Crusaders pull away from State College with 34-14 win
Little Lion Head Coach Matt Lintal likes to play tough competition. “It’s what we want to do here, we want to play the top teams. We welcome the challenge, a ‘shock the state’ opportunity.” For three quarters of Friday’s game they were in position to do just that. Trailing 20-7 midway into the third quarter, State College running back Jordan Misher ripped off a 38 yard run and scored from 1 yard out later in the drive to pull within 6 points. “That was our wake up call there,” said Junior receiver Kobay White. “We never were out of the game and I thought we played well but that one, we kinda fell asleep I think.”
The Little Lions opened the game with a spectacular drive on the legs of Misher. The Junior running back sliced around and followed his blockers 7 times for 74 yards, leading his team all the way to the half yard mark where Chris Weakland finished the drive on a keeper. “We’d like to keep doing that with Misher all season, he’s a heck of a runner. I just hope we don’t wear him out though” said Lintal. Misher carried 21 times for 134 yards and Kevin Cramer made it 7-0 with his kick.
The Crusaders struck right back with a long drive of their own, but not in the usual pounding style Head Coach Jeff Weachter likes to start a game with. “We didn’t have Andre (Robinson) so we knew we were going to have to pass it a little more.” And pass they did. Senior Nick Marsilio lit up Memorial field for 291 yards on a 22 of 27 effort. Marsilio threw the ball 4 times on this drive connecting for one of two scores with White. “I am lucky enough to have great receivers and it makes my job easier than it should be” said Marsilio. “We had to sit on a bus literally for 2 hours before the game because of lightening. I think it kinda stiffened us up. We didn’t get to do a walk through before the game like we wanted so it kinda took us a while to get the legs churning” said Weachter.
State College never got a chance to respond as a Weakland pass was tipped at the line and Crusader DL Anthony Long took the ball out of the air returning the ball to the Little Lion 30 but a penalty move the Crusaders back to the 45. It didn’t really matter. On the third play of the drive Marsilio and White connected again, this time a beautiful 35 yard strike. The point after was blocked but McDevitt never relinquished the lead.
State College linebacker Stan Martin got a huge sack on McDevitts first drive of the second half to stop a long drive and kept his team within striking distance. Martin had nine tackles including the sack and one for a loss. Mishers td score on the ensuing drive made it a 20-14 game but that was all the Little Lions had left in the tank.
White and Marsilio again combined for a 26 yard gain. White finished the game with 10 catches for 135 yards. A few plays later Que’ Shawn Jackson bulled in from 2 yards out. “Jackson really stepped up for us tonight. With Robinson down it’s next man up” Weachter said of the 69 yard effort adding “Matt (Geiger) really stepped up for us too.” The Crusaders next two drives were a combined 4 plays. The first ended on an 18 yard scoring run from Jenkins after Marsilio connected with White for 21 yards and then Bryce Hall for 37. “That drive, they took the wind out of our sails. You could feel it. We had the momentum and our boys were fighting but they just have too many weapons” said Lintal. A 64 yard td run from Geiger, who finished the night with 108 yards, ended the scoring and any chance the Little Lions had at an upset. “These guys, they always play us tough” said Weachter. “This is their and our kinda rivalry here. But we’ve been down before in big games. We just had to fight through and we did.”
Bishop McDevitt (2-0) will face Cumberland Valley while State College (1-1) will travel to Martinsburg, WV.
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