SELINSGROVE, Pa. – It all came down to a two-point conversion; if the Susquehanna defense stopped McDaniel, the Crusaders would likely go on to win. If the defense failed to stop the Green Terror, McDaniel would go up by one with just 17 seconds left. Unfortunately, the Green Terror converted on its two-point pass play and SU fell 43-42 on Senior Day.
The Crusaders led 42-35 with 3:47 remaining in the game but a 12-play, 70-yard drive by McDaniel ended with a successful two-point pass from Seth McFall to Nick O’Melia to make it 43-42 in favor of the Green Terror. With just 17 seconds remaining, Susquehanna was unable to overcome the deficit.
SU (1-8, 1-7) finished the day with 498 offensive yards while McDaniel (2-7, 2-6) had 391. Susquehanna drastically out-gained the Green Terror on the ground, racking up 253 yards to McDaniel’s 162. Tim Wade (Doylestown, Pa./La Salle College HS) accounted for 166 of those yards on 29 carries as the sophomore went on to finish with a game-high three touchdowns.
Quarterback Mark Rosenbaum (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) went 18-for-25 for 245 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. Will Howell (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) finished with six receptions as had a total of 90 yards receiving. Denzell Walker (Baltimore, Md./McDonough School) added 89 yards on five receptions with one touchdown.
Both teams were perfect in the red zone with McDaniel converting on all four chances and SU capitalizing on all five of its red zone opportunities.
After a seven-point first quarter it seemed as if fans were in for a defensive battle but that first quarter proved deceiving. In the opening period, Walker reeled in a 26-yard pass from Rosenbaum and a Spencer Hotaling (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area) PAT made it 7-0 after 4:09 of play.
That remained the score as the game headed into the second quarter. From that point on, the teams combined for 78 points over the final 45 minutes of action. SU added to its lead just 47 seconds into the second quarter when Wade found the endzone on a two-yard run. Unfortunately Hotaling’s PAT was blocked – a play that would prove critical – to keep it 13-0.
McDaniel countered with its first touchdown of the afternoon for a 13-7 game before Wade ran his way for another touchdown, this time a three-yard score, to put Susquehanna back up by two scores (20-7) with 5:34 left in the half.
The Green Terror, however, ended the half with two unanswered touchdowns, including one with just 11 seconds on the clock, to take its first lead of the game (21-20) at the half.
The teams proceeded to trade scores for the remainder of the game. Merle Moscarello (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg Area) opened the second-half scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run as the lead swung back in the Crusaders’ favor at 27-21. McDaniel, though, rattled off two more unanswered scoring drives, both touchdowns, to lead 35-27 heading into the final 15 minutes of action.
Down by eight with 10:34 on the clock, Wade again worked his way into the McDaniel endzone and, combined with two-point conversion pass from Rosenbaum to Walker, Susquehanna found itself knotted at 35 with McDaniel.
That tie lasted for nearly seven minutes before fullback Pat Murtha (Farmingdale, N.J./Colts Neck) hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Rosenbaum and after a Hotaling PAT, SU took a seven-point lead into the final minutes of the regulation.
The Green Terror got the ball back with 3:47 on the clock and proceeded to put together a 12-play, 70-yard drive that burned 3:30 off the clock. The drive came to a successful end when McFall found O’Melia for a three-yard touchdown reception and after a successful two-point conversion pass from McFall to Britton Hastings, SU found itself staring at a 43-42 deficit with only 17 seconds with which to work.
The Crusaders were unable to do anything with those 17 seconds and a fumble by Walker found its way into the hands of McDaniels’ Mike Cousar to effectively end the game.
Defensively for Susquehanna, Tom McLoughlin (Bloomsbury, N.J./Bethlehem Catholic) led the team with eight tackles (five solo) and also added a pass breakup. Mason Spangler (Emmaus, Pa./Emmaus) racked up seven tackles, including two for a loss, and Adrian Bernard (East Stroudsburg, Pa./Pius X) had six tackles, two for loss, and a sack.
Susquehanna was penalized nine times for 118 yards while McDaniel had seven penalties for 73 yards.
The Crusaders end their season next Saturday in the annual Goal Post Trophy Game against Juniata. Kickoff is set for noon.
Heartbreaking Loss for Crusader Football on Senior Day