Coming off the close win against East Stroudsburg, the Marauders were looking to build momentum with extra days of rest. Clearly, it paid off Saturday afternoon.
“I think we needed it,” outside linebacker Sean Dugan commented on the extra days of preparation.
Millersville defeated the Lock Haven Bald Eagles 34-21 on Saturday afternoon. The Marauders won on Homecoming for the first time since 2012.
Marauder quarterback Tony Staffieri stated that the very big win means a lot for the program. Dugan describes the victory as a “new feeling” because he has never experienced it during his career at Millersville.
“We talked about what it would mean for Marauder Pride to get a win on Homecoming in front of a great crowd,” Millersville head coach Greg Breitbach said. “I’m happy we were able to do that.”
Another new feeling for the team is the win total. The Marauders are now 3-4, which means that they surpassed their win total over the past 2 seasons.
Staffieri explained that the win means that Millersville football is a better team than it ever has been before. Dugan stated that the “huge” win shows how Millersville football is back in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference picture.
“It’s good to see some improvement,” Breitbach said. “Our seniors deserve to see the improvement.”
Millersville quarterback Tony Staffieri returned to the starting lineup after dealing with a recurrence of injuries he’s been battling this season. In the first half alone, he completed 16 out of 23 pass attempts for 182 yards. Breitbach stated that he thought that Staffieri took a step forward as a quarterback on Saturday.
“He’s not quite 100%, [but] he’s really a tough guy and mentally, he’s 100%,” Breitbach commented.
Coach Breitbach felt that the offensive unit played “really clean football” in the first half.
“If you always take care of the football, you have a chance to win,” Breitbach said.
Fullback Dylan Niedbalski began Millersville’s scoring barrage in the first half. He was a last minute audible for the Marauder offense. Staffieri threw a short slot pass to a wide open Niedbaski on the right side of the short field.
Millersville lineman Drew Seaburg blocked a field goal attempt by Lock Haven early in the second quarter. The Marauders would go on to score two touchdowns and a field goal in the quarter.
The first one came from running back Kobe Miranda, who leaped into the end zone over a crowded line of scrimmage. The prime field position came after a targeting call on Lock Haven.
Wide receiver Kevin Wiggins caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Staffieri, his longest pass completion of the day.
Millersville’s Ray Lopez forced Lock Haven quarterback Kyle Knight to fumble the football in the end zone. With the ball going out of bounds, a touchback was called.
The Marauders were able to march down to the Lock Haven 25, where kicker Joey Farley made his first field goal attempt right before halftime.
Breitbach noted that the team hasn’t been in a situation where they held a decisive lead at halftime. To him and his players, it was a good learning experience.
Lock Haven would get on the board in the third quarter with a 42-yard run from John Ford. The Bald Eagles successfully attempted a two-point conversation by quarterback Kyle Knight.
Breitbach mentioned that the Marauder offense did struggle in the third quarter. However, the Marauders regained their consistency by scoring twice on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter.
Farley made his second field goal from 31 yards out. Marauder running back Tyrone Gibson would score Millersville’s final touchdown with a 34-yard run.
Millersville’s Trejon Dinkins blocked an extra appoint attempt after Lock Haven’s Cameron Tobias scored with less than four minutes remaining in the game. A few minutes later, John Ford scored his second touchdown the day for the Bald Eagles with 00:24 remaining in the game.
Breitbach noted that Lock Haven’s offensive strength this season has been running the football. Therefore, scoring first, getting ahead and controlling the clock would force the Bald Eagles to throw the ball. Staffieri stated that scoring first was a good way to start the game.
“We certainly talked about that all week,” Breitbach said.
Breitbach is also proud of how the offensive line was able to adjust to Lock Haven’s diverse defensive schemes. Staffieri stated that the offensive line’s blocking allowed the run to excel against the Bald Eagles.
Breitbach then stated that the defense played “opportunistic” on Saturday. Especially, when they stopped two potential scoring drives from Lock Haven in the first half.
Overall, Coach Breitbach was very happy with the effort that his players gave of all three phases of football. Him and Staffieri also believed that the dominating performance of all three phases of football contributed to the Homecoming victory.
Breitbach also stated that the team’s effort, pursuit and communication was there on the field.
“You can see the experience that those young men have had over the course of the last 2-3 years,” Breitbach said.
Millersville will travel to Shippensburg to face the Red Raiders on October 21, which Coach Breitbach calls a “big game.” Staffieiri stated that the team needed this win to gain momentum and confidence as they face, “a very good opponent.”
“There’s a lot more football to be played in the PSAC East,” Breitbach said. “If we can put things together, you never know, we could get back in the race.”