St. John’s vs. Concordia

Since the early 90s, the Johnnies have been blessed with great QBs: Mayew, Seiler, Ramler, Linneman, Keating, Denne even Stanger took over for an injured Linneman and led them deep into the playoffs. Yesterday, Alex Kofoed took another step toward SJU QB immortality with one of his best performances in his four-year career, leading the St. John’s University Johnnies to an impressive 52-21 win over the Concordia Cobbers in a Division III football game Saturday at a cloudless Clemens Stadium.

To put that score in perspective, the last three games in the series have been decided by a combined 7 points. The Johnnies needed a 70+ yard TD pass a couple years ago with 13 seconds left to eke out a victory. No such heroics were needed in this one: After tying the score at 7 in the first quarter, the Cobbers started to self-destruct, repeatedly turning the ball over while the Big Red Machine that is the Johnnies offense rolled up passing yards and points at will.Part of the reason: Kofoed. Showing pinpoint accuracy and pocket presence forged over the last four years, Kofoed patiently picked apart a Cobbers D intent on crowding the line and disrupting the running game, finishing the game 26-32 for 303 yards and four scores without an INT.The Johnnies running game showed little ill effects from the absence of RB Aaron Blackmore, out with what has been diagnosed as a sprained knee, as Mike Patnode fought for 62 yards on 15 carries, while leading the team in receptions with 6 for 53. Patnode finished with 3 TDs on the day. Jeff Schnobrich, the unsung member of the backfield known for his devastating blocking, also got into the act, scoring on a beautiful 16 yard run where he appeared bottled up in the middle of the line, only to burst out, break a couple half-hearted arm tackles, and plunge into the endzone for another Johnnies TD. Schnobrich finished with 31 yards rushing on 6 carries and also caught 4 passes for 33 yards and a score.With Kofoed patiently spreading the ball short, the Johnnies WRs didn’t receive a lot of downfield looks, but the trio of Brian Weber, Ben Vanderheyden and TE Brett Saladan all caught for more than 50 yards, with Weber adding a TD.The Johnnies dominated on defense, limiting the Cobbers to 8 first downs, 3-12 passing and three INTs while also notching 2 sacks and recovering a fumble. The Cobbers finished with just 242 yards of offense, 88 coming on a run by diminutive RB Cory Johnson when the game was well out of reach.

With Kofoed in his final season, it appears likely he’s well on his way toward being immortalized with the great Johnnies QBs of the past two decades. In the fourth quarter, Johnnies fans got a chance to see the man who may ultimately replace him next year: Joe Boyle, a 6’0″ 180 lb freshman QB from Holy Angels who is number 3 on the depth chart. In limited action, he showed a live arm and good poise as he commanded the Johnnies offense.

But that’s the future. This year, the Johnnies will go as far as their experienced QB and Gagliardi Trophy candidate can take them. On this day, he led them to the most points they’ve ever scored against the Cobbers and their biggest margin of victory over the Cobbers since a 49-0 trouncing in 1976.

If early indications are accurate, Johnnies fans may want to book an early December trip to Salem.

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