DALLAS TWP. — The Misericordia football team is treading in uncharted waters for a program.
That could be a daunting task for a young team. But the Cougars just keep doing their thing.
On Saturday, Misericordia continued to show a prolific offense rolling up more than 500 yards led by six total touchdowns by quarterback Brady Williams in a 52-33 win over visiting Castleton to extend its school-record win streak to three.
“We’ll celebrate this and come back and get ready for Alvernia next week. This is too new to us, honestly, and I just try to keep them grounded and let’s be 1-0 this week,” Cougars coach Mark Ross said. “We accomplished that goal this week and 24 hours from now we’ll meet with them and announce, ‘Hey, let’s be 1-0 for (next) week.’ We got our work cut out for us.”
With every win, the team is building more confidence. That positive attitude was visible several times at Mangelsdorf as the Cougars continued long drives, turned negative-yardage plays into positives on offense and made big stops on defense. Thanks to Delaware Valley defeating Stevenson, and King’s topping Lycoming, Misericordia and DelVal are the only two unbeaten teams in MAC play.
“I feel they’re confident for sure. They believe. They’re showing some resilience because we find a way to hurt ourselves with big special teams’ gaffes,” Ross added. “They’re confident. They feel good and they should. They’re playing well. They’re responding well.”
Right from the beginning of the game, the Cougars (3-1 overall, 2-0 in the MAC) got started on offense needing just six plays and a little less than 3 minutes to drive 61 yards for a touchdown when Williams ran in from 4 yards out for a 7-0 lead. That was just the start of Williams’ big day.
The Spartans answered back with a TD of their own on the drive after the Cougars’ score, but Misericordia opened a 21-7 lead after the first quarter as Williams struck for a pair of scoring tosses to Isaiah Solomon and Sam Gillison from 31 and 38 yards.
Those two passes were included in Williams’ five passes of 30 yards or more as he piled up 301 passing yards and connected with six different receivers. Later in the game, he threw a 56-yard scoring strike to Gillison.
“He’s grown into the position. He now sees things and can come and tell us. He doesn’t try to do too much. He’s really dangerous,” Ross said about his signal-caller. “He’s not perfect, but he’s got a confidence and he should. He’s a good player. I think he’s one of the best players in this league. Our kids believe in him. I feel very good with him. If there’s ever a doubt, I tell coach ‘keep it in his hands somehow.’”
Castleton closed the gap in the second quarter capitalizing on a Misericordia special teams miscue. With time running out in the half, the Cougars fumbled a snap on a punt. The ball sailed into the end zone and Luc Issa jumped on the ball for the Spartans touchdown cutting the deficit to 35-27 with 9 seconds left in the half.
That was the second of three special teams mistakes by Misericordia. Earlier in the first half, the Spartans blocked a punt. The Cougars weren’t hurt by that because the defense created an interception on the very next play.
In the third quarter after Williams’ second of three rushing touchdowns put Misericordia ahead 42-27, the Spartans’ Moses Harris reeled off a 91-yard kickoff return touchdown that sliced the Cougars lead to 42-33.
“We just gotta clean up some special teams and play a little bit better defense,” Ross said. “But we blocked an extra point and stopped a two-point conversion on special teams too.”
Luckily for the Cougars, they were able to put the game away with two more scoring drives and forcing two Castleton punts the rest of the game.
Misericordia returns to MAC play next week hosting first-year program Alvernia (1-3 overall, 0-3 MAC).
Misericordia 52, Castleton 33
MIS — B. Williams 4 run (Dinnocenti kick) 12:00
CAS — Harris 1 run (Kenosh kick) 7:30
MIS — Solomon 31 pass from B. Williams (Dinnocenti kick) 4:41
MIS — Gillison 38 pass from B. Williams (Dinnocenti kick) 1:50
CAS — Harris 31 pass from McCarthy (Kenosh kick) 13:52
MIS — Cromwell 3 run (Dinnocenti kick) 8:58
CAS — Brockway 31 pass from McCarthy (Kenosh kick) 3:33
MIS — Gillison 56 pass from B. Williams (Dinnocenti kick) 2:13
CAS — Issa fumble recovered in end zone (kick blocked) :09
MIS — Williams 1 run (Dinnocenti kick) 6:00
CAS — Harris 91 kick return (pass failed) 5:43
MIS — Williams 1 run (Dinnocenti kick) :35
MIS — Dinnocenti 25 field goal 5:13
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