It wasn’t the result the Marauders were hoping for.
Millersville showed up for their homecoming game against East Stroudsburg, but only until the second half, it seemed. Losing starting quarterback Matt Misley at the end of the second quarter may have caused the Marauder offense to bog down in the second half. Despite their efforts, the Warriors pulled away finishing the game 35-13.
The Marauders (0-7, 0-6 PSAC East) raced to a 14-7 lead over the now 6-1 (5-1 PSAC East) Warriors. Misley went 6-for-8 for 70 yards with a touchdown toss in the first two quarters, and David Coates ran 69 yards on 13 carries. Millersville had 162 yards of offense at the half. Sadly, Misley exited with an injury, and the offense managed just 101 the rest of the way with replacement J.J. Paige who went 5-for-13 for 23 yards.
East Stroudsburg entered the game with the PSAC’s best-passing offense and second-ranked scoring offense, having scored 40-plus points in four of the last five games. The Marauders, however, held the Warriors to its second-lowest point scoring total of the season. Quarterback Matt Soltes finished 24-of-39 for 354 yards just shy of his season average. Robert Healy rushed for 117 yards.
The Millersville defense put the offense in prime field position early in the first quarter after Aaron Walker sacked Soltes, stripped the ball away and recovered it at the East Stroudsburg 43-yard line. Misley and Coates combined to pilot a scoring drive that used just six plays; Misley scored on a seven yard keeper.yard keeper.
ESU answered with a 13-play, 73-yard drive. Both teams exchanged punts, but on the final play of the first quarter, Misley found Malont’a Patterson for 39 yards to the ESU 22. Millersville pushed to the 11 before a holding call pushed it back to the 21. Misley scrambled for seven, and then on second and 13, freshman Kevin Wiggins hauled in his fourth touchdown catch of the season. Millersville was held at 13-7 once their extra point attempt was blocked.
The Marauders kept the Warriors scoreless on their next possession, but after a Millersville three-and-out, Soltes led an eight-play, 65-yard drive that was completed with a Jon Schnaars four-yard TD grab. East Stroudsburg threatened late in the second quarter, but P.J. Santos ended the threat with an interception in the end zone.
Paige opened the second half as the quarterback and ripped off a 26-yard run for a third down conversion on the first drive. Evan Stahl kicked a 46-yard field goal that was blocked and the Millersville offense never again penetrated East Stroudsburg territory. The Warriors took a 21-13 lead on its first possession of the third quarter and added two more Soltes TD passes in the fourth.
Millersville sacked Soltes twice and also forced him into a pair of turnovers. It was the Warriors’ first two-turnover game in four weeks. Three Millersville freshman wide receivers, Patterson, Wiggins and Evan Brooks, combined for eight of the team’s 11 catches. In addition to his 50 yards receiving, Patterson added 24 yards rushing on three carries. Coates’ 85 yards and 20 carries were both career highs. On defense, Reggie Slaton totaled 10 tackles, giving him double-digit stops in six of seven games.
Millersville travels to Lock Haven next Saturday for a 2 p.m. kickoff looking for a win.