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Hounds to Host Gettysburg on September 29th to Conclude First Half of 2018 Scheule

Freshman Gerald Grube runs up the middle versus Johns Hopkins University at Rocco Calvo Field.
Freshman Gerald Grube runs up the middle versus Johns Hopkins University at Rocco Calvo Field.

THE GAME: Moravian concludes the first half of the 2018 season by hosting Gettysburg College on Saturday, September 29 in a Centennial Conference game. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. at Rocco Calvo Field in Bethlehem.

THE COACHES: Jeff Pukszyn (Moravian '97) is in his eighth season as Moravian's head coach after ten years as an assistant coach with the program. Pukszyn joined the Moravian staff as a part-time coach in 1997 after a three-year playing career that saw him named to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference First Team in 1994 and 1996. He was also a two-time captain. Pukszyn became part of the coaching staff full-time in 1999 as defensive coordinator and added the titles of assistant head coach in 2001 and special teams coordinator in 2007. In 2015, Pukszyn led the Greyhounds to an 8-3 record and a berth in the inaugural Centennial-MAC Bowl Series while being named both the Centennial Conference and American Football Coaches Association Division III Region 2 Coach of the Year. He has been a part of 250 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 121-128-1 record.
   Gettysburg coach Kevin Burke (Gettysburg '90) is in his first season leading his alma mater after serving as the Bullets offensive coordinator for 14 seasons. Burke was the head coach at Juniata College from 1998 through 2003, leading the Eagles to a 25-35 record.

TV-2 BROADCAST: Saturday's game will be broadcast live by TV-2 Sports and will kick off at 1:05 p.m. Mike Zambelli will have the play-by-play with color commentary from Jim Wills 

THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 17th in the series with Gettysburg owning a 12-4 advantage. The Bullets won last year's contest 28-14 in Gettysburg after snapping a three-game Moravian winning streak at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium in 2016 with a 52-21 win. Moravian earned a 35-32 victory in Bethlehem in 2015, and the Greyhounds snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Bullets with a 41-21 victory at Rocco Calvo Field in 2013. The Hounds won again in 2014 with a 34-14 triumph in Gettysburg.

GREYHOUNDS IN THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE: Moravian joined the Centennial Conference as an associate member in the sport of football in 2007. The Greyhounds were selected ninth in the 2016 Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll while Gettysburg was selected sixth 

BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 96 players on the Moravian roster, 47 are freshmen, 19 are sophomores and 17 are juniors. There are 13 seniors on this season's squad, and the Greyhounds return 45 letterwinners and 15 starters.

THE QUARTERBACKS: Sophomore Doug Erney is the Hounds starter for the second straight season with freshman Christopher Mills serving as the back-up. Erney completed 39-of-68 passes for 505 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in four games this fall, and he also has run for 167 yards and a touchdown on 51 attempts while being sacked nine times. Mills saw he first collegiate action versus Johns Hopkins University and ran for 15 yards on two attempts.

IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior Eli Redmond leads the Hounds on the ground with 249 yards on 68 carries while junior Roberto Diez has added 157 yards and a touchdown on 38 attempts. Freshman Gerald Grube has 30 yards on five carries in his debut season while senior Devon Bucks has gained six yards on two attempts.

THE WIDE RECEIVERS & TIGHT ENDS: The Greyhounds have had eight different players catch a pass this season led by sophomore Nick Petros, who has 15 receptions for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Eddie Olsen has caught eight passes for 84 yards and a touchdown while freshman Cory Little has four catches for 70 yards. Junior Alex Pierce has three receptions for 16 yards while senior running back Eli Redmond has five receptions for 22 yards. Junior wide receiver Andrew Lelie has two catches for 29 yards while freshman Christian Pinnock has one reception for 23 yards and junior fullback Sal Pagano has one catch for four yards.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Moravian has five returners on the offensive line with juniors right tackle Jason Barish, center Brett Poling, left tackle Tyler Maxsim and left guard Zack Cregar and sophomore right guard PJ Weierbach all returning to the front line. Junior Matt Shields saw action at McDaniel College. The Greyhounds' front five has an average size of 6-2, 275.

DEFENSIVE FRONT: Senior Nick Tone leads the defensive line with 27 tackles including four and a half tackles for loss, two and a half sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while sophomore Shane Mastro has 21 tackles with three and a half for loss, a sack, two pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and a blocked extra-point versus Johns Hopkins University. Freshman Tijir Bleam has 12 tackles with two and a half for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery in his debut season while junior Christian Coia has five tackles with one for loss and a sack. Senior Vincent Pianoforte has contributed three tackles with a half a sack and one tackle for loss while sophomore Andrew Stein also has three tackles and junior Mike O'Hagan has one stop.

THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Sophomore Brady Hornbaker leads the linebackers with 26 tackles including seven and a half tackles for loss, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles while freshman Noah Breidinger has 25 tackles with four and a half for loss and a fumble recovery in his first collegiate season. Sophomore Tanner Barr has made 17 tackles with two for loss and a pass break-up while senior Nick Zambelli has made 16 tackles. Sophomore Austin Heisler has contributed eight stops with one for loss and a half a sack while senior Tanner Stokes has added four stops and a pass break-up. Senior Dallas Owen and freshman Nicholas Azpeitia have each contributed three tackles with Azpeitia adding two for loss while freshman Blake Reed has one stop. 

THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Sophomore Jackson Buskirk leads the defensive backs and the entire Greyhounds' defense with 34 tackles to go with two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery he returned five yards for a touchdown at McDaniel College. Sophomore Justin McRae has made 27 tackles, a pass break-up and recovered a fumble while senior Jacob Kober has added 26 tackles with an interception and two passes defended. Sophomore Jalen Richardson has 25 stops, one tackle for loss and four pass break-ups while junior Tim Valentine has five tackles and a pass break-up. Sophomore Renard Nicholson has four stops while junior Dayvon Reimert has added two tackles this season.

KICKING GAME: Seniors Jon Miller and Kenny Kane  are handling the place-kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is averaging 53.4 yards on 13 kickoffs this season, and he is 7-for-7 on extra points and 2-for-4 on field goals with a long of 29 yards while missing a career-long attempt of 41 yards at the end of the first half versus King's College. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros tied the school record with 11 punt attempts at McDaniel College, and he is averaging 33.5 yards per punt on 25 attempts with seven inside the 20-yard line, two fair caught and a long of 54 yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney has punted once for 32 yards. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: Sophomore Jackson Buskirk has returned four punts for 39 yards while freshman wide receiver Eddie Olsen was credited with a 17-yard return after blocking a punt versus Johns Hopkins University to go with two tackles. Senior running back Eli Redmond has three kickoff returns for 52 yards while sophomore linebacker Tanner Barr has returned four kickoffs for 35 yards and sophomore linebacker Austin Heisler has recovered an onside kick. Junior running back Roberto Diez and Petros have each made two tackles on special teams.

MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have four players closing in on milestones in their careers. Senior running back Eli Redmond sits in 11th place in school history with 1,937 rushing yards, and he needs 167 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also sixth all-time with 39 kickoff returns and seventh with 904 kickoff return yards. Redmond is tied for tenth with 16 career touchdowns and sixth with 3,106 career all-purpose yards. Sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is eighth with 19 career touchdown passes, and he has 3,063 yards of total offense and needs 296 yards to reach the top ten. Erney also needs 57 pass attempts, 17 pass completions and 150 passing yards to make the top ten in those categories. Senior kicker Kenny Kane is tied for tenth in school history with 59 career kicking points, and he needs three extra-points to move into the top 10 all-time, currently with 32 PATs. Kane is also tied for eighth in school history with nine career field goals made. Senior Jon Miller is six extra-points away from the top ten.

THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are seventh in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 275.0 yards per game, and the squad is fifth in rushing offense with an average of 148.8 yards per contest and ninth in passing offense at 126.3 yards per outing. The Hounds are ninth in the conference in scoring offense at 13.8 points per game, and Moravian is fifth in points allowed at 19.3. Moravian's defense ranks ninth in the Centennial Conference at 382. yards allowed per game, and the squad is ninth in rushing defense at 165.3 yards per contest and ninth in passing defense at 217.5 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are fourth in turnover margin at +0.75 per game with three turnovers committed and six turnovers gained through four games. Individually, sophomore quarterback Doug Erney is fourth in passing efficiency with a rating of 136.2 and eighth in the conference at 126.2 passing yards per contest while senior running back Eli Redmond is seventh in the conference at 61.0 rushing yards per outing. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Petros is sixth in punting with an average of 33.5 yards per punt, and he is fifth in receiving yards per game at 64.2. Senior Jon Miller is seventh in kick scoring with 3.2 points per contest while sophomore defensive back Jackson Buskirk is first in punt returns with an average of 9.8 yards per return, and he is tied for tenth in tackles per game with 8.5 per game. Sophomore defensive back Justin McRae and senior defensive lineman Nick Tone are tied for 16th with 6.8 tackles per game, and Tone is tenth in tackle for loss with 1.12 per contest. Sophomore linebacker Brady Hornbaker and senior defensive back Jacob Kober are tied for 20th in tackles per game at 6.5 while Hornbaker third in tackles for loss with 1.88 per contest and tied for seventh with 0.75 sacks per outing. Hornbaker and Tone are tied for second in the conference in forced fumbles at 0.5 per contest. Freshman linebacker Noah Breidinger and sophomore defensive back Jalen Richardson are tied for 25th with 6.2 tackles per outing while senior linebacker Nick Zambelli is tied for 33rd at 5.3 tackles per game and sophomore defensive lineman Shane Mastro is tied for 37th with 5.0 tackles per contest. 

