DALLAS TWP. — Misericordia University football played its last home game of the season and lost 42-19 to Albright College on Saturday afternoon at Mangelsdorf Field.
In spite of the loss, sophomore quarterback Jeff Puckett became the first player in the football program’s two-year history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
He went into the game with 999 yards and finished the game with 18 carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 1,158 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Head coach Mark Ross said it was a great accomplishment for Puckett, and also one that the team as a whole should take in stride.
“I saw him late and I said ‘congratulations’ and in typical Jeff Puckett (says) ‘for what,’” said Ross. “I think it’s not just an individual accomplishment, but as an offense as a whole it takes all ten other people out there. We kind of joked about that a year ago and we talked about kids about that in our recruiting process that they had an opportunity to do what no one else has done before, so now there’s a significant accomplishment that he’s been able to achieve, but in the greater picture of things the whole offense has been able to achieve so it’s a credit to them.”
Puckett feels humbled about the accomplishment, but credits his teammates for everything he’s been able to do.
“It’s awesome,” said Puckett. “I couldn’t have done it without anyone helping me along the way. The lineman block great, and it’s been such an improvement from last year. Wideouts, tremendous effort on the outside blocking as well.”
The Lions (6-3) scored on their first drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback TJ Luddy to senior wide receiver Daniel McNair to go up 7-0 on the Cougars (0-9).
Misericordia drove the ball down to the Albright eight yard line, but failed to convert on fourth down resulting in the Lions taking over and driving 92 yards to score on a 24 yard pass from Luddy to senior wide receiver Devron Clark to go up 14-0.
The Cougars went 0-3 on fourth down conversions for the day and all three times took deep passes.
“We always talk about being aggressive,” said Ross. “At the same time they were bringing max pressure and that’s their strategy defensively. So if they’re gonna throw it they have to throw it over your head and it’s gonna be difficult to run against.”
Puckett would eventually score on a 2-yard keeper to get the Cougars on the board down only 14-7, but Albright scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter which included a one yard run by senior running back Uriah Brickhouse, a 10-yard run from freshman running back Brian Wickkiser and a two yard run by senior running back Ty Hughes to put the Lions up 35-7 at halftime.
After another touchdown run by Puckett and a blocked extra point attempt put the Cougars down 35-13, Albright scored again on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Luddy to go up 42-13 after the third quarter.
Misericordia scored once more in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run from freshman quarterback Ryan Kurtz, but another blocked extra point made the game 42-19.
Luddy finished 13 of 17 for 210 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for the Lions while Hughes ran the ball for 134 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown. McNair had seven catches for 124 yards and two scores.
“Defensively we’re just overpowered by this team,” said Ross. “That’s not gonna change until we get time in the weight room and get a chance to recruit some more kids. I thought offensively we had a nice day and in some ways we took a positive step.”
The Cougar offense was also helped by senior running back Frank Santarsiero’s strong performance of 12 carries for 126 yards rushing in what could be his last home game for the Cougars.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Santasiero. “I might still have a year of eligibility, so I could be coming back again. I love this team, all of our seniors, everyone, they played really hard, we came back in the second half and I’m excited for our last game of the season and I think we have a good shot.”
Santarsiero on the season is the Cougars’ second leading rusher with 502 yards and one touchdown.
Misericordia travels to FDU-Florham (1-8) for the final game of the regular season.
Albright 42, Misericordia 19
ALB — Daniel McNair 10 pass from TJ Luddy (Dan Sobolewski kick), 8:36
ALB — Devron Clark 24 pass from Luddy (Sobolewski kick), 2:53
MIS — Jeff Puckett 2 run (Brandon Salazar kick), 0:25
ALB — Uriah Brickhouse 1 run (Sobolewski kick), 11:18
ALB — Brian Wickkiser 10 run (Sobolewski kick), 9:19
ALB — Ty Hughes 2 run (Sobolewski kick), :08
MIS — Puckett 4 run (Salazar kick blocked), 5:03
ALB — McNair 49 pass from Luddy (Sobolewski kick), 0:36
MIS — Ryan Kurtz 5 run (Salazar kick blocked), 4:37
RUSHING — ALB, TJ Luddy 3-10, Ty Hughes 23-132, Uriah Brickhouse 9-60, Danny Tighe 4-18, Brian Wickkiser 4-23, Josh Macleod 2-7, Kevin Mason 1-7, TEAM 1-(minus 1). MIS, Jeff Puckett 18-159, Ryan Kurtz 5-27, Robin Custodio 6-19, Frank Santarsiero 12-126, TEAM 2-(minus 14).
PASSING — ALB, Luddy 12-16-1-178, Patrick Wise 1-1-0-32. MIS, NPuckett 5-14-1-43
RECEIVING — ALB, Devron Clark 3-41, Daniel McNair 7-124, Vinny Williams 1-3, Vaughn White 1-32, Eric Wade 1-10. MIS, Juwan Petties-Jackson 1-9, Kurt Kowalski 1-6, Thomas Stelzer 1-18, Tyler Rowe 2-10.
INTERCEPTIONS — ALB, Levi Myers 1-0. MIS, Matt Martin 1-38
MISSED FGs — None.