BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College football team concludes the first half of the 2017 season with a road trip to Gettysburg College on Saturday, September 30 for a Centennial Conference game. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium.
THE COACHES: Jeff Pukszyn (Moravian '97) is in his seventh season as Moravian's head coach after ten years as an assistant coach with the program. Pukszyn joined the Moravian staff as a part-time coach in 1997 after a three-year playing career that saw him named to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference First Team in 1994 and 1996. He was also a two-time captain. Pukszyn became part of the coaching staff full-time in 1999 as defensive coordinator and added the titles of assistant head coach in 2001 and special teams coordinator in 2007. In 2015, Pukszyn led the Greyhounds to an 8-3 record and a berth in the inaugural Centennial-MAC Bowl Series while being named both the Centennial Conference and American Football Coaches Association Division III Region 2 Coach of the Year. He has been a part of 240 games for Moravian since 1994 with a 117-122-1 record.
Gettysburg coach Barry Streeter (Lebanon Valley '71) has a record of 193-190-5 (.504) in his 39th year at the school, and Streeter is the longest tenured NCAA Division III coach in the nation.
THE SERIES: Saturday's meeting will be the 16th in the series with Gettysburg owning an 11-4 advantage. The Bullets snapped a three-game Moravian winning streak at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium last year with a 52-21 win. Moravian earned a 35-32 victory in Bethlehem in 2015, and the Greyhounds snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Bullets with a 41-21 victory at Rocco Calvo Field in 2013. The Hounds won again in 2014 with a 34-14 triumph in Gettysburg.
GREYHOUNDS IN THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE: Moravian joined the Centennial Conference as an associate member in the sport of football in 2007. The Greyhounds were selected fifth in the 2016 Centennial Conference preseason coaches and sports information directors poll while Gettysburg was selected sixth.
BALANCED & EXPERIENCED 'HOUNDS: Of the 78 players on the Moravian roster, 31 are freshmen, 18 are sophomores and 13 are juniors. There are 16 seniors on this season's squad, and the Greyhounds return 47 letterwinners and 14 starters.
THE QUARTERBACKS: Freshman Doug Erney earned the starting role after a lengthy quarterback battle during the preseason. He has completed 59-of-100 passes for 610 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Erney also has 250 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 49 attempts while being sacked 13 times. Senior Kordell Theadford is the backup this season and saw action last Saturday for one series against Ursinus College. Last fall, Theadford completed 23-of-48 passes for 296 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and he added 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 34 carries on the ground.
IN THE BACKFIELD: Junior Eli Redmond leads the squad with 70 carries for 272 yards and a touchdown after posting the fourth 100-yard game of his career when the Hounds hosted Ursinus College, and he has 1,428 career yards and 10 touchdowns on just 269 carries. Freshman Tavion George has 58 yards on nine carries while junior tailback Frank Dangello has added four attempts for 18 yards. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has two carries for 19 yards and senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson has three attempts for three yards. Senior fullback Jorden Stout, who has switched from defensive line to the backfield, has five carries for 15 yards.
THE WIDE RECEIVERS & TIGHT ENDS: The Greyhounds have had 11 different players catch a pass with the group led by senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson, who has 15 receptions for 198 yards after becoming the tenth player in school history to reach 100 career receptions in last Saturday's game versus Ursinus College. Junior running back Eli Redmond has 12 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown this season while freshman wide receiver Ricky Tate also has 12 catches for 105 yards. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has caught five passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns while senior tight end Aaron Brown has caught four aerials for 54 yards and a score. Sophomore Alex Pierce has four receptions for 34 yards while senior wide receiver Kyle Ferryman has two receptions for nine yards. Senior fullback Jorden Stout has caught two passes for 14 yards while freshman running back Tavion George has one reception for three yards. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Justice Anderson has one catch for 10 yards while seeing action on both sides of the field, and junior running back Frank Dangello has one reception.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Moravian has three returners on the offensive line with senior left guard Mark Dignazio and sophomores right tackle Jason Barish and center Brett Poling back on the line. Sophomore left tackle Zack Cregar made his first career start at King's College while freshman PJ Weierbach earned the starting spot at right guard to give the Greyhounds' front five an average size of 6-1, 263. Sophomore Matt Shields came in during the first half of the King's College game at left guard when Dignazio was injured, and Shields also started against McDaniel College and Johns Hopkins University with Dignazio sidelined. Sophomore Tyler Maxsim made his first start of the season against Ursinus College after missing the first three games with an injury.
