The Pioneers suffered a heartbreaking 24-22 defeat at the leg of Saint Ambrose’s junior kicker, Patrick Schmadeke, at Fawcett Stadium Sept. 17. With five seconds remaining in the contest Schmadeke nailed home a 35-yard field goal to ice the game as well as a Pioneer comeback.
Special teams got the Bees in good field position to set up a one yard touchdown run. The score was the first of the game, putting Saint Ambrose ahead 7-0. The Bees continued to build on prior success as they took the ball 10 plays and 87 yards down the field for another score.
Saint Ambrose wasn’t fazed by the explosive one play drive by the Pioneers as they engineered their own scoring drive on their following possession. The Bees managed to march down the field and score a touchdown capped off by a 34-yard screen pass to freshman Greg Wilson.
A 62-yard touchdown completion from Szpor to McLean inched the Pioneers even closer in their attempts of a comeback. Before halftime, senior kicker, Nick Allison added a 38-yard field goal to trim the lead to four points, 21-17, at the half.
Allison struck again in the third quarter with his second 38-yard field goal of the afternoon, pulling the Pioneers within one at 21-20.
The score remained deadlocked at 21-20 until Pioneer freshman defensive lineman Daryll Jackson made two great defensive plays in a row that ended up producing two points, a safety for the home team. With only six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter the Pioneers finally took the lead for the first time in the game, 22-21.
After receiving the free kick the Pioneers took to the ground game, pushing the ball down the field. Once in the red zone, the Pioneer offense went in reverse thanks to big plays by the Bees’ defense. One false start penalty and two sacks on key third and fourth down plays resulted in the Pioneers coming away with no points.
Taking over due to a turnover on downs, Saint Ambrose began a march of their own down the field. After two key fourth down conversions, Schmadeke found himself with a chance to win the game with only five seconds remaining in the contest.
Despite the best efforts of Malone’s field goal unit to block the attempt, Schmadeke drove the ball 35 yards through the uprights.
The loss drops the Pioneers’ record to 2-1 and lifts St.Ambrose to 2-1 on the year. The next test for Malone will come when they play host to NAIA #4 Marion (IN) University this coming Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Matt Anderson is a staff writer for Aviso AVW.