(Carlisle, Pa.) – The Dickinson football team held off a fourth quarter rally attempt by visiting Susquehanna on Saturday, improving to 2-0 in the Centennial Conference with a 17-14 victory.
Stingy defensive play kept both teams off the scoreboard in the opening quarter as the teams combined for five punts in the opening 15 minutes. The same was almost true of the second before the teams traded touchdowns in the final four minutes of the half.
The Red Devils struck first, capitalizing on a tipped punt by Walker Moriarty (Snowmass Village, Colo./Aspen) to take possession on the Crusader's 38 yard line. Senior Matt Wood (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) made a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone, pulling in a 13 yard pass from first-year Michael Carmella (East Stroudsburg, Pa./East Stroudsburg South) to put Dickinson on the board with 3:56 to play in the half.
Susquehanna was forced to punt the ball back to the Devils, who took over with 2:54 on the clock. Will Dyson quickly turned the tables again, making a great play to intercept a pass on the sideline and returning it all the way for a touchdown at the 2:43 mark.
After the break, the Red Devils forced a punt and immediately put points up as sophomore Adam Kaminski (Exton, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) split the uprights with a 26 yard field-goal to give the Devils a 10-7 lead with 7:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Another three-and-out forced by and inspired Red Devil defense put the ball back in the hands of sophomore Cole Ahnell (Rockville, Md./Walter Johnson) who came on at quarterback in the second half. Ahnell led a seven play, 45 yard drive behind some strong carries from fullback Kyle Smith (Easton, Pa./Easton Area).
Senior Bligh Cassidy (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) plunged in from the one yard line to stretch the Dickinson lead to 17-7 with just 1:20 to play in the third quarter.
The Devils held once more, but the punt hit one of the Red Devils and was recovered by Susquehanna, giving the Crusaders possession their own 43 yard line. Connor McGrath rushed the Crusaders to the Devils' 21 before Taylor Kolmer connected with Mike Ritter for a touchdown pass to pull Susquehanna within a field-goal to start the fourth quarter.
The Red Devils were content to manage the clock and rely on their defense to close out the game. The Devils final drive went to the Susquehanna one yard line before they were stopped on fourth down.
The Devils appeared to have Kolmer sacked for a safety, but it was ruled he released the ball in time to keep the Crusaders alive with just second on the clock. Casey Tosches caught a pass across the middle and lateraled to Ritter, who broke free into Red Devil territory and was headed for daylight. He tried to pitch the ball off as well, but Dickinson recovered the loosed ball as time expired to secure the win.
Junior Shane Mitchell (Whitehaven, Pa./Crestwood) recorded a game-high 13 tackles to anchor a solid defensive effort by the Red Devils. Ethan Rayner (Holliston, Mass./Holliston) added seven stops while Mitch Helmandollar (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) added four tackles and broke up three passes, including a potential touchdown saving break-up with an outstanding play.
Moriarty added an eight yard sack and four tackles to his block while Michael Byrnes (Greenwich, Conn./Brunswick School) recorded a sack as well.
Capone covered 55 yards on the ground as the Devils rushed for 121 yards while SU tallied 122 rushing yards on the day. Carmella and Ahnell combined for 107 yards passing while Kolmer threw for 108 on the day.
The Red Devils (2-1, 2-0) are on the road again next weekend, heading to Moravian College for a 1:00 pm kick-off.