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Hounds Fall to No. 5 Muhlenberg in 2019 Season Finale

Junior Jackson Buskirk makes a tackle during the second half at Muhlenberg College.
Junior Jackson Buskirk makes a tackle during the second half at Muhlenberg College.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team dropped a 52-7 decision to host and No. 5 Muhlenberg College in Centennial Conference action at Frank Marino Field at Scotty Wood Stadium in Allentown Saturday afternoon.

After the game, Hounds' junior defensive back Jackson Buskirk was named the Moravian Most Valuable Player of the Game for a second consecutive year after he recorded a career-high 15 tackles with 14 solo stops and one tackle for loss.

The Greyhounds, who finish the season at 4-6 after winning four of the final six contests of the year, had 150 yards of offense on 47 plays. Sophomore quarterback Christopher Mills completed 11-of-26 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, and he also had one yard on three carries. Senior running Roberto Diez had 36 yards on 16 attempts to finish his career with 1,549 yards, which ranks 14th in program history, on 376 carries including 840 yards on 200 attempts this season. Freshman running back/quarterback Sherwin Stewart added 21 yards on two attempts.

Senior wide receiver Alex Pierce caught five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown to finish his career with 1,091 yards, 20th all-time, on 81 receptions. Junior wide receiver Nick Petros caught three passes for 29 yards and will head to his senior season tied for seventh in school history with 120 receptions for 1,789 yards, fifth at Moravian. Petros also punted eight times for an average of 39.5 yards with a long of 62 yards and two inside the 20-yard line, and he ranks eighth in school history in punts with 137, eighth with 4,909 yards and tied for sixth with an average of 35.8 yards per punt. Senior wide receiver Andrew Lelie caught two passes for 15 yards while Diez had one reception for a year. Sophomore wide receiver Cory Little returned five kick offs for 83 yards while freshman tight end Bryan Bendig had one kickoff return for 10 yards.

Defensively, junior defensive back Justin McRae joined Buskirk in double digit tackles with 10 while sophomore defensive back Nate Chapman had nine stops with one tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Junior linebacker Tanner Barr contributed eight tackles while freshman linebacker Wes Asche and junior defensive lineman Andrew Stein each had seven stops with Asche making one sack and Stein adding a tackle for loss. Freshman wide receiver Ethen Aquino contributed five stops on special teams while senior defensive back Tim Valentine has four tackles and a pass break-up and senior defensive lineman Mike O'Hagan made two stops.

Muhlenberg scored first on the second drive of the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass by Mike Hnatkowsky, who was the Mules' MVP of the game after throwing five touchdown passes, but the extra-point was missed for just a 6-0 lead. Muhlenberg scored again on another touchdown pass from Hnatkowsky to Ryan Curtiss to extend the lead to 13-0.

Through the end of the first quarter and into the second, Moravian put together a 10-play, 68-yard drive that ended with Mills finding Pierce in the left front corner of the end zone with a three-yard touchdown pass, the fifth time the duo had combined on a touchdown. Freshman Trevor Yacuboski made the extra-point to cut the Mules edge to 13-7 with 11:37 left in the second quarter.

Muhlenberg scored three more touchdowns on Hnatkowsky passes in the first half and also hit on a two-point conversion in the final minute of the quarter to head to the locker room with a 35-7 advantage. The Mules added a rushing touchdown by James Diggs and a 23-yard field goal Todd Spirt in the third quarter and a touchdown run by Mark Riggio in the fourth quarter to finish off the scoring for the contest.