OVERTIME 'HOUNDS: Moravian has played a total of 10 overtime games since the NCAA instituted the rule for the 1996 season and is 7-3 all-time in the extra-session. Five of those ten overtime games have been against Juniata College with the Greyhounds going 4-1 in those games. Moravian's contest in Huntingdon in 2008 marked the first time in the Greyhounds' have needed more than one overtime session in a game. The 2008 season also marked the third year that Moravian has played at least two overtimes games in one season, the other years were 1999 when the Greyhounds played three overtime games and 1997 when Moravian played two overtime contests.

SCOUTING GETTYSBURG COLLEGE: The Bullets enter the game at 0-4 overall and 0-3 in Centennial Conference action after a 25-0 loss to McDaniel College last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Mike Welsh has completed 26-of-72 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions while sophomore quarterback Ryan Finlay has completed 20-of-51 passes for 164 yards with two interceptions. Welsh also leads the Gettysburg rushing attack with 111 yards on 44 attempts while senior running back Nick Rella has 84 yards on 26 attempts. Finlay has contributed 48 yards on 22 carries while junior running back Andrew Howard has 40 yards and touchdown on 24 attempts. Senior wide receiver Johnny Davis has caught nine passes for 144 yards while sophomore wide receiver Joey Razzano has four catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Chase Fee has a team-high 11 receptions for 65 yards and a score while Howard has caught six passes for 48 yards. Sophomore defensive back Thomeir Richardson has returned 15 kickoffs for 250 yards and four punts for 27 yards while Fee has five kickoff returns for 106 yards and freshman defensive back Kevin Sawtell has two punt returns for 53 yards and a touchdown. Junior Justin Geisel is 1-for-1 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra-points while averaging 56.3 yards on eight kickoffs, and junior Evan Tannenbaum is averaging 37.8 yards per punt on 32 attempts with a long of 56 yards, two touchbacks, one fair caught and five inside the 20-yard line. Senior linebacker Jake Skinner leads the Bullets' defense with 41 tackles to go with two and a half tackles for loss and an interception while sophomore linebacker Jack Humphries has made 36 tackles with tackles for loss and a half a sack. Junior linebacker Cole Keyes has contributed 34 tackles with half a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery while senior defensive end Logan Aikey has added 30 tackles with eight and a half for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Senior defensive back Mike McKnight has 24 tackles with three for loss, an interception, two passes defended, a forced fumble and fumble recovery while junior defensive lineman Ryan Greene and freshman defensive end Brent Hayes each have 20 tackles with Greene adding four tackles for loss and two sacks and Hayes adding one and a half tackle for loss and a sack. 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Gettysburg last fall, Moravian College fell to Gettysburg, 28-14, in Centennial Conference action. 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. Wide receiver Alex Pierce caught four passes for 60 yards and his first career touchdown while wide receiver Ricky Tate had four receptions for 28 yards. Wideout Aaron Hudson caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown while wide receiver Nick Petros and fullback Jorden Stout each had one reception. Running back Frank Dangello had a career-high 68 yards on 19 attempts to lead the Moravian rushing attack while 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 running back Tavian George added two yards on one attempt. Defensive back Tim Valentine led the Moravian defense with 13 tackles while linebacker Steve Ewald added 10 stops with two tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Nick Tone also had 10 tackles in the game with one for loss while linebacker Dallas Owen made seven. Defensive back Jacob Kober contributed six tackles while linebacker Joseph Milano, defensive lineman Shane Mastro and defensive lineman Connor Rooney all made five tackles with Mastro and Rooney each recording one behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive back Nick Zambelli made four tackles and recovered a fumble while linebacker Brady Hornbaker also recovered a fumble for the Hounds. Gettysburg received the opening kickoff and scored in an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Davidov to 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. 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 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 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, 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.