SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Not only did the Susquehanna football team send its seniors out on a winning note with a 29-14 win over McDaniel on Saturday, the Crusaders also clinched a winning season in the process.
SU (6-3, 5-3) captured its fifth Centennial Conference win of the season and avenged last year’s 35-0 loss at McDaniel (2-7, 2-6), a team that picked up its seventh loss of 2011 on Saturday.
There were many pivotal plays that helped put the game out of reach in the second half. Perhaps none were as critical as Jalon Scott’s (Albany, N.Y./Albany) early, fourth-quarter 76-yard punt return that led to an eventual 19-14 Crusaders’ lead and Greg Tellish’s (Mount Airy, Md./South Carroll) school-record 91-yard rushing touchdown with 4:19 remaining in the game.
Tellish finished with another monster performance, rushing for 167 yards on 23 carries and that one record-breaking score.
Senior QB Rich Palazzi (Newfoundland, Pa./Wallenpaupack) went 15-for-20 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. He also got in on the ground game, picking up a rushing touchdown of his own.
With Mike Ritter (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) still out due to injury and Matt Knouse (Elliottsburg, Pa./West Perry) hampered by injury, wideout Alex Patchin (Camp Hill, Pa./Camp Hill) had a breakout game, catching six balls for 69 yards and one touchdown.
As a team, the Crusaders had 377 total offensive yards while limited the Green Terror to 253. McDaniel had only 46 rushing yards all afternoon while SU grounded out 164, spearheaded by Tellish.
The first quarter passed without a score from either team before the teams combined for 20 second-quarter points. SU got on the board first with an 18-yard Patchin touchdown. Unfortunately, a missed PAT kept it 6-0 after 5:30 of play in the quarter.
McDaniel took a 7-6 lead three minutes later but that lead did not last long as Ryan Lopes (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg Area) reeled in a 40-yard Palazzi touchdown pass to make it 13-7, which remained the halftime score.
SU proceeded to outscore the Green Terror 16-7 over the final 30 minutes of play. McDaniel actually briefly regained the lead, 14-13, on a Nick Valori rushing touchdown with roughly 5:40 on the clock but from there on out it was all Crusaders in the fourth quarter.
On third and goal early in the final quarter, Palazzi finally found the end zone on his third quarterback sneak of the drive after Scott’s 76-yard punt return set SU up at the McDaniel one-yard line. A failed two-point conversion kept it a 19-14 lead but that missed conversion ended up being just a minor blip.
A Spencer Hotaling (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area) field goal and Tellish’s 91-yard touchdown, the longest run from the line of scrimmage in school history, iced the game for Susquehanna.
Jesse Eggerton (Montoursville, Pa./Loyalsock
Twp.) and Trevor Terpening (Mount Airy, Md./South
Carroll) had nine tackles apiece with Eggerton accounting
for SU’s lone interception of the day and Terpening adding
one sack and two tackles for loss.
The Crusaders play their final game of the regular season on Saturday with a noon matchup at Juniata.