Saint Francis Red Flash football

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Saint Francis Red Flash
2018 Saint Francis Red Flash football team
Saint Francis Red Flash logo.svg
First season 1892
Head coach Chris Villarrial
9th season, 37–54 (.407)
Stadium DeGol Field
(Capacity: 3,500)
Location Loretto, Pennsylvania
NCAA division Division I FCS
Conference Northeast Conference
All-time record 211–390–15 (.355)
Conference titles 1
Colors Red and White[1]

The Saint Francis Red Flash football program represents the intercollegiate football team for Saint Francis University. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Northeast Conference. The school's first football team was fielded in 1892.[2]:64 The team plays its home games at the 3,500-seat DeGol Field. They are coached by Chris Villarrial.


The name dates back to 1927, when the school boasted one of the fastest football ground attacks in the east, headed by quarterback George Kunzler, captain and right halfback Ed McLister, fullback Alphonse Abels and left halfback Ralph Bruno. Because the team wore predominantly red uniforms, the fans and The Loretto (the student newspaper) dubbed the team "The Red Flashes."

The nickname quickly spread, first to the football team and later that same season to the basketball team. Within 15 years, "The Red Flashes" evolved into the present form of "The Red Flash," through the efforts of sports publicist Simon "Cy" Bender.

Before The Red Flashes romped on the football field, the school's teams went by a variety of unofficial nicknames, with the most popular being the "Saints." Others were derived from a Franciscan theme, such as the "Franciscans" and "Frannies."

The most popular unofficial nickname also evolved from the Franciscan theme, with its origins dating back to the 1930s. The nickname "Frankies" can be traced as far back as the 1938–39 basketball season, when the name first appeared in The Loretto and the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. The rise of this nickname can be closely tied to the University's Mr. Frankie Award, given annually to an outstanding senior male, which dates to 1936.

The "Gigity" nickname gained widespread use by fans and the then-college but was discontinued after the 1971–72 season, giving way to the current "Red Flash" moniker. The change coincided with the opening of the Maurice Stokes Athletics Center.

Saint Francis’ athletics tradition dates back to 1867 when a group of students formed a team called the Independent Star-Athletic Association. The team played its first game under the Saint Francis banner in 1888. Gymnastics was established in 1882, while football was first played at Saint Francis University in 1892.

The name "Red Flash" is unique among NCAA Division I schools.


The team has participated at the following levels.[citation needed]

  • 1892–1950: N/A
    • 1916, 1918, 1920–1921, 1932–1937, 1942–1946, 1954–1968: No team[2]:64
  • 1951–1952: NCAA
  • 1953: NCAA College Division
  • 1954–1968: No team
  • 1969–1972: NCAA College Division
  • 1973–1977: N/A
  • 1978–1992: NCAA Division III
  • 1993–present: NCAA Division I–AA/FCS

Conference memberships[edit]

The team has been affiliated with the following conferences.[2]:58–61


Conference championships[edit]

Year Coach Conference Record
1991 Frank Pergolizzi Atlantic Collegiate Football Conference 6–3
2016 Chris Villarrial Northeast Conference 7–5
Total 2

FCS Playoffs results[edit]

The Red Flash have appeared in the FCS Playoffs one time. Their record is 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2016 First Round Villanova L 21–31

Notable former players[edit]

Notable alumni include:

  • Tony Bova (1917–1973) played in the NFL 1942–1947
  • Joseph Laukaitis played for the Wyoming Cavalry (2014), Uniform number 95 and the Green Bay Blizzard (2015) Uniform number 94 of the Indoor Football League
  • George Magulick (1919–1955) played in the NFL 1944-1944
  • John McCarthy (1916–1998) College football All-American in 1941 at Saint Francis University and played in the NFL 1944-1944
  • Archie Milano (1918–1981) played in the NFL 1945-1945
  • John Naioti (1921–1990) played in the NFL 1942 and 1945. Served in the military in 1943 and 1944.
  • Joe Restic (1926–2011) played in the NFL 1952-1952 and was the head coach of Harvard from 1971 to 1993 with a record of 117–97–6.
  • Ed Stofko (1920–1988) played in the NFL 1945-1945. He was drafted as the 85th pick in 1944.[3]
  • Steve Antkowiak led Red Flash in sacks and interceptions all four years of his stellar career (1985-1988)
  • Lorenzo Jerome Signed with the San Francisco 49ers as the top undrafted Free Agent in 2017 - Accepted invitations to play in NFLPA Bowl and Senior Bowl, the first players in SFU and NEC history to be invite to those games… Had two interceptions in each all-star game and added a forced fumble in the Senior Bowl… Also became first player in school and conference history to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine… Named All-America by Athlon Sports, Associated Press, College Sports Madness, HERO Sports, STATS FCS and Walter Camp Foundation as a defensive back. College Sports Madness also named Jerome All-America as a kick returner… STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award Finalist (FCS National Defensive Player of the Year)… First Team All-NEC as a defensive back and return specialist. Became first player in conference history to be a four-time First Team selection… 18 career interceptions are most among any current FCS player. Finished second all-time in interceptions in SFU and NEC history… Finished SFU career among all-time ranks in interception return yards (1st, 396), pass breakups (4th, 29), kick returns (5th, 45), kick return average (1st, 27.2), kick return yards (2nd, 1,225), punt returns (5th, 39) and punt return yards (4th, 295)… Finished SFU career with eight touchdowns, in five different ways, with three kick returns, two interception returns, a punt return, a fumble return and a receiving touchdown… In 2016, recorded 59 tackles, 33 solo and 5.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups, six interceptions and returned a fumble 89 yards for a touchdown, doing all of that in 10 games played… Tied for third in FCS and led NEC with six interceptions… Ranked second in FCS in kick return average with 28.9 yards per return… Won two NEC Defensive Player of the Week awards and one NEC Special Teams Player of the Week honor… In season opener at No. 13 Montana, had 10 tackles, five solo and one for loss, with a pass breakup and two interceptions. Returned four kickoffs for 196 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown off of a squib kick and an 86-yard return. Also returned two punts for 41 yards. Named STATS FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week… At Towson, returned a fumble 89 yards for a touchdown and made nine stops, with five solo tackles… Had six tackles and a 25-yard kick return in the win at Columbia… Recorded two tackles and an interception, which he returned 28 yards, at No. 20 Albany. Had four kick returns for 52 yards… In the win over Malone, recorded nine tackles, four solo, a sack, an interception and two pass breakups… All over the field in the win at Robert Morris, with 10 tackles, eight solo, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions (29 return yards) and two pass breakups. Caught a 48-yard touchdown pass. Rushed for four yards. Returned two kickoffs for 108 yards, including a 74-yard return… Against Bryant, had four stops, three solo, and completed a 33-yard pass to quarterback Zack Drayer… Recorded two tackles vs. Duquesne and one at Wagner… Had six stops, with three solo and one for loss, in the FCS Playoffs First Round game at Villanova.
  • Lance Geesey NFL Free Agent - Earned invitations to the FCS Bowl and Dream Bowl V… Named Dream Bowl V Special Teams MVP and set the game’s scoring record with 5 PATs, all from NFL range, and a 40-yard field goal… Ended his career tied with Duquesne’s Austin Crimmins for the most field goals made in NEC history (57)… Tied with Crimmins for the most career field goals among any active FCS player last season… Holds SFU career records for field goals made (57), attempted (75), percentage (76), PATs made (123) and points (294)… Third all-time in NEC history in points… Hit 12-of-20 field goal attempts in 2016, with a long of 50 yards. Converted all 39 extra-point attempts, an SFU season record, and averaged 58.2 yards per kickoff with 17 touchbacks… In the season opener at Montana, hit a 25-yard field goal and four PATs. Also made four PATs at Towson… Connected on two-of-three attempts, with a long of 48 yards, and his only PAT attempt… Made three-of-four tries with a season-long kick of 50 yards at Albany… Hit a 47-yard field goal and seven extra points in the win over Malone and added a 41-yard kick and three extra points a week later at Robert Morris… Hit five PATs and a 33-yard field goal against Bryant before hitting both of his PAT attempts against Duquesne… Connected on a 34-yard field goal attempt and five extra points at Sacred Heart, following that up with a 28-yard field goal and four extra points against CCSU… Hit a 31-yard field goal and three PATs at Wagner as well as a PAT attempt at Villanova. As a Junior Geesey was named: College Football Performance Awards(CFPA) Placekicker of the Year... FCS Athletics Directors Association All-American... American Football Coaches Association All-American... Academic All-District Selection... Earned First Team All-NEC honors... Won STATS FCS National Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance at Central Connecticut State and won three NEC Special Teams Player of the Week awards... Led the FCS in field goal percentage (94.1) and ranked second in field goals per game (1.6)... Made 16-of-17 field goals and 28-of-29 extra points... Led the conference in field goals made and points(76)... Hit school and NEC-record five field goals in the win at CCSU. Made attempts of 46, 46, 30, 21 and 35 yards... Moved into sole possession of the career field goals record at SFU with two makes vs. Georgetown, including long of 44. Hit all six extra point attempts in that contest to help him earn NEC Special Teams Player of the Week... Connected on a 42-yard attempt at Youngstown State and followed that up by hitting a 28-yard attempt at ETSU as well as seven-of-eight PATs, with his only miss being blocked... Hit three field goals vs. Wagner, with a long of 33, and four extra point attempts... Hit a 32-yarder at Bryant before going three-of-three, with a long of 43, vs. Sacred Heart... Did not attempt a field goal in the last two games of the season (Robert Morris, Duquesne), but took over the punting duties and averaged 37.1 yards per punt with a long of 50... Earned NEC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts against RMU, which included three extra points. As a Sophomore: Appeared in all 11 games for Saint Francis … All-NEC First Team … CFPA Placekicker Player of the Week (11/18) … NEC Special Teams Player of the Week (9/8, 11/3) … Set SFU’s longest FG at 52 yards versus Bryant … Set SFU’s all-time FG record with 18. As a Freshman: Saw time in all 11 games during the 2013 season … Made 11 of 16 field goal attempts … Completed both 45 and 47 yard field goals in a near upset against JMU (9/14) … Earned NEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors (9/16) … Made career-high three field goals against Robert Morris (11/22).


  1. ^ SFU Athletics Style Guide (PDF). May 11, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "2016 SFU Football Media Guide" (PDF). Saint Francis Athletics. 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  3. ^

External links[edit]