Football disappoints in season opener

On Saturday, September 4, the Millersville football team kicked off their new season against Assumption College. The Marauders are looking to improve their 3-8 record from last year. In his first two seasons as head coach, Greg Colby entered the season with a record of 4-18 for the Marauders.

The game was underway with Millersville kicking off to the Greyhounds who had a 10-play, 46-yard drive before failing to convert on fourth down. Millersville took over on downs on their own 36.

Millersville showed an impressive opening drive going 53 yards in nine plays, ending in a 27-yard field goal by redshirt freshman Anthony Kassab with 6:22 left in the first quarter.

The Greyhounds were able to control most of the clock in the first quarter thanks to their running back Herb Woodard. Woodard kept the momentum for the Greyhounds into the second quarter by scoring two touchdowns.

Woodward’s first untouched score came on the first play of the second quarter with a run up the middle. Woodard scored again on a five-yard dash giving Assumption a 14-3 lead. The score came after Millersville went three and out after recovering a fumble.

However, the Marauders responded on their next drive with an 87-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Bill Shirk to junior wide receiver Matt Edgerieder. The extra point was then blocked bringing the score to 14-9.

The ensuing kickoff from Millersville went out of bounds, giving Assumption the ball on the 40 yard line. After piecing together another impressive drive, Assumption’s Woodard scored his third touchdown of the quarter giving the Greyhounds a 21-9 lead.

With just under three minutes to go in the half, the Marauders began their next drive on their own 20 after the kickoff went out of the end zone.

Shirk led the Marauders down the field with nine completions including a touchdown pass to junior tight end Greg Frantz, cutting the deficit to five with a score of 21-16 at the half.

Millersville received the ball to open the third quarter and mixed up their offensive strategy by putting senior wide receiver Jamal Smith under center in a wild cat-like formation. However, the Marauders went three and out and were forced to punt. The punt was then blocked and recovered by Assumption on Millersville’s 16 yard line, putting the Greyhounds in the red zone.

Millersville had a strong goal line stand and held the Greyhounds to a field goal, bringing the score to 24-16.

After exchanging punts Millersville finally got the break they desperately needed when senior linebacker Shane Gross sacked Assumption’s quarterback, forcing fumble. Sophomore Zack Riley recovered the ball in the end zone for a Marauder touchdown. After a failed two point conversion, Millersville was only down 24-22.

Assumption put up another field goal with 12:33 left in the game, giving them a five-point lead over Millersville. The Marauders responded with their best offensive showing all day. Shirk led the Marauders down the field on a ten play drive that ended in a touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Dominic Sanders, giving Millersville a 28-27 lead. They again failed on a two-point conversion.

Assumption got the ball back with just over seven minutes left in the game. The Greyhounds picked apart the Marauder defense as they drove down the field in a 15-play, 67-yard drive that ended in a touchdown.

On fourth and eight, with 44 seconds remaining in the game, Assumption’s pass went incomplete, but a pass interference penalty was called. The penalty gave the Greyhounds a first and goal on the nine yard line. After a holding call on the offense that pushed them back to the 19, the Greyhounds narrowly found David Canney in the end zone. It appeared he was barely able to get a foot in bounds.

Millersville got the ball back with only seconds remaining on the clock to piece together a miracle final drive. The first pass from Shirk fell incomplete. The next pass went to sophomore Mike Jones who was tackled as time expired before a time out could be called.

Millersville now has an opening day record of 3-8 since 2003. However, Millersville put up impressive stats including Shirk’s 310 passing yards. Senior free safety Matt Sutjak led the defense with 13 tackles, and sophomore linebacker Pat Maloney had a career high 10 tackles.