The Millersville Marauders football team was unable to stop West Chester’s high powered offense in a 63-10 loss in Millersville’s home opener Saturday.
Millersville allowed too many big plays on defense and struggled to keep their opponent out of the end zone.
Millersville quickly went down 28 points in the first quarter when they allowed three long touchdown passes by West Chester Quarterback Joe Wright.
On West Chester’s first two drives, they were able to score on a 58 yard touchdown pass and a two yard rush. On their third drive, the Marauders defense countered with an interception.
Freshman safety Brian Knell intercepted a pass at Millersville’s 29 yard line to halt West Chester’s drive. The offense was unable to capitalize though.
Their first three drives were three and out as they were unable to get a first down.
Trailing 28-0 going into the second quarter, the Marauders dug themselves into too large of a deficit. They stuck in the game though, with an impressive 63 yard drive that ended in a field goal.
Starting at their own 35 yard line, the Marauders put together their most successful drive of the game, amounting to four first downs.
Senior running back Brad Lantz contributed to the drive with two first down runs of nine yards and three yards.
Junior Quarterback Bill Shirk connected with Junior Jamal Smith for 20 yards to enter West Chester territory. Millersville pounded the ball to the one yard line, but were unable to score a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal by senior kicker John Banzhof.
Millersville’s comeback attempt was crushed on West Chester’s next possession.
West Chester’s running back found a hole in the Marauders defense and scored on a 62 yard run on the first play of the drive.
The Marauders defense held West Chester in check for the rest of the first half, forcing two important turnovers.
Junior Dan McClellan intercepted a pass inside Millersville’s 20 yard line to prevent another score.
On the next drive, Millersville prevented another touchdown when they stripped West Chester’s Steve Miller and recovered the football in the end zone for a touchback.
Senior Julius Carter forced the fumble and Freshman Christian Rodriguez recovered it. Carter also had eight total tackles for the Marauders.
The second half started similar as the start of first half. The Marauder offense was unable to get a first down on their first drive and West Chester scored on theirs.
West Chester put up another 21 points in the third quarter including a fumble recovery for a touchdown on defense.
Although down 63-3 in the fourth quarter, the Marauders did not quit.
On their final drive, Millersville moved the ball up field with help from junior running back Akeem Johnson. On the day, Johnson ran the ball seven times for 46 yards.
Bill Shirk connected twice with receivers Jamal Smith and Junior Andrew Downs on the final drive. Downs had a 19 yard reception for a touchdown. Shirk was 17-34 for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Even though the Marauders were outmatched on the scoreboard, they still continued to play hard against West Chester.
Senior tackle Christian Calderon said, “ We never gave up against West Chester. Our team played as hard as they could for all 60 minutes of the game.”
The Marauders hope to rebound from this loss when they face Shippensburg Saturday. Calderon said, “I feel that we will respond well. Our team has a lot of heart and I know that we will never give up. Millersville has a big rivalry with Shippensburg and I know our guys will be fired up and ready to play come Saturday.”
The game against Shippensburg will be played at 7 p.m. on Chryst Field at Biemsderfer Stadium.
The showdown marks the first home night game for the Marauders since 2007.
Shippensburg is riding the heels of a current three-game winning streak.
In their most recent action they topped conference foe East Stroudsburg in convincing fashion with a final score of 38-14.
Coaches on both the Millersville side and Shippensburg side will take part in a nationwide attempt to raise awareness for Muscular Dystrophy.
The coaches will be wearing patches on their shirts with the logo “Coaching to cure MD”.
Fans at the game will be encouraged to take part and donate to the fund to help research for treatment of MD.