Tag: South Dakota State

Sacred Heart’s Nofri Hopeful To Lead Pioneers To First Playoff Win

After winning its second-straight Northeast Conference (NEC) crown, Sacred Heart’s Mark Nofri hopes the team’s recent momentum will continue in the FCS playoffs. (PHOTO COURTESY: Sacred Heart Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

Mark Nofri and his Sacred Heart University football team wanted to compete in the postseason this fall – it was a preseason goal.

But after capturing the Northeast Conference (NEC) for the second consecutive season, Nofri’s squad has tweaked its preseason objective to winning the program’s first-ever playoff game on Saturday against Holy Cross.  

“I know it’s one of the next steps we’ve wanted to take,” said Nofri when meeting with the media earlier today.

“This will be the fourth time we’re in the FCS playoffs, and each game we’ve been in we’ve had shots to win it in the fourth quarter (but) just couldn’t get it done.”  

Sacred Heart has certainly been competitive when competing in the postseason – two of their three matchups have been decided by 10 points or less – but for the Red and White to be successful, they must play their best football, especially against a talented Crusaders squad that enters the postseason riding a six-game winning streak.

Like the Pioneers, the Crusaders are also seeking their initial postseason victory – Holy Cross has appeared in four FCS Tournaments, but has lost a trio of first-round matchups, along with a quarterfinal meeting with Western Carolina in 1983. They also saw their bid for a national title conclude this spring against South Dakota State.

No matter the outcome, Saturday will be a special day for one of these programs, but as Nofri explained, “For me personally, I would love it for the kids. I want to see them win a playoff game and be one of the (or) at least the first team in school history to win a playoff game.”