DEFENSIVE FRONT: Junior Nick Tone leads the defensive line with 21 tackles including two and a half tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Junior Vincent Pianoforte has made 12 tackles with two and a half for loss this season. Senior Fouad Haddad has contributed 11 tackles including a half a tackle for loss while senior Vinny Caporrino has made 10 tackles with two stops for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass break-up. Freshman Shane Mastro has contributed seven stops with one tackle for loss and a pass break-up while senior Connor Rooney has added six tackles, a half a tackle for loss and a pass break-up. Sophomore Christian Coia has four tackles with two for loss. Senior Jorden Stout contributed two tackles before switching to the offensive side of the ball.
THE LINEBACKER CORPS: Juniors Steve Ewald and Dallas Owen have both made 32 tackles to lead the linebackers with Ewald adding two and a half tackles for loss and Owen making three and a half tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Sophomore Joseph Milano returned after missing the season opener and has 19 tackles. Freshman Brady Hornbaker has made 16 stops with one tackle for loss in his first collegiate season while freshman Tanner Barr has made nine tackles in his debut season. Senior Owen Perih has three tackles this season.
THE DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Freshman safety Jackson Buskirk leads the defensive backs and the entire Moravian defense with 39 tackles to go along with a tackle for loss and two pass break-ups. Junior safety Nick Zambelli has contributed 32 stops, an interception and four passes defended while senior cornerback/wide receiver Justice Anderson has 21 tackles and two pass break-ups in his first year on defense after three seasons as a wide receiver. Sophomore cornerback Tim Valentine has 17 tackles and a pair of pass breaks up after being a linebacker last season. Junior cornerback Jacob Kober has made eight stops this fall while freshman cornerback Jalen Richardson has contributed seven tackles. Sophomore safety Andrew Nieves has five stops including one and a half for loss while senior safety Tanner Mish has made two tackles with a half a tackle for loss. Freshman cornerback Justin McRae has one tackle and a pass break-up this season.
KICKING GAME: Juniors Jon Miller and Kenny Kane are handling the place kicking duties for the Greyhounds this season. Miller is 6-for-6 on extra-points and 1-for-2 on field goal attempts with a long of 22 yards, and he has kicked off 14 times for an average of 53.6 yards with one touchback. Kane is 2-for-2 on field goal attempts with a long of 23 yards, and he has had his only extra point attempt blocked in 2017. Freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has punted 14 times for an average of 35.5 yards with a long of 55 yards, five fair caught and four inside the 20-yard line, and he also has a fake punt that he ran 18 yards for a first down. Senior tight end Aaron Brown has punted eight times for an average of 31.2 yards with a long of 52 yards, three inside the 20-yard line and one touchback.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior defensive back/wide receiver Justice Anderson has returned 11 kickoffs for 259 yards while senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson has five kickoff returns for 87 yards. Junior linebacker Dallas Owen has two returns for 25 yards while freshman wide receiver Nick Petros has added two kickoff returns for 37 yards. Junior running back Eli Redmond returned on kickoff for 20 yards while junior linebacker Steve Ewald has one return for 15 yards. Freshman defensive back Jalen Richardson has one return for 12 yards while senior defensive lineman Jorden Stout has one return for 13 yards. Freshman tight end Austin Heisler has made seven tackles on special teams while sophomore full back Sal Pagano, senior fullback Stanton Santos and freshman wide receiver Ricky Tate all have one tackle on special teams this fall with Santos recovering a fumble.
