Toreros claim share of 2012 PFL Championship
Dec. 1, 2012
(Poughkeepsie, NY) - Needing a win in their final game of the season to claim a share of the Pioneer Football League title, the USD Toreros (7-1 PFL; 8-3) dealt the host Marist Red Foxes a 34-10 defeat on a chilly afternoon at Tenney Field on the Red Foxes campus that sits next to the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York. This contest was a make-up game from the previously scheduled Nov. 3rd game that was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy. This marks the second straight season head coach Ron Caragher has directed his squad to a share of the PFL title. The Toreros, who closed the season with six straight victories, share the 2012 title with both Drake and Butler.
"The guys were focused and had a mission to come back here and win this football game," USD head coach Ron Caragher said. "To win the PFL championship. I couldn't be more proud of them."
Like the majority of their games during this six game win streak, the Toreros turned in a solid all-around effort in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams. Offensively the Toreros were paced by quarterback Mason Mills who completed 23-of-34 passes for 422 yards and 2 scores. His favorite target was WR Reggie Bell who hauled in 7 passes for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns (38 & 23 yards). Slot receiver Sam Hoekstra added 5 receptions for 92 yards, and the Torero ground attack was paced by Joe Ferguson (15 carries for 91 yards and 1 score).
Senior kicker Ernie Collins converted 2-of-3 field goals on the day and set a new single season record for field goals made with 16. Collins entered the game tied for the all-time mark of 14 (Dave Bergmann, 1989). Collins gave USD an early 6-0 lead with kicks of 20 yards (5:22 left in 1st quarter) and 24 yards (14:08 left in 2nd quarter). He was a perfect 4-4 in PAT kicks and finished the season as USD's top scorer with 84 points.
The Torero defense played a huge role in today's win as they pressured the Marist offense the entire day. Senior LB Zach Dunaj totaled a team-high 11 tackles, with defensive ends Steve Gargiulo (9 stops, 1 sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, 5 quarterback hurries) and Blake Oliaro (8 stops, 4 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback hurries) causing all sorts of problems in the Red Fox backfield. Troy McClelland (8 tackles) and Zach Devaney (7 tackles) also had productive days, while Clint Johnson and Joey York each picked off a Marist pass.
Reggie Bell's first touchdown reception from 38 yards out with 12:01 to go in the first half gave USD a 13-0 lead, but Marist answered with a 32-yard field goal from Jason Myers to make it 13-3 with 5:29 to go. Mills connected again with Bell from 23 yards out with 2:14 left in the half for a 20-3 advantage, but Marist QB Chuckie Looney found WR Michael Rios open for a 36-yard score with 1:46 to go.
In the second half, neither team scored. It was all Toreros in the 4th period as Joe Ferguson scored on a 33 yard run with 5:51 to go, then senior running back J.P. Bolwahnn found the endzone for his first collegiate score in his final game as a Torero. As a team USD finished with 550 yards of offense while the Torero defense limited Marist to 338 yards.