POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Senior quarterback Chuckie Looney (Ocala, Fla.) set Marist's career record for touchdown passes, but the Red Foxes suffered a 37-21 loss to Sacred Heart in their season opener at Tenney Stadium on Saturday night.
Senior free safety Nick Kaszei (Brook Park, Ohio) set a career high with 15 tackles, including one for a loss.
Looney threw two touchdown passes in the game, both of which went to senior wide receiver Armani Martin (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) in the fourth quarter. Looney finished the game 25-for-49 for 228 yards. Martin had a game-high 72 receiving yards on five receptions. Junior wide receiver Joe Tralli (Croton, N.Y.) had a game-high eight receptions for 65 yards.
Sacred Heart outgained Marist, 435-236. Quarterback R.J. Noel threw for 201 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Pioneers had four sacks, eight tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Sacred Heart’s Chris Rogers kicked three field goals in the first 20 minutes of the game to put the Pioneers up 9-0, and a nine-yard touchdown run by Greg Moore made the score 16-0. Marist ran three plays on the ensuing drive before the game was delayed for one hour and four minutes due to lightning. The game resumed with 3:29 left in the second quarter, and seven plays later, senior running back Atiq Lucas (Coram, N.Y.) scored on a one-yard run to cut Marist’s deficit to 16-7.
The score was still 16-7 midway through the third quarter when the momentum swung on three plays. Sacred Heart punter Alec Finney dropped a 44-yard punt out of bounds on the Marist 2. On the next play, defensive end Connor Caveney recovered a fumble, and Keshaudas Spence scored a one-yard rushing touchdown on the next play to put the Pioneers up 23-7. On Sacred Heart’s next drive Noel threw a perfect strike down the seam to Tyler Dube for a 46-yard touchdown pass, making the score 30-7 with 3:40 left in the third quarter.
Noel’s nine-yard rushing touchdown gave the Pioneers a 30-point lead with 10:09 to play, but Marist fought back as Looney’s two touchdown passes to Martin came in a span of 2:33.
Marist returns to action next Saturday at Bucknell. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
Notes: The road team has now won the last five games in the Marist-Sacred Heart series, which the Pioneers lead, 6-5. … Looney entered the game tied for the career touchdown pass record with James Luft, who had 29 in Marist career from 2001-05. … This is the second straight year Marist has had a lightning delay in its home opener. Last year, a storm during pregame backed up the Red Foxes’ opening kickoff against Bucknell by an hour and eight minutes. … Attendance was 3,365.