DALLAS – Chris Haupt took a few extra minutes after Widener broke its postgame huddle to talk with family and friends.
The quarterback did most of his talking, though, on the gridiron – spoiling Misericordia football's home debut in front of an overflow crowd of 2,200 at Mangelsdorf Field.
The Central Columbia graduate completed 27 of his 41 passes for 432 yards and five touchdowns as the nationally-ranked Pride jumped out to a quick lead and cruised past the Cougars, 67-0.
It might have been the home opener for the newly-formed Misericordia program, but it was Haupt that loved the comforts of being close to his hometown of Bloomsburg.
"Coming home, it's a bigger fan base. You love to play in front of people in your hometown," he said. "Any time you can score some points, it's great. Our offensive coordinator has put us in a great spot each day, and it's given us a good opportunity to be successful. It's always fun when you win."
Haupt wasted little time, leading the Pride straight down the field and dialing the end zone in just 1 minute, 41 seconds after finding Anthony Davis on a 25-yard strike.
Widener (3-0) led 26-0 after the first quarter, and 46-0 at halftime after scoring on its first five possessions and seven of eight in the opening 30 minutes.
"No. 1, it's a MAC opponent. It doesn't matter if they are new to the league or been there for 10 years, as long as they play every team in this league, we have to win them," Widener head coach Isaac Collins said. "Our second goal is to have a winning record on the road. Today was an opportunity to continue forward on those goals. I'm proud that our kids played hard early, and keep the intensity throughout."
For Mark Ross, it wasn't the most ideal opponent for the home opener.
Widener, an experienced squad, has dominated the competition with an explosive, up-tempo offense. Misericordia, a roster loaded with freshmen and sporting only three seniors, has struggled to move the football – let alone score points – having been outscored 184-7 in three games.
That don't mean Ross will settle for anything less, admitting he doesn't set small goals entering each game.
"We want to win every game when we step on the field," he said. "I'm not going to resign myself to thinking we can't win on the field. I'm not doing any justice to these guys if I do that. We haven't performed well enough to come away with a victory yet. I coach one way, and played one way my whole life. And that's to win. That's why we keep score."
In the beginning, though, it might be about small goals.
The Cougars (0-3) moved the ball at times against the Pride, with the best chance coming early in the third quarter, after taking five minutes off the clock on a 12-play drive.
Down to the Widener 14, quarterback Jeffrey Puckett rolled out, overthrew his receiver and was intercepted by Nicholas White.
"I'm very pleased with the defense," Collins said. "I would have liked to see a few more turnovers, but as a football coach, you can't ask for anything more. They pitched a shutout, and played hard. They ran to the football. When they were able to establish some things offensively, we were able to change up and get them off the field."
Misericordia was held to just 170 yards of offense, while Widener amassed almost 700 yards.
"We kind of blew the protection, which didn't give us the chance," Ross said of the red zone interception. "That's the type of stuff that we have to eliminate, and we are not doing that. In some ways, we did some better things. We did put together some drives, but we have to finish them off. We keep finding a way to make a crucial mistake to end them. That's got to stop. Widener is a really good football team, probably the best we've seen yet, so it's tough to say where we are at. The thing that stuck out to me was the physicality, and that's something we can address."
Haupt threw two scores in the third quarter, boosting the lead to 60-0 after three, and Tevin Campbell's 14-yard TD scamper set the score at 67-0.
"We want to win the MAC and get into the dance. That's the next step for us," Collins said. "We have to find a way next week to beat Wilkes. That's got to be our focus and approach. It's one game at a time. If we are 1-0 after next weekend, then we accomplished our mission and got it done."
Widener 67, Misericordia 0
W – Anthony Davis 25 pass from Chris Haupt (James McFadden kick), 13:19
W – Terrant Morrison 62 punt return (pass failed), 9:56
W – Couve LaFate 1 run (McFadden kick), 5:05
W – Robert Getz 1 run (kick blocked), 0:46
W – Davis 61 pass from Haupt (kick failed), 14:22
W – Getz 2 run (McFadden kick), 6:20
W – Jermaine Quattlebaum 14 pass from Haupt (McFadden Kick), 3:20
W -- Davis 37 pass from Haupt (McFadden kick)
W – LaFate 9 pass from Haupt (McFadden kick), 2:56
W – Tevin Campbell 14 run (McFadden kick), 13:02
RUSHING – WID, Tevin Campbell 8-84, Dane Pergolese 5-57, Terrant Morrison, 7-34, Jermaine Quattlebaum 2-26, Couve LaFate 5-16, Chris Haupt 2-11, Robert Getz 4-10, Leroy Wesley 2-10, Team 3-(-22); MIS, Cody Lamoreaux 16-56, Jeffry Puckett 10-34, Benny Delgado 6-5, Michael Pheasant 1-3, Robin Custodio 4-3, Frank Santarsiero 1-0
PASSING – WID, Haupt 27-41-0, 432 yards; Campbell 1-4-1, 10 yards. MIS, Puckett 8-22-2, 69 yards, Chris Washo 0-1-0, 0 yards
RECEIVING – WID, Anthony Davis 7-165, LaFate 3-61, Dom DePasquale 3-40, Alec Wrieth 3-25, Quattlebaum 2-41, Connor Schlegel 2-31, Matthew Locotos 2-27, Pergolese 2-18, Morrisoin 1-14, Matthew Borland 1-10, Steve Marrero 1-6, Philip Ragona; MIS, Paul Brace 3-43, Dean Lucchesi 2-13, Lamoreaux 1-5, Shannon Johnson 1-4, Kurt Kowalski 1-4
INTERCEPTIONS – WID, Jamal Dorsey, Nicholas White; MIS, Ben Camacho
MISSED FGS -- None