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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 24th meeting between McDaniel (1-0, 0-0 CC) and Moravian (0-1, 0-0 CC) in a series that dates back to 1972. The Greyhounds hold a 15-8 advantage in the all-time series, including three wins in the first three meetings since the renewal of conference foes in 2007. The Green Terror snapped another three-game winning streak by Moravian with a 35-14 win in the last trip to Bethlehem but Moravian returned the favor in Westminster last season.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Moravian scored a first-quarter defensive touchdown and added a nine-yard running score in the third quarter for 14-9 victory last week. In a wet, defensive battle, neither offense could muster more than 200 yards of total offense. Joey Cornwell punted the ball a career-high 11 times, averaging 39.9 yards per boot that included a career-long 59 yarder. Jarius Ransom (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) led the defense with 12 tackles, including three for loss. Doug Erney rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries and threw for another 70, completing 5 of 15 attempts.
LAST TIME OUT: McDaniel scored 24 straight points over a 28-minute span of game time for a 24-14 victory over Misericordia in the season opener last Saturday. Eisley Kim (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) had a 10-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter to go with a pair of tackles on special teams to lead the Green Terror. Aaron Pray III (Germantown, Md./Maret School) had three punt returns for 76 yards, setting up each of the first two touchdowns with big returns. Jarius Ransom led a balanced defense with 11 tackles, including a pair of sacks. Brady Williams went 19-for-32 for the Cougars, throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Williams made nine catches for 97 yards.
WITH HONORS: Aaron Pray III earned Centennial Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors after his play last week. He had three punt returns for 76 yards. His returns of 23 and 47 set up McDaniel's first two touchdowns. His 25.3 yards-per-return was best in the conference in Week One.
LEADING THE WAY: Tracey Easton (Waldorf, Md./North Point), Nah'shon Godfrey (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College), Jake Scott (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.), Kofi Siga (Upper Marlboro, Md./Largo) and Perry Stefanelli (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) will all captain the squad in 2019. All five are first-time captains. It marks the most captains since the Green Terror also had five in 2013.
OPENING STATEMENTS: McDaniel has won four of its last nine CC openers, snapping a four-year skid. The Green Terror defeated Moravian 35-14 in 2017 to snap a three-game losing streak in CC lidlifters but dropped a 14-9 decision to the Greyhounds in 2018. After a one-year hiatus, the Green Terror returned to opening the conference slate against Moravian in 2011. The Greyhounds won each of the first three CC meetings when the two teams met in the first conference game of the season. The Green and Gold are 16-20 in conference lidlifters since the inception of the CFC. The Green Terror dropped its first eight openers after the creation of the CFC in 1983 – all to Gettysburg. For the first 20 years, McDaniel and Gettysburg squared off with the Bullets holding a slight 11-9 advantage. Ursinus was the first opponent on the Green Terror's CC schedule for the next four years. McDaniel won the first three of those meetings.
LIVIN' ON A PRAY-ER: Aaron Pray turned in the best punt-return performance in the CC in opening weekend. His average of 25.3 yards per return was only bettered by six other Division III return men last week. Only WPI's Austin Pesce had a better average on as many or more return attempts. Pesce had four returns for 111 yards (27.8) while Pray had three returns for 76 yards.
PICKIN' IT: Aris Mayfield (Calverton, Md./Parkdale) and Nah'shon Godfrey put exclamation points on each half for the Green Terror last week. After the offense tied the game late in the second quarter, Misericordia was driving for a potential go-ahead score at the break but Mayfield had his three career pick to keep it a tie game at the intermission. With the Cougars trailing by 10 and driving in the final minute of the game, Godfrey made his second career interception in the back of the end zone to seal the victory.
TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE: McDaniel got production from its top two quarterbacks on Saturday. Tyler Palermiti (Hudson, Fla./Dunedin) got the start and completed 12 of 21 pass attempts for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran six times for 14 yards. Kevin Sheckells (Pasadena, Md./St. Mary's) came off the bench at various points in the game and averaged a team-best 6.7 yards per carry. He ran the ball seven times for 47 yards and also went 2-for-2 through the air, including the Green Terror's first touchdown pass of the game.