MILESTONE WATCH: The Greyhounds have five players closing in on milestones in their careers. Senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson is tied for ninth in career receptions with 101, and he is already 17th in receiving yards at 1,220 and needs 223 yards to crack the top 10 all-time. Hudson is fifth in career kickoff returns with 41, and he is ninth with 655 kickoff return yards. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Justice Anderson has 909 receiving yards on 68 receptions and needs 91 yards to become the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 career receiving yards. Junior running back Eli Redmond sits in 13th place in school history with 1,428 rushing yards, and he needs 676 yards to reach the top 10. Redmond is also tied for seventh all-time with 36 kickoff returns and seventh with 852 kickoff return yards. Senior tight end/punter Aaron Brown needs 1,253 yards to reach the top ten in career punting yardage. Junior kicker Kenny Kane is tied for ninth in school history with nine career field goals, and he needs four extra-points and one total point to reach the top ten in those categories.
THE CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The Greyhounds are tenth in the Centennial Conference in total offense at 310.8 yards per game, and the squad is sixth in rushing offense with an average of 158.2 yards per contest and tenth in passing offense at 152.5 yards per outing. The Hounds are ninth in the conference in scoring offense at 16.2 points per game, and Moravian is ninth in points allowed at 34.2. Moravian's defense ranks ninth in the Centennial Conference at 465.8 yards allowed per game, and the squad is tied for sixth in rushing defense at 188.2 yards per contest and tenth in passing defense at 277.5 yards allowed. The Greyhounds are tied for sixth in turnover margin at -0.25 per game with six turnovers committed and five turnovers gained through four games. Freshman quarterback Doug Erney is tenth in the conference in rushing yards at 62.5 per game, and he is eighth in passing yards per contest at 152.5, eighth in total offense at 215.0 yards per game and ninth in pass efficiency with a 117.4 rating. Junior running back Eli Redmond is ninth in all-purpose yardage with an average of 97.2 yards per game while freshman wide receiver Ricky Tate is tied for 11th in receptions per game at 4.00 and senior wide receiver Aaron Hudson is 14th in receiving yards at 49.5 per contest. Senior defensive back/wide receiver Justice Anderson is fifth in the conference with an average of 23.5 yards per kickoff return while freshman wide receiver/punter Nick Petros is third in the conference in punting at 35.5 yards per punt. Senior tight end/punter Aaron Brown is ninth in the Centennial Conference in punting at 31.2 yards per punt while junior kicker Jon Miller is tied for first in PAT percentage at 1.000 (6-for-6) and tied for tenth in kick scoring at 2.2 points per game. Freshman defensive back Jackson Buskirk is second the conference in tackles per game at 9.8 and fifth in punt return average at 3.7 yards per return. Junior linebacker Steve Ewald, junior linebacker Dallas Owen and junior defensive back Nick Zambelli are tied for ninth in the Centennial Conference at 8.0 tackles per game with Zambelli tied for sixth in passes defended with 1.00 per contest. Sophomore linebacker Joseph Milano is 20th in the conference at 6.3 tackles per contest while junior defensive lineman Nick Tone and Anderson are both tied for 37th in tackles at 5.2 per game.
OVERTIME 'HOUNDS: Moravian has played a total of 10 overtime games since the NCAA instituted the rule for the 1996 season and is 7-3 all-time in the extra-session. Five of those ten overtime games have been against Juniata College with the Greyhounds going 4-1 in those games. Moravian's contest in Huntingdon in 2008 marked the first time in the Greyhounds' have needed more than one overtime session in a game. The 2008 season also marked the third year that Moravian has played at least two overtimes games in one season, the other years were 1999 when the Greyhounds played three overtime games and 1997 when Moravian played two overtime contests.
