Bearcats ready to battle St. Joseph's

Special to the News-DemocratOctober 26, 2013 

The road grind continues for the McKendree Bearcats as they head to Rensselaer, Ind., for a Great Lakes Valley Conference contest Saturday at St. Joseph's College.

Kickoff is set for noon at Alumni Stadium.

The Bearcats are playing their second consecutive road tilt and fourth in its first seven games. McKendree brings a 2-4 overall record and 1-2 mark in GLVC play into Saturday's game.The Bearcats battled to the finish last Saturday at Truman State University, but the host Bulldogs held on for a 28-21 victory over McKendree.

Junior wide receiver Dewayne Gatti had a big day at Truman State, catching seven passes for 152 yards with three touchdown grabs. In the process, Gatti tied a team mark for touchdown catches in a game, while establishing McKendree season records for receptions (40) and receiving yards (556).

In addition, he doubled his season total to six TD catches to tie another Bearcat record. Sophomore quarterback Isaac Fisher completed 19-of-39 pass attempts for 228 yards on the day. Defensively, sophomore linebacker George Hill collected a season-high 15 tackles in his first start at middle linebacker for the Bearcats, and junior linebacker Harrison Skokos added 10 stops.

For the season, Gatti is second in the GLVC in receiving yards per game at 89.8 per outing. He is third in the league in receptions per game at 6.5. Sophomore linebacker Alec Gerdes ranks fifth in the GLVC in tackles with an average of 8.2 per contest.

St. Joseph's had its four-game win streak snapped with a 14-13 loss last Saturday at Missouri S & T. The Pumas built a 13-0 lead in the first half but could not hold off the late charge from the host Miners. Quarterback Billy VandeMerkt was 13-of-28 through the air for 111 yards. His favorite target was wide receiver Julian Walker, who grabbed four passes for 35 yards. Running back Kobi Cook rushed for a game-high 109 yards on just 16 carries, including a 62-yard scoring run on St. Joseph's first play from scrimmage.

The Pumas boast the GLVC's leading rusher in junior Braxton Shelton. Through the Pumas' first four games, Shelton has gained 803 yards, averaging just under 115 yards per contest. Shelton also tops the league in scoring at 8.6 per game. Sophomore linebacker Joel Wimbley is second in the GLVC in tackles with 66, averaging 9.4 stops per contest.

McKendree and St. Joseph's met for the first time last November 10 in the final game of the 2012 season. The Bearcats nearly overcame a 24-6 halftime deficit but came up just short in a 24-19 loss to the Pumas.

Cameron James rushed for a team-high 91 yards, caught four passes for 66 yards and returned a third-quarter punt 75 yards for a touchdown. Fisher went 16-for-30 for 187 yards.

Bryce Colvin and Javar Murphy each had a team-leading eight tackles in the contest. Billy VandeMerkt threw for 227 yards and a touchdown to lead St. Josephs, while Julian Walker set a team record with 15 receptions for 165 yards. Joel Wimbley registered a game-high 17 tackles in the win for the Pumas.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service