History is about to occur for the Misericordia football team — and for the Luzerne County college football teams.
Cougars quarterback Jeff Puckett currently has 999 rushing yards this season. He’s about to become the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history. Heck, he’ll be the first 1,000-yard anything for the program, as last year he only passed for 626 yards.
That’s quite an accomplishment for a team that finished its inaugural season in 2012 with only 973 total rushing yards.
The sophomore will not only be the first to reach the milestone in program history, he will be the first from the three Luzerne County programs to reach 1,000 yards rushing since Wilkes’ Tom Andreopoulos surpassed the mark in 2006. The last time a King’s back achieved the feat was in 2005.
But it doesn’t stop there for the Cougar signal-caller, as his team hosts Albright this afternoon in the home finale this season. With just one more rushing yard and 374 more passing yards in Misericordia’s last two games, Puckett will become the first in the history of the Luzerne County programs to get to unreachable heights of being a 1,000-yard passer and rusher in the same season. Wilkes and King’s, which have been around for more than 80 years combined, have never had a quarterback do so, putting Puckett in rare territory.
Reaching those heights won’t be an easy task for Puckett though.
This afternoon, the Cougars (0-8 overall, 0-7 MAC) face a veteran Albright squad that starts 19 seniors and is coming off a win over Widener that dropped the Pride into a tie for second-place in the MAC. The Lions enter with a 5-3 overall record and are 4-3 in the conference, still mathematically alive for a share of the league title. They are eliminated from contention for the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, but if several teams tie with the same record atop the standings, all are considered co-MAC champions.
Albright (5-3, 4-3 MAC)
at Misericordia (0-8, 0-7 MAC)
When: 1 p.m. today at Mangelsdorf Field, Dallas Twp.
Last Week: Albright pulled out a 33-19 win over Widener, while Misericordia dropped a 48-3 decision to Stevenson.
Last meeting: The Lions shutout the Cougars, 48-0 last season.
Misericordia player to watch: Puckett is the obvious choice here, but the defense has been getting a lift recently from linebacker Hunter Pates. Last week, he tallied 10 tackles, including one for a loss.
Albright players to watch: Defensive tackle Matt Pattison, kicker Matt Sobolewski and quarterback T.J. Luddy, who were all named to the D3football.com Team of the Week and the BSN National Athlete of the Week list. It’s the first time Albright has had that many selections to either in school history.
Cougars’ team leaders: RB Frank Santarsiero 376 yards, 1 TD; QB Jeff Puckett 999 rushing yards (leads MAC), 11 TDs (leads MAC), 626 passing yards, 5 TDs, 3 interceptions.; WR Juwan Petties-Jackson 28 receptions, 369 yards, 3 TDs; LB Ben Camacho 56 tackles, 2 interceptions; NT Chris Grevas 2 sacks.
Lions’ team leaders: RB Ty Hughes 686 yards. 10 TDs; QB T.J. Luddy 1,887 yards, 11 TDs, 5 interceptions; WR Daniel McNair 47 receptions, 666 yards, 6 TDs; DB Drew Peterson 7 interceptions; DB Levi Myers 66 tackles; LB Don Gould 8 sacks.
Misericordia will win if …the team can rebound from a tough road loss to Stevenson and can start seeing positives early on. If things go well early, the Cougars can get confidence rolling and can pull off the upset.
Albright will win if …the team’s veteran leadership proves to be a deciding factor once again, especially against a young team like the Cougars.
What to know: Albright coach John Marzka has coached in 75 games for the team. Last week, he picked up career win No. 50.