St. Ambrose sent its seniors out the right way Saturday.
The Fighting Bees earned a 35-29 win over Robert Morris, snapping a five-game losing streak but also making sure the 20 seniors on the team had a memorable final game at Brady Street Stadium.
"I know our record's not the best, but this win, something about this win, I'll probably never forget this," senior Chris Overton said. "We haven't had a 'dub' in over a month, and to finally get back on top and doing it as a senior, last home game here at Brady, it almost has me in tears. It feels great."
Overton had a record-setting day in the win, recording 4.5 sacks and setting the school record for most sacks in a season with 14.5, passing Jerry Klosterman's mark set in 1987.
To do it on Senior Day in front of his parents was too good an opportunity to pass up.
"I told myself I had three games to do it, and I was like, you know what, it's Senior Day, it's my last game here, so let's do it today," he said. "I try to just keep my head on straight and just do nothing but get the 'dub.' If I have the mindset of getting the 'W', the sacks are going to follow so it feels awesome."
Overton's play also opened up opportunities for the rest of the defensive line, which recorded nine sacks on the day and limited the Eagles to 42 yards on the ground.
Despite the defensive effort, the game came down to the final play, with sophomore Kobe Easley breaking up a pass in the end zone after the Eagles (2-7, 1-2) drove down to the St. Ambrose 19-yard line. Easley's breakup denied the Eagles of a rallying win after the Bees (3-5, 1-2) saw their 28-9 lead late in the third quarter cut to one score in the final two minutes.
"We wanted as a program to send the seniors out the right way, that was important today," head coach Mike Magistrelli said. "I thought we played with a resiliency ... to see us perform like that and battle through, just really proud. We needed a win, and you'll take it in any way, and this is a game you'll never forget."
Matching Overton's performance on the offensive side of the ball was sophomore running back Jake Osterberger.
Given the majority of the carries with fellow running backs Baylee Hopps and Justice O'Conner out with injury, Osterberger turned in one of the top rushing performances in school history. His 39 carries was fourth-most in a game in school history while his 242 yards was sixth-most and his four touchdowns was tied for fifth.
"I knew someone had to step up. I was given my chance today, and I knew I had to take advantage of it," Osterberger said. "It just gives me confidence for years to come."
Despite the Bees's dominance on both sides of the ball, special teams allowed the Eagles to stay in it. The Bees allowed two kickoff returns to Dallis Flowers, one from 91 yards and the other from 98 yards to keep the Eagles in it.
Flowers' second return came after Melvin Pettis looked to give the Bees a healthy cushion with a 21-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 28-9 with 24 seconds left in the third quarter. Following the kickoff return that cut the edge to 28-17, the Eagles got the ball back and Kenyatte Allen scrambled for a 6-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 28-23 with 11:34 remaining.
"It was disappointing that we built a couple of nice leads there and really had momentum going our way, and then, just that instant, they're able to swing it back," Magistrelli said. "It happens once, OK, but when it happens a second time with the exact same return scheme, you start to get a little frustrated."
Osterberger's fourth touchdown run upped the Bees' lead to 35-23 before Flowers caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Allen to cut the lead back to 35-29 with 1:35 remaining.
Michael Berry recovered the ensuing onside kick to set up the final drive.