GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Sophomore Nolan Skirtich (Mars, Pa./Mars) and junior Kamau Bridges (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Saint Joseph) each picked off passes in the fourth quarter to dash McDaniel’s hopes of a comeback and lift Gettysburg to a 38-23 victory on Homecoming at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium.
Gettysburg (2-3, 2-2 CC) evened its record in Centennial Conference play despite wet and rainy conditions on Saturday. The Bullets picked up 277 yards on the ground, including a career-high 117 yards from senior quarterback Danny Thompson (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills). Sophomore Justin Walsh (Northfield, N.J./Mainland Regional) added 99 yards and two touchdowns, while junior quarterback Justin Davidov (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining) picked up a pair of rushing scores.
Sophomore Jake Skinner (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) piled up 14 tackles, while classmate Jake Fioretti (Point Pleasant Beach, N.J./Point Pleasant Beach) totaled a career-high 10 stops. Freshman Ryan Greene (Easton, Pa./Easton) pasted two big hits on the quarterback, the first forcing a fumble and the latter driving the Green Terror back on its final drive into Gettysburg territory.
Gettysburg started the game with a pair of scores before the McDaniel offense even touched the ball. The hosts wrapped up a 13-play, 71-yard opening drive with a one-yard plunge by Walsh into the end zone for the first score.
On the ensuing kick-off, freshman Justin Geisel (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Country Day School) blasted a low kick at the front line of the return team and it ricocheted off a McDaniel player right back to the Bullets. Gettysburg made the most of the possession as a 23-yard rush by Thompson set up another short score for Walsh to make it 14-0.
At the end of the first quarter, Walsh dashed 54 yards before getting pulled down at the seven yard-line of McDaniel. Davidov completed the drive with a run to the end zone to lift the Bullets in front 21-0.
After stalling out twice in Gettysburg territory, McDaniel’s offense scored its first touchdown on a pass from Will Koester to Tyler DeMent. A bad snap forced a toss into the end zone for the extra point which was picked off by Skinner.
Geisel booted a 23-yard field goal to give Gettysburg a 24-6 lead at halftime.
McDaniel controlled the third quarter, putting up a pair of touchdowns and outgaining the Bullets 109-27 in total yards. Koester found Andre Henry for a 31-yard touchdown to open the third quarter and tossed another scoring strike to Bamasa Bailor to cut Gettysburg’s lead to 24-20 with five minutes left in the quarter.
The hosts gained some breathing room to open the final period of play. The Bullets converted twice on third down, including a 28-yard scamper by Thompson into Green Terror territory. The senior quarterback capped the drive with a 10-yard toss to sophomore Chase Fee (Spotswood, N.J./Spotswood) to push Gettysburg ahead 31-20.
A 29-yard field goal by Spencer Wiersberg pulled McDaniel to within eight with just under seven minutes remaining. On its next drive, Gettysburg reached opponent territory only to have the ball knocked away and recovered by the Green Terror. McDaniel’s ensuing possession was short-lived as Skirtich stepped in front of a pass at midfield and ran it back 16 yards. Sophomore Charles Clewis (Purcellville, Va./Woodgrove) racked up 34 of his career-high 54 rushing yards on the next drive and Davidov capped the scoring with a one-yard run to pay-dirt with 2:46 left.
Greene and Bridges helped put the final touches on the victory. After the Green Terror reached Gettysburg territory, the freshman lineman raced in to sack Koester for a loss of seven yards. Koester threw a bullet to one of his wide receivers on the next play, but Bridges reached in and plucked the ball away with 1:15 to go. Gettysburg took a knee on the final two plays to end the contest.
Gettysburg out-gained McDaniel 421-384. The Bullets carried the ball a season-high 53 times and converted a season-high 10 third-down plays.
Thompson finished 9-of-19 for 95 yards and a touchdown, while Davidov was 4-of-7 for 49 yards. Senior Jordan Kelso (Cookstown, N.J./Bordentown Regional) reeled in six catches for 71 yards and is now just 16 receiving yards shy of 1,000 for his career. Sophomore Matt McFadden (Morristown, N.J./Morristown Beard) put up 126 all-purpose yards, including 103 on four kick-offs.
Bridges finished with eight tackles and a pass break-up, while Skirtich posted four stops and a pair of break-ups. Senior Michael Pennella (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) recorded six tackles and a quarterback hurry.
Koester finished 28-of-51 for 256 yards and three touchdowns for McDaniel. John Chamberlin gained 77 yards rushing, while Perry Stefanelli picked up 53 yards on the ground. Henry and Bailor finished with 86 and 85 receiving yards, respectively. Raymond Doh picked up a pair of sacks and three tackles for a loss for the Green Terror.
Gettysburg will enjoy a conference-wide bye week before heading to Muhlenberg College on Oct. 15.