Cougars Rally For 4th Straight Win
DALLAS — Misericordia football’s sideline — stunned for much of the game — was suddenly brimming with confidence as most of its players waved at the opposing sideline.
The Cougars were in danger of suffering an upset on homecoming weekend until they caught fire for three touchdowns in three drives and took the lead. The rally was capped by a 2-point conversion, a blatant late hit by an Alvernia defender and his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and subsequent ejection.
Players and fans waved him goodbye as Misericordia finally seized control of the game for the first time since its opening drive went for a touchdown. One more defensive stop and another long scoring drive let the Cougars exhale, as they avoided a shocker with a 45-33 victory over Alvernia on Saturday at Mangelsdorf Field.
A 29-6 run — including touchdowns on its last four completed drives — extended Misericordia’s first-ever winning streak to four games. The Cougars took the lead for good on quarterback Brady Williams’ 1-yard keeper, then made it a two-possession game late when Clayton Vleck’s efficient running lead to David Cromwell’s 1-yard TD carry.
“It’s been fun. We’re just trying to enjoy it, one week at a time,” Cougars coach Mark Ross said.
Misericordia (4-1, 3-0 MAC) remains undefeated in conference play, tied for first place with Delaware Valley.
“Listen, are we the best team in the league, or in the state? I don’t know, but we don’t need to be,” Ross continued. “We just need to be the best team on the field this particular day, and the scoreboard says we were.”
Alvernia is the first-year program, but it was Misericordia that couldn’t get out of its own way much of the afternoon.
In the first half, one muffed punt gave extra life to an Alvernia touchdown drive, and another punt bounced off a Misericordia player for a turnover. Between those mistakes, the Cougars also fumbled inside the red zone.
The Cougars nearly had special teams luck go their way when Alvernia dropped a punt, but the ball slipped away from a Cougar and was covered by Alvernia at its own 13-yard line.
Misericordia’s errors continued to mount in the third quarter, including a red-zone interception and a roughing penalty on another would-be punt.
All the while, Golden Wolves freshman running back Malcolm Carey gashed the Cougars defense. He more than doubled his season touchdown total and nearly did the same in yardage, rushing 31 times for 230 yards and five touchdowns.
“It looked to me like we got stuck on some blocks that you need to strike and shed,” Ross said. “But they did a good job. It’s a lot of credit to them for how hard they played.”
Finally, breaks began to favor the Cougars late in the third quarter — and they came fast.
Sam Gillison’s deep post became a 75-yard reception after a broken tackle, and Clayton Vleck’s goal-line carry helped get Misericordia within 27-24.
Alvernia answered with a touchdown drive but missed the extra point. Down 33-24, Williams returned to the field to complete a 32-yard pass, run for 27 yards and then score a 1-yard keeper.
Misericordia’s defense backed Alvernia into a fourth-and-19 next, and a high snap on the punt resulted in a loss of 36. Williams led another touchdown drive, calling his own number for the go-ahead score and two-point conversion as Alvernia lost its cool after the whistle.
Nick Yeager’s interception iced the game, and the Cougars’ victory bell continued to get more work than it’s used to. The same program that went 5-55 in its first six seasons has won four times midway through its seventh.
“Bottom line is, in the face of adversity, again, they showed resilience,” Ross said. “And they found ways to make plays when they needed to be made. I think it’s a real credit to these guys.”
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Alvernia 13 7 13 0 — 33
Misericordia 13 3 15 14 — 45
M – David Cromwell 5 run (Matt Dinnocenti kick failed), 10:32. A – Malcolm Carey 8 run (Ben Strausser kick), 9:34. M – Clayton Vleck 1 run (Dinnocenti kick), 7:09. A – Carey 3 run (Strausser kick failed), 3:51.
M – Dinnocenti 29 field goal, 4:10. A – Carey 2 run (Strausser kick), 0:50.
A – Carey 63 run (Strausser kick), 14:46. M – Vleck 1 run (Isaiah Williams pass from Brady Williams), 4:56. A – Carey 1 run (Strausser kick failed), 2:34. M – B. Williams 1 run (Donovan Berger kick), 1:26.
M – B. Williams 1 run (B. Williams run). M – Cromwell 1 run (B. Williams run failed).
A M First Downs 21 24 Rushes-Yards 50-222 47-346 Comp-Att-Int 10-21-1 11-19-1 Passing 176 184 Total Yards 398 530 Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-2 Penalties-Yards 9-84 8-58
Rushing: Alvernia — Malcolm Carey 31-230, 5; Keiron Black 11-15; Neeko Scurlock 1-6; Daniel Scott 4-5; Ja’queces Mathis 1-3; Dalen Berry 1-(-1); Team 1-(-36). Misericordia: Brady Williams 17-148, 2; David Cromwell 12-102, 2; Clayton Vleck 11-78, 2; Jamal Dallas 4-27; Team 3-(-9).
Passing: Alvernia — Keiron Black 10-21-1, 176. Misericordia — Brady Williams 11-19-1, 184.
Receiving: Alvernia — Neeko Scurlock 4-65; Jordan Day 2-60; Daniel Scott 1-29; Owen Morton 1-12; Jamal Anderson 2-10. Misericordia — Sam Gillison 4-91; Isaiah Williams 5-55; Klayton Kelly 2-38.
Interceptions: Alvernia — Tajon Whiten. Misericordia — Nick Yeager.