The 2009 football season for the Millersville Marauders is underway. Opening the season on the 28th, The Marauders hoped to improve from their one win season a year ago. They traveled to Worchester, Massachusetts to take on Assumption College.

Both teams battled back and forth on offense the entire game. There was six lead changes throughout the game, but the Marauders defense stepped up when it counted forcing a turnover on Assumption’s last possession of the game.

Millersville’s offense matched Assumption’s scoring in the first half. The offense answered Assumption’s 21 points with 21 of their own going into half time. The tide turned late in the second half when Junior Defensive Tackle Chad Miller intercepted a deflected pass from Quarterback Andrew Kupec.

Another turnover created by the Marauder’s defense in the fourth quarter allowed Millersville’s offense to take the lead. Sophomore Defensive back Gary Tillman forced a fumble which was picked up by Senior Julius Carter. The turnover set up a touchdown scoring drive that ate up much of the remaining time in the fourth quarter. Junior Quarterback Bill Shirk completed three passes on the drive to move the Marauders down the field. Juniors Jamal Smith, Cardoza Jacks and Senior Brad Lantz were also active on the drive. Lantz had a 17 yard run to enter Assumption’s red zone. Smith caught two passes for 20 yards and scored from the three yard line to give the lead to Millersville.

Lantz and Jacks combined for 158 yards rushing, including a 78 yard touchdown run by Jacks in the first half. Shirk ended up with 15 completions for 185 yards and a touchdown. The final score was 31-28.

Expectations for the Marauders this season is improvement. The team wants to show they can compete and play. Junior defensive end Owen King said, “ We want to do better than last season. We want to step up our game and show people we can compete in the PSAC and also bring back that Marauder pride in football.” King also commented about the impact the first game will have on the team. He said, “ We played well as a whole unit and we will build from that.”

The Marauder’s did not have the same success in their second game of the season against Slippery Rock last Saturday losing 31-14. The Marauders battled back from a ten point deficit in the first half and cut Slippery Rock’s lead to 3 in the third quarter but were unable to keep Slippery Rock off the board in the fourth quarter allowing 14 points. Shirk threw for over 200 yards and connected with Jamal Smith for a 39 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Smith caught seven balls for 112 yards. The defense forced three Slippery Rock turnovers, two coming from interceptions and one from fumble recovery but was unable to stop Slippery Rock’s running game which compiled 280 yards rushing

Millersville is on the road again this week against IUP Saturday the 12th.