RUNNING DOWN A DREAM: McDaniel had four different ball carriers in the opener and all rushed for positive yardage. Perry Stefanelli led the ground game with 58 yards on 13 carries. Daqwan Hill (Germantown, Md./The Avalon School) touted the ball 10 times for 46 yards. Quarterbacks Kevin Sheckells and Tyler Palermiti both showed off their running ability. Sheckells had seven carries for 47 yards while Palermiti carried the ball six times for 14 yards.
YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST: All three Green Terror players who caught touchdowns in the opener found the end zone for the first time in their collegiate careers. Owen Reese (Forest Hill, Md./Calvert Hall) caught a flip pass for his first college reception in the second quarter. Eisley Kim snagged a ball over the middle on his first collegiate touch. Cameron Garcia (Elkton, Md./Bohemia Manor) snagged a quick slant and scampered 26 yards to find the end zone for the first time.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Demarcus White made his head coaching debut on Saturday and picked up a victory in his first outing as the top man. White becomes the first Green Terror head coach in four tries to win his opener. The last head coach to debut with a win was Tim Keating, who opened the 1993 season with a 16-14 home win over Juniata. Keating is McDaniel's all-time wins leader with 110 and will be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 4.
TERROR TIDBITS: McDaniel has 70 freshmen on the opening-day roster – part of the record 141-man roster. Only one of those rookies, however, saw action in the opener… The Green Terror snapped an eight-game home losing streak with Saturday's victory over Misericordia… McDaniel was outgained 389-299 last Saturday. It was the first time the Green Terror won a game while being outgained since the 2014 opener when Catholic held a 530-403 advantage in yards. McDaniel took the Sept. 5 game on a Friday night in DC, 34-31.
COACHES' CORNER: Demarcus White made his head coaching debut last Saturday with a 24-14 victory over Misericordia. He has served the last three seasons on staff as defensive coordinator. Since arriving in 2016, his scheme has consistently put pressure on opposing offenses. In each of the previous three seasons, his defenses finished in the top six in the conference in total defense, pass defense and sacks. The unit produced 74 sacks and 20 interceptions in the last three seasons. He has helped produce five all-conference defenders in those three seasons, including a first-team selection in linebacker Jarius Ransom last season. He previously had stops at Iona, ASA College and Rutgers prior to his time on the Hill… Jeff Pukszyn is in his ninth season as the head coach at Moravian after serving 10 years as assistant head coach. He enters today's game with a record of 31-51. After three 2-8 campaigns in his first three seasons, the Greyhounds posted a 5-5 mark in 2014. In 2015, the squad finished 8-3 with a trip to the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series. He joined the staff as a part-time coach in 1997 after a three-year playing career under former head coach and recently retired Director of Athletics Scot Dapp that saw him named to the All-Middle Atlantic Conference first team in 1994 and 1996. The two-time captain joined the staff full time in 1999 as defensive coordinator, a position he retains as the head man.
THE WORD ON MORAVIAN: The Greyhounds enter the conference opener off a 23-20 loss at King's on Saturday night. The Monarchs scored twice in a 26-second span early in the fourth quarter to take a 23-14 lead. Justin Timonte made a 20-yard field goal to break a 14-all tie then an interception on Moravian's first play of the ensuing drive set up King's near midfield. A Jordan Downes 53-yard run on the first Monarch play and missed PAT made it a 23-14 game with 13:01 to play… Christopher Mills was 17-for-34 through the air for 194 yards and two touchdowns but had the one interception. Mills also ran five times for 10 yards… Roberto Diez carried the ball 15 times for 87 yards and a score… Eddie Olson was Mills' favorite target on the night with five catches for 82 yards and a 33-yard touchdown… Nick Petros also had five grabs for 42 yards… Renard Nicholson and Noah Breidinger led the defense with 13 and 11 tackles, respectively. Nicholson also had a sack and pass breakup… Tanner Barr chipped in nine stops… King's outgained Moravian 427-298 in the game, including 267 through the air… The Greyhounds were chosen seventh in the CC preseason poll with 66 points, one place and 21 points ahead of McDaniel.