San Diego extends Pioneer Football League winning streak with victory at Davidson

Davidson’s Wesley Dugger scores in the Wildcats’ 37-17 loss against San Diego on Saturday.
Davidson’s Wesley Dugger scores in the Wildcats’ 37-17 loss against San Diego on Saturday. Mike Baker/Tim Cowie Photography

The San Diego Toreros left Davidson’s Richardson Stadium on Saturday with their long Pioneer Football League winning streak very much intact.

San Diego, the PFL’s dominant program since 2014, put on a relentless offensive performance in a 37-27 victory against the Wildcats. It was the 31st consecutive league victory for the Toreros (3-2, 1-1 PFL).

It was the biggest home game in recent memory for the Wildcats (4-2, 1-1), who have had a rebirth since the arrival of coach Scott Abell in 2018. Davidson was able to keep pace with the Toreros for the first half, but was unable to match the game-long pressure and intensity that San Diego brought, mostly from senior quarterback Reid Stinnett, who threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns.

“Both teams showed they could drive the field and finish drives in the first half,” said Davidson coach Scott Abell. “In the second half, they kept doing that and we didn’t. We drove the field, but we didn’t capitalize and finish. If you dissect it, there it is.”

San Diego scored on each of its six possessions (a seventh ended the game). The Wildcats scored the first three times they had the ball, but that was it.

There wasn’t much to separate the teams in the first half, which ended in a 17-17 tie. Davidson got touchdown runs of 11 and 1 yards from tailback Wesley Dugger and the Toreros scored on touchdown passes from Reid Sinnett to Michael Carner (24 yards) and Michael Bandy (30 yards).

Although Davidson’s ground-oriented offense kept the ball for 18 minutes, 55 seconds in the first half, San Diego held a slim 228-205 advantage in total yards. Ultimately, the Toreros rolled up 469 total yards.

The game changed when ...

Trailing 24-17, Davidson failed to convert a fourth-and-1 at the San Diego 15 early in the third quarter. San Diego got the ball back and scored five plays later on a 70-yard pass from Sinnett to Dalton Kincaid. That made it 31-17 and the Toreros never looked back.

“That was pretty big,” Abell said. “If you want to look at a turning point, a pivotal moment, hey, it was there.”

Helmet stickers

Reid Sinnett, San Diego: The Toreros’ quarterback was nearly flawless, completing 27-of-32 passes for 358 yards and five touchdowns.

Tyler Phelps, Davidson: Wildcats quarterback completed 13-of-19 passes for 170 yards and ran for 21 more (18 negated by two sacks).

Nick Friedel, San Diego: Toreros defensive tackle had 2.0 sacks and another half tackle-for loss.

Making sense of the numbers

0: Punts by either team.

2: Sacks by San Diego, the first allowed this season by Davidson.

34:37-25:23: Davidson’s time-of-possession advantage.

David Scott: @davidscott14