(Carlisle, Pa.) – The Dickinson College football team rallied from a 13-3 deficit on Friday night to post a dramatic 17-16 win over visiting McDaniel College. The Red Devils capitalized on a Scott Sullivan (Coatesville, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) interception as sophomore Kyle Smith (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) rambled into the end zone to score on a 17 run. Smith scored with 7:25 remaining in regulation to give the Devils their first lead of the night.
The Red Devils forced a fumble on McDaniel's opening drive but were forced to punt the ball back almost immediately. The Green Terror would strike first as first-year quarterback Nick Valori connected with Nick O'Melia on a 54 yard touchdown pass at the 8:54 mark. The Red Devils blocked the extra-point and Matt Wood (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) almost broke free on the return but was brought down before reaching the end zone.
Dickinson would answer two plays later with 44 yard field-goal from David London (Chevy Chase, Md./Maret School) with 1:51 to play in the first quarter.
The Devils fumbled the ball away on consecutive drives, the second giving McDaniel possession on the Dickinson 12 yard line. Valori found Woody Butler on the next play from scrimmage to stretch the Green Terror lead to 13-3 with 6:09 remaining in the first half.
McDaniel intercepted a pass to stall the Devils once again with 3:35 remaining in the first half. The Devil defense held but a miscue on the McDaniel punt put the ball back in the hands of the Green Terror on the Dickinson 18 yard line. The defense answered the call once again, forcing a field-goal to end the half. The attempt went wide right to keep the score, 13-3, at the break.
The Devils regrouped and punched the ball in on their second possession of the third quarter to cut the McDaniel lead to 13-10 with 7:39 on the clock. Senior Mike Shimkin (Solebury, Pa./Princeton Day School) rushed for 84 yards on the drive to set up a nine yard scoring pass from first-year Cole Ahnell (Rockville, Md./Walter Johnson) to senior Cam Di Fede (Miami, Fla./Palmer Trinity).
The teams traded punts before the Green Terror forced another fumble, taking over on the Devils' 30 yard line. They would capitalize on the turnover once again, but had to settle for a 22 yard field-goal to make the score, 16-10 as the third quarter came to a close.
The final 15 minutes would prove to be some of the most exciting of the night. The Devils opened the final quarter with a solid drive but were stopped at the McDaniel 40 yard line and forced to punt.
Valori drove the Green Terror to the Dickinson 42 yard line before he was picked-off by Sullivan, who returned the interception 17 yards to the Devils' 41. Ahnell immediately went to the air, finding Di Fede for a 33 yard gain into McDaniel territory. A nine yard pass to first-year Eric Ondo (Richland, Pa./ELCO) set up the 17 yard score by Smith to knot the game, 16-16. London came on for the crucial extra-point and calmly split the uprights the give the Devils their first lead of the night with 7:25 remaining in regulation.
Following punts from each team, McDaniel gained possession for a final drive with 2:32 on the clock. A nine yard sack by sophomore Walker Moriarty (Snowmass Village, Colo./Aspen) put the Green Terror in trouble at 2nd-and-19 from their own 44 yard line. The found themselves going for it on 4th-and-9, but the Devils made the stop as Valori had to scramble, turning the ball over to Dickinson. The Devils took a pair of knees to run out the clock, holding on for a thrilling 17-16 victory.
Joe Rollins finished with a game-high 150 yards rushing and 36 yards on a pair of catches to lead McDaniel. Valori completed 9-of-20 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Cousar led the defense with nine stops while Tim McLister made eight tackles to go with an interception.
Shimkin rushed for 124 yards on 19 carries while Ahnell ran for 70 and Smith covered 64 on the night. Ahnell completed 16-of-22 passes for 135 yards. Di Fede had a huge night, finishing with nine catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Julian Rosen (Brecksville, Ohio/University School) tallied a game-high 10 tackles while Schuyler Simpson (Potomac, Md./Bullis) added nine tackles, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble. Michael Miller (Hainesport, N.J./Bishop Euctase) recorded nine tackles as well, adding a sack and an interception.
The Red Devils improve to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the Centennial Conference. They travel to Allentown next Saturday to face Muhlenberg College at 1:00 pm.