BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team celebrated Senior Day Saturday with the squad third straight victory as the Greyhounds defeated visiting Dickinson College, 24-6, in Centennial Conference action at Rocco Calvo Field.
After being honored in pregame, two seniors shined during the game including senior wide receiver Alex Pierce, who caught a career high 12 passes for a career-best 160 yards to go with a pair of touchdown receptions as he became the 21st player in school history to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards. Pierce now has 1,044 yards on 76 catches with eight touchdowns after his third career 100-yard game and second against the Red Devils. Senior running back Roberto Diez added 88 yards on 29 carries on the ground with one touchdown as he helped the Greyhounds control the ball for 39:28 of the game. Diez now has 1,513 yards, 14th all-time at Moravian, on 360 carries with 14 touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Christopher Mills paced the Moravian offense to a season-high 448 yards on 80 plays as he completed 24-of-41 passes for 341 yards with the two touchdown passes to Pierce. Mills' completions, attempts and yards were all career highs while the completions and yards are the tenth-best game in school history. Mills also became just the ninth quarterback in school history to reach 3,000 career passing yards, now with 3,046.
Junior wide receiver Nick Petros added eight catches for 132 yards, his eight 100-yard receiving game, and Petros is now fifth in school history with 1,760 yards on 117 receptions, which ranks eighth in program history. Both Pierce and Petros had a 45-yard reception in the victory Saturday. Diez added three receptions for 49 yards while senior offensive lineman Zack Cregar caught a deflected pass. Freshman running back Sherwin Stewart ran for 23 yards on six carries.
Moravian's defense limited the Red Devils to 267 yards on 57 plays, and the Greyhounds came up with five interceptions including two by sophomore defensive back Connor Lyon, the second one was late in the fourth quarter and his 32-yard return to the one-yard line sealed the victory. Senior defensive back Tim Valentine had an interception in the red zone he returned 10 yards while junior defensive back Justin McRae had a 33-yard interception return on the last play of the first half and junior defensive back Jackson Buskirk also had an interception.
Buskirk led the defense with seven tackles to go with one tackle for loss and two passes defended while sophomore defensive back Nate Chapman, junior linebacker Tanner Barr and sophomore linebacker Nicholas Azpeitia all had six stops with Barr breaking up a pass and Azpeitia adding a half a tackle for loss. Junior defensive lineman Brady Hornbaker made four stops with one for loss while senior defensive lineman Mike O'Hagan added three stops with a half a tackle for loss.
Freshman wide receiver Ethen Aquino contributed three tackles on special teams while Petros punted four times for an average of 30.2 yards. Freshman kicker Trevor Yacuboski made three extra-points and a 22-yard field goal but was just wide right on a 33-yard attempt. Sophomore Jack Coary kicked off five times for an average of 58.2 yards.
"Today was a great team win," commented Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn. "I thought a lot of different players stepped up and all three phases of the game. It was great to see Alex Pierce I have such a good performance, it's what you want to see in a senior at the end of his career. I couldn't be happier for him. The turnovers on the defense lead to points on offense and that was great to see. Connor Lyon did a great job today and Timmy Valentine played corner and the nickel for us and had a great day also. He's another senior playing at a high level."
The Red Devils picked up two first downs on the game's opening drive before punting the ball to the Greyhounds. Moravian, which started at its own five-yard line, also picked up two first downs before turning the ball back to Dickinson on downs when Mills had a pass tipped that Cregar grabbed and was tackled immediately.
Dickinson moved down into the red zone and attempted a 33-yard field goal attempt but Trystin Golowski's kick sailed wide left. The Blue and Grey weren't able to capitalize on the miss and punted the ball away.
On the Red Devils' second play and the first of the second quarter, Lyon made his first interception at the Dickinson 42-yard line to set up Moravian's offense. Mills capped off the seven-play, 42-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Pierce. Yacuboski split the uprights to give the Hounds a 7-0 lead with 11:28 to play in the first half.
Three plays into the Red Devils next drive, Buskirk made an interception at the Moravian 39-yard line, one play after Dickinson earned a first down by penalty. Once again, the Hounds were able to convert the turnover into points with Diez scoring his eighth rushing touchdown of the season on a one-yard run as the Blue and Grey moved ahead 14-0 after Yacuboski's kick with 6:29 before the intermission.
Dickinson had to punt on its next drive and Moravian moved into the red zone before Yacuboski's 33-yard field goal attempt was wide right with 26 seconds before the intermission.
McRae picked off the final pass of the half at the Moravian 21-yard line and returned it 33 yards to send the Greyhounds to the locker room with a 14-0 advantage.
Moravian had the ball first to begin the second half and Mills connected on a 45-yard touchdown to Pierce on the fifth play to finish of the 72-yard drive. Yacuboski made it 21-0 just 2:34 into the second half.
After another punt by the Red Devils, the Greyhounds moved into the red zone once again before the drive stalled. Yacuboski hit his third field goal in three games as he connected on a 22-yard attempt to extend the lead to 24-0 with 2:21 left in the third quarter.
Dickinson would finally get on the scoreboard with a touchdown run by quarterback Robert Geiss with 48 seconds left in the third quarter but the Red Devils missed on the two-point conversion to keep the score at 24-6.
The fourth quarter saw the Greyhounds punt three times while Valentine and Lyon ended two of Dickinson's three possessions with their interceptions while the Red Devils other drive ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Moravian is scheduled to close out its 2019 season on Saturday, November 16 when the squad head to No. 5 Muhlenberg College for a Centennial Conference game kicking off at 1:00 p.m. at Scotty Wood Stadium in Allentown.