POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The Marist football team won a share of the Pioneer Football League championship, and set a varsity record for wins in a season with a 33-7 win over Mercer at Tenney Stadium on Saturday.
The win was Marist's eighth of the season. The Red Foxes shared the PFL title with Butler. The result of the tiebreaker between Marist and Butler to determine the league's automatic qualifier to the FCS championship is not known at this time.
Marist outgained Mercer in total yards, 332-227. The Red Foxes forced six turnovers – four interceptions and two fumble recoveries – without committing any themselves.
Senior quarterback Chuckie Looney (Ocala, Fla.) accounted for three touchdowns and 211 yards of total offense. Looney threw for 146 yards and a touchdown, his 30th of the season. He added 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Atiq Lucas (Coram, N.Y.) also had 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Matt Tralli (Croton, N.Y.) led the Red Foxes with 89 yards on six receptions and a touchdown.
Defensively, senior free safety Nick Kaszei (Brook Park, Ohio) and sophomore defensive end Landon Moore (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) had eight tackles apiece. Moore had four tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Fifth-year senior defensive end Terrence Fede (Nyack, N.Y.) had half-a-sack to tie the single-season program record with 12.5 sacks.
Marist scored on its third play from scrimmage, as Looney connected with Tralli on a 53-yard touchdown pass. However, Mercer answered on its ensuing drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass from John Russ to Robert Brown. The score remained tied through the end of the first period.
In the second quarter, fifth-year safety Tyler Ramsey (Southbridge, Mass.) forced a fumble that senior cornerback Jack Marston (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) recovered at the Mercer 7. On the next play, Lucas scored his first rushing touchdown of the game to put Marist up 13-7. On Mercer’s next series, junior safety Connor Mathias (West Lawn, Pa.) picked off a pass on third down and returned it to the Mercer 15. Lucas scored on Marist’s next play from scrimmage, and the Red Foxes took a 20-7 lead into the half. Looney added a 14-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, and a nine-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Mercer fell to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the PFL. Marist finished the regular season at 8-3 overall and 7-1 in PFL play, the highest total of league wins in the program’s five years as a member. The Red Foxes won their last five games, and seven out of eight after starting 0-2.