Seniors Lead Football Team Past Moravian

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - page 2

For seniors Kevin Van Laar and Joe Carlucci of the Muhlenberg football team, it was a perfect ending to an imperfect regular season.

Tom Holland
Tom Holland, one of 14 seniors honored before the game, recorded seven tackles.
Van Laar was named game MVP after rushing for a career-high 167 yards, and Carlucci threw two touchdown passes in 32 seconds to break a close game open as the Mules celebrated Senior Day with a 24-12 win over rival Moravian.

Muhlenberg (8-2, 7-2) finished the regular season in sole possession of second place in the Centennial Conference, extended its winning streak to six and reached the eight-win mark in back-to-back season for only the third time in program history. The Mules await word on a bid to the ECAC Tournament.

Van Laar is the team’s leading rusher but was forced to the sidelines by injury twice this year. He looked healthy and strong against the Greyhounds, carrying the ball 40 times and bowling over a tackler to convert a fourth down in the third quarter. He also scored the game’s first touchdown on a fourth-down run, carrying in from 2 yards out with 1:37 left in the first quarter.

Michael Long
The blocked kick was the fourth of Long’s career; he also blocked a field goal in last year’s Moravian game.
Moravian appeared poised to tie the game after scoring a touchdown in the final two minutes of the half, but the snap on the extra point was low and the Greyhounds could not get the kick off, leaving the score 7-6.

Muhlenberg extended its lead just before halftime on a drive extended by the first of three big special teams plays – a 45-yard run by senior Joe Hogh on a fake punt. Junior Connor Winter booted a field goal with 6.7 seconds left to make it 10-6.

Although the Greyhounds had the better of the play in the third quarter, the Muhlenberg defense kept them off the board with key plays. Junior Michael Long blocked a 25-yard field goal try, junior Gene Blanco intercepted a pass near midfield, and Blanco and junior Jeremey Thomas combined for a stop on fourth-and-2 from the 6.

After the latter play, Carlucci came on in relief. The co-captain, who missed three games with an injury earlier in the season, was a perfect 6-for-6 in his quarter-plus of action. On his first drive, he engineered a 15-play, 94-yard march that flipped the momentum of the game back to the Mules.

Two plays after sneaking for a first down on fourth-and-1, Carlucci found junior Cody Geyer alone in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown to give Muhlenberg some breathing room at 17-6.

It was 24-6 less than a minute later. Winter’s onside kick was recovered by sophomore Michael Hovan, and two plays later, Carlucci went deep to Geyer for a 45-yard touchdown.

Geyer finished the game with a career-high 10 catches for 138 yards, going over 1,000 yards for the season.

Moravian scored a touchdown with 8:31 left, but the defense forced a three-and-out on the next Greyhound possession. Muhlenberg took over with 5:35 left and ran out the clock, with Van Laar carrying on seven of nine plays on the final drive, including a career-best 21-yard run on the last play before the Mules took a knee.
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