The Sacred Heart crowd showered Tiger Field with chants of their record after the Tigers exercised some demons by beating Dallas First Baptist 42-20 to close out their regular season with a perfect 10-0 record.
The First Baptist Saints defeated the Tigers twice last season, including their elimination of the Tigers in the playoffs.
The Saints looked as if they had Sacred Heart’s number to begin the game as they scored 84 seconds into the first quarter.
However, the Tigers remained calm and collected. Sacred Heart fought through adversity and delivered the game-changing plays when it needed to, including a back-breaking interception by Jake Campbell in the fourth quarter to deflate the Saints on Friday, Nov. 8 at Tiger Field.
“I told the kids not to panic and that they weren’t going to stop our offense,” Sacred Heart head coach Dale Schilling said. “The key to the game was the turnovers and First Baptist caused the turnovers by hitting us. They played harder than we did in the first half and to their credit, we didn’t have the ball a whole bunch. We had two key interceptions in the fourth quarter that helped.”
First Baptist took a 20-14 lead on a 1-yard touchdown with 2:07 left in the third quarter after converting a long fourth-down play, but that lead was short-lived.
A 60-yard touchdown by Logan Muller on the Tigers’ first play on offense and a Seth Swirczynski 2-point conversion instantly put Sacred Heart ahead 22-20 just 67 seconds after the Saints’ score.
The Tigers never looked back.
Campbell’s interception was returned back to the First Baptist 23-yard line and Swirczynski polished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown with 7:07 remaining in the game. The 2-point conversion from Hunter Hennigan gave the Tigers the two-possession lead at 30-20.
Swirczynski added a 48-yard touchdown run with 3:05 left to make it 36-20.
Campbell’s interception and Hennigan’s interception that he returned for a touchdown to make it 42-20 were how Schilling felt the Tigers pulled away.
“I’m so happy for the seniors in their last home game,” Schilling said. “I’m so happy how they played in the fourth quarter. The turnovers kept us in the game, but the turnovers had us win the game. I almost thought we scored too fast, but we were able to get the pick-6 and it was all OK.”
The Tigers had a dreadful start to the game as the Saints recovered their opening onside kick at the Sacred Heart 40-yard line.
It didn’t take them long to score as a 42-yard touchdown pass burned the Tigers’ secondary to give First Baptist the 8-0 lead just 84 seconds into the game after the successful 2-point conversion.
The Tigers responded on their first offensive drive of the game as they took the kickoff at their own 41-yard line and drove it down to the 1-yard line, where Swirczynski punched in the 1-yard touchdown.
However, a failed 2-point conversation attempt kept the score at 8-6 with 7:29 left to go in the first quarter.
Sacred Heart’s defense shut down the Saints’ offense on its next drive as First Baptist was forced to turn the ball over on downs.
The Tigers quickly pounced on offense as they needed just a handful of plays to take the lead.
Hunter Hennigan plowed through the Saints’ defense for a 1-yard touchdown. A successful 2-point conversion by Sacred Heart gave the Tigers a 14-8 lead with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter din’t go well for Sacred Heart.
The Tigers were bitten by the turnover bug and the Saints were able to get their offense moving.
Despite holding the Saints to a punt, the Tigers gave it right back on a fumble by Swirczynski at he First Baptist 35-yard line.
The Saints morphed into a hurry-up offense and took advantage of a winded Sacred Heart defense.
The First Baptist quarterback eventually polished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown and after a failed 2-point conversion, the game was tied at 14-14 with 7:15 left in the first half.
The Tigers fumbled again on their next drive, despite getting the ball down to the First Baptist 31-yard line.
The Saints quickly moved into Sacred Heart Territory and were faced with a 4th-and-17 with 14 seconds left in the first half.
Cole Carson delivered a crucial sack to turn the ball over on downs and end the threat.
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip