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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Misericordia Rallies To Top Wilkes

September 23, 2018
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Misericordia Rallies To Top Wilkes

EDWARDSVILLE — A little extra contact wasn’t going to faze Brady Williams, a quarterback who’s used to running.

Down four points in the fourth quarter and right outside the red zone, Misericordia’s junior QB ran an option keeper for a third-down conversion. He was stood up by a pair of defenders until the play was whistled dead — and, a moment later, a Wilkes player knocked Williams to the turf.

Williams simply walked back to the huddle — which moved even closer to the end zone after the late hit was penalized — and called his own number on a similar read option. It went for a 6-yard, go-ahead touchdown, marking the last time Williams played from behind Saturday afternoon.

Williams scored his seventh touchdown of the day shortly after on another keeper, then completed receiver Sam Gillison’s record day with a 77-yard dagger as Misericordia made program history in a 47-45 shootout at Wilkes’ Schmidt Stadium.

Misericordia (2-1, 2-0 MAC) has now won multiple games in a season for the first time ever — and it’s done so in consecutive weeks, by a combined 3-point margin of victory. The team’s 47 points scored rank second in its seven-year history.

“There’s a different feel about them, a togetherness about them than we’ve had in the past, for sure,” Cougars coach Mark Ross said. “To be able to find a way to a way to win this game, you start to believe. And you just can’t get people to believe.”

Williams added, “No matter if they score, no matter if we give up a turnover, I know they’re going to have my back.”

The Cougars beat Wilkes early last season, too, but couldn’t come up with win No. 2. They pulled off the feat this time after a huge performance from Williams and the rest of the Cougars’ offense.

“It didn’t happen (last season), and whether we want to admit it or not, probably starts to put pressure on people,” Ross said. “Now it’s out of the way. Now you can just go play ... and see what it leads us to.”

Williams passed 15 for 20 for 339 yards and four touchdowns, and he added three touchdowns and 78 yards on 20 carries.

His top target, Sam Gillison, caught eight passes for a school-record 223 yards and three touchdowns, which also tied Juwan Petties-Jackson (2015) and Josh Dieter (2017) for the Cougars’ all-time high in a single game. Isaiah Williams added four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Brady Williams put the Cougars ahead for good with his 6-yard run, 34-31, then ran for a 40-31 lead after Nick Yeager intercepted a pass on Wilkes’ next play.

The Colonels didn’t fold and got within 40-38.

But on a late third down, Brady Williams found Gillison open deep on a play-action pass for a 77-yard score and a 47-38 lead. When Wilkes QB Jose Tabora led another quick scoring drive, Williams’ 16-yard rush helped run out the clock.

“Brady’s just a different athlete. I think he’s the most talented quarterback in the league, but I’m a little biased,” Ross said.

The Cougars enter Week 5 in a four-way tie for first place in the Middle Atlantic Conference. They return home for a final non-conference game next week against Castleton before hosting first-year MAC program Alvernia on Oct. 6.

“It just feels really good to finally get that second win,” Brady Williams said. “Now that we got it so early, we’re ready to build on that.”

Wilkes’ Tabora had a memorable game of his own, completing 28 of 39 passes for 410 yards — just 43 yards off his own school record. He distributed three TD passes to different receivers, all of whom topped the century mark: Derek Nelson (9 receptions, 127 yards), Jeff Steeber (9 receptions, 116 yards) and Nick Yanik (7 receptions, 146 yards).

Additionally, freshman running back Jason Wiley gave the Colonels 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.

Contact the writer: eshultz@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2054; @CVEricShultz on Twitter

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