The Marauders took to the field one last time in 2018 on a cold snowy Saturday in Mercyhurst. With the wind blowing and snow coming down, Millersville looked to cap off a disappointing season with a win however, like eight times previous this season the Marauders would walk off the field with a loss.
The first quarter was all Mercyhurst, scoring two touchdowns on a pass and a run. Doug Altavilla of Mercyhurst found Clay Waldron for a 21-yard pass for six which gave Mercyhurst their first score of the game. With the clock just about to hit zero in the first, Mercyhurst was down in Millersville territory again and Altavilla ran it in for another six points.
The second quarter was a stale mate. Both teams ended up giving the ball back to one another on either turnovers or punts. Going into the locker room at half to warm up Millersville knew they had to turn it around in the second half. Only being down by 14 the game was not out of reach for the Marauders.
Millersville’s offense came out looking much better in the second half. They were forced to punt on their first drive but a key interception by the Marauder defense helped spark a scoring drive for the offense.
At Mercyhurst’s 45-yard line following two incomplete passes, the Marauders found themselves quickly in a third and long situation. Quarterback Collin Shank hiked the ball and completed a 14-yard pass to Evan Morrill to keep the drive alive.
On the next series of plays, the Marauders once again fell into a third and long situation. A conversion here was crucial, picking up first downs on third and longs is a huge momentum builder for an offense. At Mercyhurst’s 31-yard line Shank connected on a 12-yard pass to Joey Farley gaining the first down.
On the next play Shank found Taiyir Wilson on a 19-yard pass for a touchdown giving Millersville their first score of the game.
With the score 14-7 Millersville was only down by one touchdown and very much in the game. Mercyhurst was quick to answer back to the Marauder touchdown though as they found the end zone on their first drive after the Millersville touchdown.
Under a minute left in the third Millersville running back Phil Overton ran the ball in 10 yards out to shrink Millersville’s deficit to six. At the end of three quarters the score was 20-14 and Millersville was one touchdown away from tying the game.
The fourth quarter began, and it was all Mercyhurst. Two touchdowns in the quarter resulted in a 35-14 win for Mercyhurst and another horrible loss for the Marauders.
Mercyhurst out gained Millersville in yards 381 to 257. On a cold windy afternoon, the passing game for the Marauders piled up 279 which is quite impressive when the weather conditions are not ideal for throwing the football.
What hurt the Marauder offense was once again their running game. Millersville’s rushing attack did not gain positive yardage as they ended up running backwards with negative 22 yards. Running the ball has been one of Millersville’s weaknesses this season and without a run game it’s hard to get an offense moving down the field.
Head coach J.C. Morgan concluded his first season with Millersville with a record of 2-9. Only having won two games this season, Morgan still did better than Millersville’s two previous coaches in their first season as Morgan was able to lead the team to two wins instead of one.
Even though the season has concluded there is still work to be done according to coach Morgan. “The rebuild starts now” he said. Morgan and his staff look to start recruiting right away for next season. “The plan is recruiting,” Morgan said.
The Marauders had yet another disappointing season. With a losing record of 2-9 it has now been 19 years since the Marauders have had a winning football season. The Marauders will miss the playoffs again, thus making it the 20th straight season not making it past the regular season.
Morgan said that the rebuild starts now and its true as Millersville will lose 20 seniors this year. The seniors departing leaves a lot of jobs open for younger guys to step into big rolls to help improve the team.
Certainly, this year did not go as planned with a dismal two wins. The positive side to only having two wins is that it leaves a lot of room for improvement and little for failure. The season did end for the Marauders on Saturday and as of now the Marauders can put this dreadful season behind them.
It’s time to look forward to a new season, a new schedule, and a new revamped football team that can help the Marauders get back to a winning season and quite possibly, a playoff push.