BY Mikenzie Carbone
The Sacred Heart University football team defeated the Long Island University (LIU) Sharks 31-10 victory on Sept. 21. The game was the team’s first Northeast Conference (NEC) game of the year. The Pioneers left Bethpage Stadium with their third win in a row, improving their overall record to 3-1 on the season.
This season, Long Island University joined the NEC in football, making them an unfamiliar opponent for Sacred Heart. Head coach Mark Nofri was proud of his team for winning on the road, in a new and unfamiliar atmosphere.
“It’s always good to start NEC play 1-0 going on the road at a place we have never played before,” said Nofri. “It’s a new school that’s new to our conference, and we had only seen them for one game before, so I thought we played pretty well.”
According to Nofri, the team started a little slow, but at the beginning of the second quarter, the momentum started to shift toward the Pioneer sideline.
Due to the combination of a strong defensive line and completed executions on the offensive side, the Sharks were unable to keep up. After LIU fumbled and Sacred Heart recovered it near the end of the second quarter, the team took advantage of the opportunity.
“We got the fumble, and then we went and scored in four or five plays making it 20-7,” said Nofri. “I think that was the biggest momentum change.”
The Pioneer offensive line showed up while the defensive line stopped LIU from entering the end zone for the remainder of the game.
Fifth-year quarterback Logan Marchi continued his recent success, passing for over 300 yards for the third consecutive game.
“It feels good to throw over 300 yards in a game. But it feels even better in the fact that we are winning,” said Marchi. “I owe it to the receivers and running backs for those three games.”
Marchi was able to execute his job with the help of key players, including freshman wide receiver Tyrese Chambers, and sophomore running back Julius Chestnut. Chambers was named NEC Rookie of the Week for the third week in a row. Chambers broke first-year’s school records for receiving yards in a game.
“Every catch matters. You may not get 10 or 11 opportunities as I usually get,” said Chambers. “I may get three, but I just have to make the most of every opportunity I get.”
Chestnut also set career-highs with 28 carries, 161 yards, and three catches resulting in 45 yards. Chestnut sealed the game with a 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“It was actually a crazy feeling, I didn’t even know I had that many carries,” said Chestnut. “My team put me in the best position to make the plays.”
Coming off their bye week, the Pioneers will play at home against Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.