After going through many ups and downs throughout the season, the supportive spectators of Millersville football finally walked out of Biemesderfer Stadium with smiles rather than frowns on their faces.
Millersville earned its first victory of the season by defeating the Cheyney Wolves by a score of 26-6. With the victory on Saturday, the Marauders broke a 16 game losing streak at home. Their last victory at home dates back to 2012 against Cheyney. Millersville wide receiver Kevin Wiggins stated that the win gives the team a great momentum builder.
“It’s refreshing to finally get on the right side of the column,” Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach said. “I’m just happy that our team was able to score points when they needed to.”
The Marauders scored on their first possession of the game. Wiggins made a leaping catch in the end zone to earn his first of three touchdowns of the day. Breitbach stated that he and his coaching staff felt that scoring on the first possession was an important factor to ensure a victory on Saturday.
“We got a very young team and I think emotionally, it’s important for us to do that,” he said.
The second quarter began with an interesting sequence of events, which Breitbach refers to it as a, “big exchange.” Millersville quarterback JJ Paige fumbled on the handoff attempt with Cheyney’s Rashod Knight recovering. He returned the fumble 38 yards to the end zone for Cheyney’s only touchdown.
The Marauders would then block Cheyney’s extra point attempt. Millersville’s Joey Pham would recover the ball for 98 yards. Millersville would then lead Cheyney 9-6. Breitbach would mention that they have confidence of block a kick in every kicking situation.
“From there on, we knew that we had them,” Wiggins commented.
Outside linebacker, Sean Dugan recorded one of Millersville’s two interceptions in the second quarter. His interception would lead to a 29-yard field goal made by Evan Stahl as the half expired.
Millersville fumbled the ball twice in the first half. During halftime, Breitbach addressed to the team that they needed to play cleaner football. By playing cleaner football, Millersville was able to control the game.
Running back Cirmirrow Moat 22-yard run got the Marauders into the red zone. A few plays later, JJ Paige found Wiggins wide-open in the end zone.
Paige would then throw a 15-yard pass to Wiggins in the fourth quarter for the game-sealing touchdown. Wiggins’ 15-yard reception would be his third touchdown of the day.
Breitbach has also stated that the chemistry developed between quarterback Paige and Wiggins is beginning to show up.
“They trust each other and know where they’re going to be,” Breitbach said. “They’ve spent a lot of time in the summer throwing and catching when no one was watching.”
Over the last three games, Wiggins has scored eight touchdowns. Wiggins gives credit to his quarterback and the offensive line for his recent success. The offensive line’s play allowed the offensive skill players to execute their game plan.
“The offensive line has given JJ tremendous time to get back there to see everything on the field,” Wiggins said.
“It just so happened that it was Kevin’s day,” Breitbach commented on Wiggins’s performance.
Paige went 18-31 in pass attempts with 192 passing yards. Breitbach also praises his quarterback for doing a great job of managing the game by throwing critical passes and good decision-making. He also managed to take good care of the football on Saturday.
“JJ is reading everything right and I have the easy part which is getting wide open,” Wiggins said.
The Millersville defense played excellent all game. Rob Varner led the team in tackles with eight total. Breitbach stated that they were able to control the line of scrimmage and the run game. They also managed to get pressure on Cheyney quarterback Dominick Trautz.
Cornerback Joey Pham resumed his strong play with an interception in the beginning of the third quarter. His interception would eventually lead up to Wiggins’s second touchdown of the game. He also broke up a pass that was intended to Cheyney’s Marcus Lyles. He also recorded six tackles.
“He made plays that helped our football team today,” Breitbach commented on Pham’s performance. “He’s got a really strong resolve and that resolve showed up today.”
“He brings excellent leadership and he goes out there and makes plays when we need him to,” Wiggins commented on Pham as a teammate.
The Marauders will finish the season at home against the Fighting Scots of Edinboro University on Saturday at 4 p.m.
“It could be a big thing for us if we can play well and find a way to win another one at home next week,” Breitbach said. “You can’t get the second win without the first one.”