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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, November 15, 2008

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Cross country

football drops regular-season finale in ot

Moravian and Muhlenberg may want to consider playing their 2009 football game at Dorney Park instead of Scotty Wood Stadium. The 2008 game had enough back-and-forth swings of momentum to fill every rollercoaster in the amusement park and sent everyone in attendance on a wild thrill ride.

Moravian finally won, 27-24, in overtime, handing the
Chris Hartzell
Hat trick: Hartzell blocked the punt (left), picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a touchdown (right). No Muhlenberg player had done that since 1967.
fourth-ranked Mules their first loss of the season. Gone are Muhlenberg’s winning streaks of 20 games in regular-season play and 15 in Centennial Conference play. The season goes on however, as the Mules had already clinched a berth in the NCAA Tournament. They will learn how the loss impacts their postseason fate on Sunday.

Muhlenberg (9-1, 7-1) overcame an early 14-0 deficit to tie the score on a 29-yard pass from senior Eric Santagato to sophomore Bobby Bushong and a 17-yard blocked punt return by freshman Chris Hartzell. Then things started to get hairy.

On the first possession after Hartzell’s TD, Moravian (8-2, 6-2) drove inside the Muhlenberg 15, only to fumble the ball away, with Hartzell recovering.

The Mules then drove into Moravian territory, only to have a shovel pass intercepted near midfield.

The Greyhounds started the fourth quarter on the Muhlenberg side of the field, but two big tackles for loss forced a punt.

Muhlenberg took possession at its own 20, drove to the Moravian 23, then went backwards and had a 47-yard field goal come up short.

Two plays later, junior Cameron Ahouse intercepted a tipped pass at the Moravian 40.

Soon the Mules faced fourth-and-7 at the Greyhound 37 with about six minutes left and elected to go for it. Santagato hit senior Edward DeRisi for the first down, and three plays later senior John DeLuca ran 17 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

On Moravian’s ensuing possession, Ryan Rempe broke out of the pack on third-and-1 and gained 63 yards before Hartzell made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 12. The Greyhounds eventually got to the 4, and on fourth down Ahouse broke up a pass in the end zone.

Muhlenberg took over at the 4, ahead 21-14, with 1:23 left, but fumbled on the second play. Moravian recovered and scored the tying touchdown with 54 seconds on the clock.

Needing a field goal to win, the Mules drove to the Moravian 33, but an interception with 11 seconds left sent the game into overtime.

Muhlenberg had the first possession of overtime and quickly gained two first downs to the Moravian 4. But the drive stalled, and the Mules had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by sophomore Michael Katz.

The Greyhounds, playing their second overtime game of the season, needed eight plays to score the winning touchdown. An 11-yard completion on third-and-11 put the ball on the 3, and Rempe carried over from the 1 on third down for his fourth touchdown of the game.

DeLuca finished with 148 yards on 40 carries to run his season total to 1,604, breaking record of 1,533 he set last year in 12 games. DeLuca also broke the school record for career carries (881), went over 4,000 yards for his career and received the Bianco Award as Muhlenberg’s MVP of the game.

DeRisi caught a career-high eight passes and also ran 22 yards on a fake punt.

Senior Matt Rathbun had an outstanding game on defense, recording a career-high 15 tackles, including four for loss and one sack.
Click here for box score.

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