Moravian Rallies Past Dickinson, 24-16, as Safety Matt Johnson Starts at Quarterback
Sophomore Matt Johnson, Moravian's starting strong safety,
stepped in at quarterback due to illness and completed ten of 23
passes for 174 yards and ran for 61 yards and a touchdown on 15
carries to lead the Moravian College football team to a 24-16
Centennial Conference win at Dickinson College Saturday
Moravian snaps a three-game losing streak to improve to 2-3 overall and 2-2 in conference action while the Red Devils fall to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in Centennial Conference play.
Johnson, who was a quarterback in high school, saw his first action at the position in college with freshman starting quarterback Phil Gardner sitting out with an illness. With the Greyhounds trailing 16-7 midway through the third quarter, Johnson led scoring drives of 85, 49 and 55 yards to rally Moravian to the win.
Dickinson received the opening kickoff and picked up a first down on its possession before senior Gordon Craig punted. Johnson ran for eight yards on Moravian's first play ran eight times before Johnson attempted a pass in the game. The Greyhounds picked up one first down on the opening possession before senior Eric Dziengelski tied his career long with a 57-yard punt to the Dickinson three-yard line.
With the Red Devils facing a third-and-eight, Dickinson junior quarterback Ricky Martz rolled to the left and attempted a pass that was intercepted by Moravian senior defensive back Daniel Burley at the nine-yard line, and Burley returned the pass for a touchdown. Junior Ian Heck made the extra-point for a 7-0 Greyhound lead with 6:17 left in the first quarter.
Dickinson ran three plays before punting on the ensuing possession. Moravian moved down to the Red Devil 29-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-five, Heck came on to attempt a 46-yard field goal, but the kick was wide right.
Once again, Dickinson was unable to move the ball and punted after three plays. The Red Devils would get the ball back three plays into the second quarter when Dickinson junior defensive back Scott Sullivan intercepted a Johnson pass that Moravian senior wide receiver Alex Hersch had his hands on but was unable to hold onto.
Sullivan returned the interception 35 yards to the Moravian 25-yard line. Three plays later, Martz tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Craig Helfer on a third-and-eight play. On Craig's extra-point attempt, Moravian junior defensive back David Wackercame untouched from the right side and blocked the kick to keep the Greyhounds ahead, 7-6, with 12:40 left in the second quarter.
In the next three possessions, Moravian punted twice while Dickinson punted once. The Red Devils had the ball at their own 42-yard line when Greyhound junior defensive lineman Seth Payne forced Dickinson senior running back Tim Smith to fumble and Greyhound senior defensive back Thomas Dailey covered the ball at the Moravian 47-yard line.
The Greyhounds put together a nine-play, 27-yard drive to move the ball to the Dickinson 26-yard line. Heck came on to attempt a 43-yard field goal with 1:19 to play in the second quarter. However, Red Devil junior defensive lineman Andrew Downs blocked the kick and junior defensive back Andrew Fink returned the block to the Moravian 40-yard line.
The Red Devils moved into the red zone before their drive stalled at the Greyhound eight-yard line. Craig would make the 25-yard field goal attempt to give Dickinson a 9-7 lead with 20 seconds left in the first half.
Moravian received the opening kickoff of the second half and picked up a first down before brining sophomore Tyler Thompson on to punt. Thomas faked a punt and ran 11 yards for a first down on a fourth-and-six play. The Greyhounds were unable to capitalize on the play and Thomas would punt from the Dickinson 47-yard line.
The Red Devils ran just three plays on their opening possession of the second half before Craig punted. Moravian lost yardage on its drive and Thompson punted from the Moravian 47-yard line. Dickinson junior running back Mike Shimkin grabbed Thompson's bouncing punt at the Dickinson 25-yard line and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. Craig made the extra-point to extend the Red Devils lead to 16-7 with 7:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Moravian would answer with a scoring drive of its own as the Red Devils ran 26 of the 30 plays in the third quarter. The Greyhounds started from their own 15-yard line and put together a 13-play, 85-yard drive behind Johnson, who capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Heck's extra-point pulled Moravian within 16-14 with 1:03 to play in the third quarter.
On Dickinson's next drive, the Red Devils were close to scoring with a second-and-goal at the Moravian five-yard line, but a penalty on Dickinson moved the ball back to the 20-yard line and after a tackle for loss by Burley, Craig came on to attempt a 46-yard field goal but the kick was wide right.
Johnson hit senior wide receiver Shawn Sylvainus with a 34-yard pass on the second play of the drive to move the Greyhounds into a field goal range. Heck kicked a 39-yard field goal on fourth-an-nine to put Moravian ahead 17-16 with 8:30 to go.
Dickinson would start from its own six-yard line after Shimkin tried to run Heck's kickoff out of the end zone. After one first down, Craig punted the ball to the Moravian 45-yard line.
The Greyhounds then put together an eight-play, 55-yard drive to extend their lead. Facing a third-and-19 at the Dickson 33-yard line, Johnson found Sylvainus with a 28-yard completion to the five-yard line. On the play, Sylvainus, who caught six passes for 142 yards in the game, moved into seventh in school history in receiving yardage. He now has 95 career receptions for 1,453 yards. Two plays later, sophomore running back Joe Tegan ran for a three-yard touchdown run behind a block from junior linebacker Evan Bauer . Heck's extra-point pushed Moravian's lead t 24-16 with 2:48 to play.
Dickinson started from its own 35-yard line and moved into the red zone in four plays. However, Martz threw three incomplete passes in four plays to turn the ball over to Moravian on downs.
The Greyhounds only picked up two yards before punting back to the Red Devils. Dickinson started at the Moravian 35-yard line with 28 seconds to play. On first down, Martz was sacked by Moravian senior defensive lineman Allen Petros sacked Martz and forced a fumble that Dickinson recovered. The sack was the first of the season for the Greyhounds in five games. Martz's final pass of the game was knocked down by Moravian freshman defensive back Zach Szoke as time expired.
Moravian held the ball for nearly 40 minutes in the game on offense, gaining a season high 320 yards on 74 plays. Tegan ran for 42 yards and a score on 16 carries wile sophomore running back Rocco Del Priore had 35 yards on 18 attempts. Hersch caught four passes for 32 yards.
Dickinson was limited to 251 yards on 59 plays with Martz completing 21 of 36 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Martz added 30 yards on five rushing attempts with Smith had 34 yards on nine carries. Smith also caught nine passes for 71 yards while Helfer had six catches for 69 yards and a score.
Sophomore linebacker Jake Hildebrand led the Moravian defense with 11 tackles including one for loss and a pass break-up. Payne added eight tackles with three and a half for loss and the forced fumble while junior linebacker Ryan Hartzell had eight tackles with one and a half for loss and a pass break-up. Senior defensive lineman Michael McClarin and senior linebacker Philip Bortz each had six tackles while Bauer added five tackles with a half tackle for loss and a pass break-up. Burley had four tackles with one for loss, and interception and two passes defended while Szoke made four stops with a pass break-up. Dailey had four tackles and a fumble recovery starting in Johnson's strong safety position.
Senior linebacker Kevin Wood led the Dickinson defense with 12 tackles including four for loss while senior linebacker Pete Hamill had 11 stops with two and a half for loss. Sullivan recorded ten tackles with one and a half for loss to go with his interception and three passes defended while senior linebacker Jack Connolly had nine tackles with one for loss.