The wind chilled the bones, but the sun shone warm on homecoming Saturday as the Marauder football team welcomed Lock Haven to the ‘Ville. BBQ and french fry aromas drifted through the air, sweetening the senses and setting the stage for the perfect fall afternoon. Alumni, students, and parents filled the stands as “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen droned from the field. As the Marauder marching band finished their “Hallelujah” declaration, the players stormed the field, hoping to earn their second win of the season.
Defense kept the game low, scoring throughout the first half, but an injury to starting quarterback Connor Casey led to several costly mistakes, which doomed Millersville (1-7) to a 14-26 defeat to Lock Haven (3-5) on homecoming. Ian Sadon led the Marauders with 74 yards rushing and a touchdown.
After earning their first win of the season on Oct. 19 against Cheyney, the Marauders began Saturday’s game playing stout defense. Through 14 minutes of play the black and gold defense only allowed three points. But with under a minute to play in the first half, Millersville’s quarterback Casey was injured on a sack and removed from the game. Redshirt freshman Jared Pierce replaced Casey, and with only 44 seconds remaining in the half, chaos ensued. Pierce’s second pass was intercepted and returned 42 yards to the Millersville 18-yard line. Two plays later, Caleb Walton threw for an 18-yard touchdown. With the score 10-0, Millersville fumbled the ball on the first play of their next possession with only six seconds remaining in the half. Lock Haven would go on to kick a field goal, ending the half. The two Millersville turnovers at the end of the first half led to 10 Lock Haven points within 16 seconds.
As the second half began, the homecoming crowd was deflated and hoping for something to cheer for. The new starting quarterback Corey Unger immediately brought the energy back. Freshman Unger seemed to have a connection with the team, as if he were a senior instead of a freshman. With six minutes left in the third quarter, Unger and Sadon drove the Marauders down the field. Sadon accumulated 60 yards on the drive, and capped it off with a 17-yard touchdown run.
Losing 13-7, the Marauder crowd began sensing a comeback, but Lock Haven’s next possession quickly put those thoughts to rest. After a 49-yard kickoff return, Walton connected with Jesse Hoover for a beautiful 37-yard touchdown, lengthening their lead 19-7.
Lock Haven scored another touchdown near the end of the fourth quarter to take an insurmountable 26-7 lead. Millersville scored a touchdown on their last possession of the game when Unger connected with Trenton Petrovich for a 13-yard score.
In relief of the injured Casey, quarterback Unger overall had a successful afternoon. Although he could not rally his team for a comeback, he finished the day with a respectable 86 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception, and 38 yards rushing.
For Lock Haven, Walton had a stellar day, completing 16-29 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite receiver was Hoover, who caught six balls for 75 yards and a touchdown.
During the halftime ceremony, the Millersville homecoming court was announced. Anthony Saraceno and Casey Stover were named homecoming king and queen.
Next, the Marauders host Kutztown on Nov. 2 at noon.