GETTYSBURG, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team fell to Gettysburg College, 28-14, in Centennial Conference action Saturday afternoon as the Greyhounds concluded the first half of the 2017 season.
Freshman quarterback Doug Erney completed 13-of-27 passes for 179 yards with two touchdowns, and he also ran for 34 yards on 11 attempts as the Hounds picked up 329 yards on 68 plays in the contest. Sophomore wide receiver Alex Pierce caught four passes for 60 yards and his first career touchdown while freshman wide receiver Ricky Tate had four receptions for 28 yards. Senior wideout Aaron Hudson caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown while freshman wide receiver Nick Petros and senior fullback Jorden Stout each had one reception. Hudson now was 104 career receptions for 1,300 yards, ranking ninth in receptions and tied for 14th in yardage in the Greyhounds' record book.
Junior running back Frank Dangello had a career high 68 yards on 19 attempts to lead the Moravian rushing attack while junior running back Eli Redmond had 33 yards on seven carries before leaving the game with an injury early in the second quarter. Petros had nine yards on one attempt as he ran a fake punt for a first down for the second time this season, and he also punted five times for an average of 28.6 yards on a windy afternoon. Stout gained three yards on his one carry while freshman running back Tavion George added two yards on one attempt.
Sophomore defensive back Tim Valentine led the Moravian defense with 13 tackles while junior linebacker Steve Ewald added 10 stops with two tackles for loss. Junior defensive lineman Nick Tone also had 10 tackles in the game with one for loss while junior linebacker Dallas Owen made seven. Junior defensive back Jacob Kober contributed six tackles while sophomore linebacker Joseph Milano, freshman defensive lineman Shane Mastro and senior defensive lineman Connor Rooney all made five tackles with Mastro and Rooney each recording one behind the line of scrimmage. Junior defensive back Nick Zambelli made four tackles and recovered a fumble while freshman linebacker Brady Hornbaker also recovered a fumble for the Hounds.
"We had a couple of turnovers that hurt us today but we were also lucky enough to have our defense force a couple of turnovers today to help stop some of their drives," stated Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn. "We played a lot better on third down in the second half, keeping them 1-for-6 after they were 8-of-11 in the first half. We just couldn't capitalize when we have the chances.
"The effort was there today from the players, and I'm very proud of that along with their next man up mentality," Pukszyn continued. "Jackson Buskirk was unable to play today due to an injury and Jacob Kober stepped in and played a very good game at safety. Eli went down and Frank stepped up with a great game. That shows how this group has a very good next man up mentality. We have lost about 15 guys to season ending injuries and the next person on the depth chart has done a great job stepping in for us all season. We want all of our guys to keep giving the effort that they've shown through the first half of the season, and hopefully they'll finally get rewarded for all of that effort with a win. We'll all show up on Tuesday to get ready for Susquehanna, focus our attention to detail as we prepare and go from there."
Gettysburg received the opening kickoff and scored in an 11-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jason Davidov to senior wing back Ryan Thompson with 11:51 left in the opening quarter.
The Hounds answered back on their first play of the game as Erney found Hudson down the middle with a 65-yard touchdown pass. Junior Jon Miller drilled the extra-point to tie the contest at 7-7 just nine seconds later.
Moravian would get the ball back when Zambelli scooped up a fumbled exchange inside the Moravian 25-yard line. However, the Hounds punted after three plays.
Gettysburg moved back in front, 14-7, on a six-yard touchdown run by junior running back Nick Rella with 4:58 left in the first period.
The Hounds would answer back with a 15-play drive as Erney found Pierce with a 19-yard scoring strike on a fourth down inside the red zone. Miller's PAT tied the contest at 14-14 just 48 seconds into the second quarter.
The Bullets answered back with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Davidov to freshman wide receiver Cole Menas as Gettysburg moved in front, 21-14, with 10:06 left in the first half. Gettysburg would get the ball right back on Moravian's first play when Redmond was stripped heading to the ground. However, sophomore Justin Geisel missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. After the missed kick, the teams traded punts for the remainder of the first half.
Moravian had the ball first to start the second half but would punt while the Bullets' first possession after the intermission ended with a missed field goal. The Greyhounds were forced to punt again but the Blue and Grey defense held as Gettysburg punted for the first time in the third quarter. However, the Hounds muffed the punt and the Bullets recovered. Moravian would get a break on the second play of the Gettysburg drive when the Bullets' fumbled the quarterback exchange and Hornbaker fell on the loose ball.
The Hounds moved near midfield when Petros ran his fake punt for a first down late in the third quarter. Moravian picked up another first down on a fourth down run by Dangello to start the fourth quarter. The Greyhounds would have third and goal from the five-yard line but Dangello was unable to secure the pitch from Erney on an option play and the Bullets recovered to end Moravian's threat.
The teams traded punts early in the fourth quarter before Gettysburg scored the only points of the second half on a 14-yard run by Rella with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter to extend the Bullet's advantage to 28-14.
The Blue and Grey moved the ball near midfield before turning possession over on downs with just under four minutes left in the contest. Gettysburg moved into the red zone before running out the clock.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, October 7 when the squad hosts Susquehanna University in a Centennial Conference game kicking off at 1:00 p.m. at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem.