier led from start to finish and outgained the Eagles 436-395. The scarlet and gray overcame three turnovers for the win. Jimmy Coy completed 28 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns. Shane Zackery hauled in nine balls for 95 yards and three TDs, while Chase Catton had eight receptions for 102 yards and a score.
Defensively, Clayton Fejedel recorded 12 tackles and a sack.
For the regular season, Saint Xavier averaged 36.3 points and 475.1 yards per game, including 324.2 passing and 150.9 rushing. The Cougars ranked second in the NAIA in passing yards per game and fifth in total passing yards.
Coy topped the offense by completing 186-of-304 passes for 2,415 yards and 31 touchdowns. He ranked seven in the nation in passing yards per game (268.3) and ninth in total offensive yards per game (283.9).
Seven receivers surpassed the century mark, including Zackery with 61 grabs for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Nick Pesek paced the ground attack with 890 yards and six scores, while two others also finished with over 100 yards. The offense committed 22 turnovers.
Defensively, the Cougars gave up an average of 14.6 points and 308.7 yards, including 203.6 passing and 105.1 rushing. Saint Xavier was ninth in the NAIA in points allowed per game.
Zach Dolph had a squad-best 94 tackles, including 17 for loss. He ranked tenth nationally in both total tackles for loss and tackles for loss per game (1.7). Greg Hayward sacked opposing QBs seven times, while Jeremy Rhodes posted five interceptions as the defense forced 29 turnovers during the season.
Spencer Nolen was 41-of-46 in extra points and 9-of-15 in field goals. He also punted 23 times for a 36.2 average (long of 57).
Wes Gastel had 12 kickoff returns for a 23.9 yard clip (long of 41), while Rhodes returned six punts for an average of 16.7 yards (long of 40).
COACH HAFNER SAYS: On the Grand View game: “It was a great win for our program against a very good program. For our team to win conference titles in two of the last three years is very special for our players, coaches, and everyone associated with our program.”
On earning a playoff bid: “We are excited for our kids that they were selected to continue their season. It is an honor to be in the postseason field with such a great list of teams.”
On Saint Xavier: “Saint Xavier is an outstanding team. We are still early in the scouting process, but it is easy to see why they are the defending national champions. It will be a big challenge for us but one our kids are looking forward to.”