It was “lights, camera, and action” for the Saint Francis football team on Saturday at Bishop D’Arcy Stadium, and the end result was “lights out” for Concordia University, as the Cougars thrashed the visitors 76-14 in the first night game in the history of the program.
The Saint Francis victory proved historical in more ways than one, as Cougar coach Kevin Donley earned his 257th victory, which set a new mark for NAIA football coaches.
"I’ve been blessed in my career to coach a lot of great young people and coach with a lot of great coaches,” Donley said in a release. “It’s about building relationships. Our team came out and played hard for 60 minutes.”
Saint Francis running back Antoin Campbell posted his fourth consecutive 100-plus yard rushing game and scored two touchdowns, while former Harding High School standout Austin Coleman scampered for his Mid-States Football Association and Cougar record sixth kickoff return touchdown.
"We made a lot of big plays tonight," Donley said.
The Cougars (3-1) finished with a 627 to 133-yard offensive advantage.
Campbell rushed for 142 yards and scored on runs of 17 and 22 yards. It was his sixth career 100-plus yard rushing game. The Cougars totaled 325 yards gained on the ground.
Coleman left several would-be Cardinal tacklers in the wake of his scintillating scoring 81-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. The run squelched any momentum that Concordia had just gained after just scoring for the second time.
As a receiver, Coleman finished with 70 yards on four pass receptions, including a 38-yard touchdown from Cougar quarterback Josh Miller.
"We really wanted to win for Coach D," Miller said. "I couldn’t be happier for coach D and for what he’s done for this institution."
Miller finished 11-for-27 passing for 156 yards.
The Saint Francis production actually began on the defensive side of the ball. Cougar defensive back Kory Stamps picked off a Concordia pass and ran it back 30 yards to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead just three minutes into the game.
Miller pushed the Saint Francis advantage to 13-0 when he burrowed in from the four yards out late in the opening quarter. The quarterback then connected with Coleman for his one touchdown pass.
Campbell scored for the first time midway through the second quarter, while Andre Turner scored from the three-yard line late in the period, which gave the hosts a 35-0 lead. It was the first of three scores for Turner.
Concordia (0-4) got on the board just before halftime and the teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter. However, Coleman’s kick-off run fueled a string of five consecutive scores from the Cougars to put the game out of reach.
Former Churubusco High School standout Kyle Mathewson reached the end zone on a two-yard run, which was followed by a one-yard run from Turner.
Denzel Pierce added a two-yard score and the offense closed the night on another Turner two-yard jaunt.
The Cougar defense limited the Cardinals to 30 yards rushing and 103 yards passing.
Donley’s record was set due to Dickinson State losing 45-7 at Southern Oregon on Saturday, which gave Donley a one-win advantage over Hank Biesiot.
The Cougars will travel to rival and NAIA top-ranked St. Xavier at 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday.