DALLAS — The Misericordia University football team was coming off a terrific effort in a loss to Gettysburg last week, but Delaware Valley proved to be much more of a challenge winning, 42-17 in the first MAC game of the season for both teams.
The Cougars (0-2) had a dismal first half losing two fumbles, muffing two punts and a kickoff return resulting in 14 points and bad field position.
The defense surrendered three first quarter touchdown passes to Aggies (2-0) quarterback Aaron Wilmer and two touchdown runs in the second quarter to go into the half down 35-3.
The third quarter was a different story as Misericordia controlled the ball for nearly 12 minutes and scored 14 unanswered points on offense that included a 14-yard run by sophomore quarterback Jeff Puckett and a 16-yard run by senior running back Frank Santarsiero making it 35-17.
The defense held Delaware Valley to only two first downs the whole quarter.
“I just challenged them to put the first half behind and compete for the next 30 minutes,” said Misericordia head coach Mark Ross. “We couldn’t change the first half, couldn’t do anything about it. Now it’s come out in the second half. We talked to them all week it’s about competing with yourself for being the best you can be, and when we all do that we’re gonna be fine and that was the challenge. I said that we gotta go out there and compete for 30 minutes and that’s what I wanted to see. When we put the film on I’m gonna see who was competing and they did that, and they did a good job.”
Misericordia was riding momentum going into the fourth quarter, but one last score by Delaware Valley with 3:28 left to play was too much for the Cougars to overcome as the game’s final score read 42-17.
The Cougars’ offense finished the day with 436 total yards, including 159 yards rushing by Puckett, a week after he rushed for 309 yards against Gettysburg. Sophomore Robin Custodio added 96 yards on 24 carries.
Puckett also finished the day 6 of 10 passing for 60 yards, including a 32 yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Juwan Petties-Jackson that helped put the Cougars in scoring position late in the third quarter.
“They started to stack the box, at that point we have to throw,” said Puckett “They’re gonna stop us every time if we don’t, so we had to open up a little bit. Perfect routes, perfect security, and you know just a good job.”
Outscoring Delaware Valley 14-7 in the second half, Puckett said he is confident that if the team can continue to play more football like they did that they will be better than meets the eye.
“We’re capable of many different things,” said Puckett. “If we stick to this we’ll be a good team.”
In terms of making progress week by week, Ross said this week was another step in the right direction.
“I think it was a step up, at least on the defensive side of the ball,” said Ross. “We come out, I think it was three three-and-outs, got a turnover, so I think that was a step in the right direction, but I’ve gotta look at the film to verify that. I think offensively we’re on the right track, and this is a little bit different to handle, but I think we’re on the right track.”
Up next, the Cougars will travel to Lycoming to play their first away game of the season.
Delaware Valley 42, Misericordia 17
DV — Bobby Marterella 15 pass from Aaron Wilmur (Brandon Snyder kick), 12:10
DV — Lewis Vincent 14 pass from Wilmur (Snyder kick), 8:39
MIS — Patrick Newins 20 field goal, 2:52
DV — Rasheed Baily 49 pass from Wilmur (Snyder kick)
DV — Chris Smallwood 1 run (Snyder kick), 7:53
DV — Darren Parrott 14 run (Snyder kick), 2:12
MIS — Jeff Puckett 14 run (Newins kick), 12:42
MIS — Frank Santarsiero 16 run (Newins kick), 2:26
DV — Parrott 18 run (Snyder kick), 3:28
RUSHING — DV, Parrott 16-108, Smallwood 11-61, Tyler Bing 5-54, Wilmur 3-23, Dashown Waller 1-6, Michael Anusky 1-4, TEAM 1- (minus)4; MIS, Puckett 24-159, Robin Custodio 26-96, Santarsiero 19-82, Ryan Kurtz 6-28, Carmine Verducci 2-8, Vince Grausso 2-6, Dylan Quirk 1- (minus)9.
PASSING — DV, Wilmur 13-20-0; MIS Puckett 6-10-0, Steve Strobel 1-2-0, Kurtz 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — DV, Vincent 4-58, Bailey 3-69, Danny Lopez 2-38, Marterella 2-25, Bing 2-19; MIS Juwan Petties-Jacks 4-51, Kurt Kowalski 1-6, Dean Lucchesi 1-6, Chris Kirkland 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS — None
MISSED FGs — Brandon Snyder (blocked)