UNION, N.J. -- Shenandoah nearly staged an amazing comeback Saturday evening in its 2002 season opener against Kean, but the Cougars made a defensive stop at crunch time to preserve a 24-16 victory.
After Shenandoah found itself down 24-2 after Jose Sanchez ran back an interception return 69 yards for a touchdown, the Hornets got themselves back into the game with two scores of their own in a 47 second span.
Coach Paul Barnes' club hit paydirt for the first time with 5:51 to play when Mike McVearry hauled in a Wayne Hogwood pass on 3rd and goal from the 3. SU successfully recovered Morgan Linkenauger's onside kick, giving the visitors the ball on the Shenandoah 47 with 5:49 left.
Hogwood then sandwiched a 14 yard scramble around a 15 yard completion to Trey Parker and a 22-yard strike to sophomore Junior Greene to set up 1st and goal on the Kean 2.
Senior Dennis Robart punched it in one play later on a dive, leaving the Hornets down 24-16 with just over five minutes to go.
After the Cougars (1-0) advanced the ball to their own 48 following an SU roughing-the-passer penalty and a pair of D.J. Fiori rushes, junior Bryson McKenzie kept the comeback hopes alive with an interception of a Jaimez Holloway pass on the Hornets 25 at the 3:16 mark.
Shenandoah reached as far as the Kean 45 before Hogwood was sacked on two consecutive plays, effectively finishing the contest.
Hogwood led the offense with a 13-for-21 for 134 yard performance through the air and also gained 35 yards on 10 rushes. His school record 13 completions went to eight different receivers, which also sets a new school mark. Junior Anthony McGhee was the top ground gainer with 33 yards on 15 carries.
The defense held Kean (0-1) to just 224 yards on the afternoon and forced three Cougars turnovers. In addition to McKenzie's pick, senior Gregg Anderson had a first half interception on the SU 5 while junior defensive end Michael Doleman helped set up the Hornets' first touchdown with a fumble recovery. Sophomore George Hewan had a game-high 12 tackles, including five solo and one for loss.