SCOUTING GETTYSBURG COLLEGE: The Bullets enter the game at 0-4 overall and 0-3 in Centennial Conference action after a 27-20 overtime loss to McDaniel College last Saturday. Senior quarterback Justin Davidov leads the Gettysburg offense and has completed 62-of-129 passes for 769 yards to go with three touchdowns and five interceptions while sophomore quarterback Kevin Martinez has completed 5-of-11 passes for 61 yards and one score. Freshman wide receiver Cole Menas has caught a team-high 11 passes for 97 yards while sophomore wing back Kevin Benavente has nine receptions for 126 yards. Junior wing back Chase Fee has caught eight passes for 101 yards while junior wide receiver Johnny Davis and senior wide receiver Ty Abdul-Karim each have seven catches with one touchdown and senior wing back Ryan Thompson has six receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman tailback Reggie JeanCharles, who also has six catches, leads the Bullets rushing attack with 345 yards and two touchdowns while Davidov has added 207 yards and four scores on 50 attempts. Junior tailback Nick Rella has contributed 77 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries while Benavente has one touchdown on three attempts. Freshman defensive back Thomeir Richardson has returned eight kickoffs for 166 yards while Fee has added six kickoff returns for 149 yards and three punt returns for 25 yards. Sophomore kicker Justin Geisel is 4-for-7 on field goals with a long of 39 yards, and he is 9-of-10 on PATs and averaging 59.6 yards per kickoff with five touchbacks. Sophomore punter Evan Tannenbaum is averaging 33.9 yards per punt with seven inside the 20-yard line and one fair catch. Junior defensive backMike McKnight leads the Gettysburg defense with 38 tackles to go with three tackles for loss while junior linebacker Jake Skinner has 33 tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass break-ups and one forced fumble. Junior linebacker Logan Aikey has contributed 28 tackles with team highs of eight tackles for loss and three and a half sacks while junior defensive back Brad Walker has 25 stops and two pass break-ups. Senior linebacker Glen Benson has made 23 tackles with three for loss, a sack, an interception, two passes defended and a forced fumble while Richardson has added 22 stops, one interception, seven passes defended and a pair of fumble recoveries.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: In Gettysburg last fall, Moravian fell to Gettysburg College, 52-21, in Centennial Conference action as the Greyhounds played their second of three straight road games. Quarterback Kordell Theadford made his first career start, replacing injured starter Mike Hayes, and Theadford completed 19-of-38 passes for 245 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Theadford also led the Moravian running attack with 102 yards, his second straight 100-yard game after playing in relief at Franklin & Marshall College, and a score on 21 carries. Moravian's offense had 474 yards on 95 plays in the game including 229 yards on the ground with all-time leading rusher Chris Negron adding 89 yards on 27 attempts. Running back Roberto Diez contributed 36 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while defensive lineman Jorden Stout had one carry for two yards, and he punted five times for an average of 33.6 yards. Wide receiver Aaron Hudson caught a team-high seven passes for 105 yards while wide receiver Liam Nolan pulled in four receptions for 54 yards. Wide receiver Jalen Snyder-Scipio returned to action after missing four games with an injury, and he caught four passes for 51 yards with one touchdown. Snyder-Scipio is now fourth in school history with 1,714 yards in his career and third with 16 touchdowns. Tight end Aaron Brown had two catches for 19 yards, and he punted three times with one blocked. Linebacker Edward Delia led Moravian's defense with 15 tackles, his sixth straight game in double digits and fourth consecutive contest with more than 15 stops, to raise his season total to 104, and Delia also had a pass break-up. Linebacker Joseph Milano added 11 tackles with a forced fumble while defensive back Noah Miller had nine tackles and recovered a fumble. The Bullets jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first 3:09 of action as they blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown and turned an interception into a quick score. Gettysburg led 21-0 after the first quarter. Moravian had a chance to break onto the scoreboard early in the second quarter but Kenny Kane's 27-yard field goal was wide to the left. It was his first miss of the season in eight attempts. The Greyhounds would get the ball back and Theadford finished off the drive with a 16-yard scoring strike to Snyder-Scipio. Kane split the uprights with the extra-point to cut the Gettysburg lead to 21-7 with 10:42 before the intermission. The Bullets scored twice more to head to the locker room with a 35-7 advantage. Gettysburg opened the scoring in the second half before Diez scored his second touchdown of the season with 7:22 left in the third quarter. The Bullets added another touchdown in the third quarter and a field goal early in the fourth to build a 52-14 lead. Moravian finished off the scoring on a two-yard run by Theadford, his second rushing touchdown of the fall with 10:05 left on the clock. Kane made his third extra-point of the game and his 26th of the season to move into a tie for eighth in school history.