Story and photo courtesy of Gettysburg Athletics
SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Gettysburg rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit with a 28-point fourth quarter and overcame five turnovers to beat Susquehanna University 35-24 in a Centennial Conference football game Saturday afternoon at Lopardo Stadium.
With the win, the Bullets (4-0, 3-0 CC) continued their best start since 1987, when they opened 6-0. Gettysburg is also 3-0 in the Centennial Conference for the first time since the 1994 squad started 5-0 in conference play.
Senior Kody Smith (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) overcame a career-high three interceptions to lead the comeback, passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards and an additional TD. He also moved into a tie for fourth in school history in career touchdown passes (28) while pulling into fifth all-time at Gettysburg in career passing yards (2,725) and eighth in career completions (182).
Senior tailback Ted Delia (Lebanon, N.J./North Hunterdon) and sophomore tailback Eddie Hutchins (Weston, Conn./Weston) combined for 123 yards rushing for the Bullets, who entered the game leading Division III in rushing offense at 381 yards per game. Delia finished with 76 yards while Hutchins notched 65 yards and a touchdown.
Junior receiver Aden Twer (Jenkintown, Pa./Jenkintown) made six catches for 31 yards while freshman wing Kevin McCarthy (Yardley, Pa./Notre Dame) and senior tight end Matt Brophy (Mt. Kisco, N.Y./Horace Greeley) each had a touchdown reception. Senior linebacker Mark Covington (Columbia, Md./Howard) also made a TD grab on a trick play.
Covington also had a big game on the defensive side of the ball, making a season-high seven tackles and tying a career-best with 3.0 tackles for loss, including a sack. Junior linebacker Cody DiAmore (Haddon Heights, N.J./Bishop Eustace) tied a season-high with nine tackles while freshman cornerback Brian Calatozzo (Sewell, N.J./St. Augustine Prep.) and senior linebacker Dave Wald (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) each came off the bench to make an interception.
Freshman Robby Fay (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) was 5-for-5 on extra points and averaged 37.0 yards on four punts. Two landed inside the 20, and the Crusaders managed to return only one punt for a loss of three yards.
Senior linebacker Jack McCarty had a big game for Susquehanna (1-3, 0-3 CC), making three interceptions and recovering a fumble. Sophomore Taylor Kolmer passed for 202 yards and a touchdown for the Crusaders, who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, while senior receiver Mike Ritter made six receptions for 98 yards.
The Bullets trailed 17-7 at halftime and sputtered in the third quarter, with their first two possessions ending on an interception and a fumble. Calatozzo provided a spark, however, making his first collegiate interception late in the quarter with Susquehanna driving deep into Gettysburg territory.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Bullets, starting with the first play of the period. Junior Tommy LeNoir (Bear, Del./Red Lion Christian) broke free on the left side of the field for a career-long 46-yard punt return that set up the Orange and Blue at the Crusader-16. Five plays later, Smith scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 17-14 with 13:19 to go. Smith kept the drive alive with a 10-yard run on third-and-10.
After the defense forced Susquehanna’s seventh punt of the day, another big third-down conversion fueled the Bullets on their go-ahead drive. After the Crusaders declined a holding penalty against Gettysburg that would have resulted in a second-and-18, Smith found senior receiver Kyle Davis (Northfield, N.J./Mainland Regional) deep downfield on a third-and-8 for a 42-yard pickup, setting up Gettysburg at the SU-39. Three plays later, Smith threaded the needle over the middle to McCarthy in the end zone as the Bullets went ahead 21-17 with 9:36 left.
Wald followed up on the next play with his first collegiate interception, stepping in front of a Kolmer pass and returning it 12 yards to the Susquehanna-18. The Bullets lost two yards over the next three plays and Fay came on for his first collegiate field goal attempt, but that’s when Gettysburg reached into its bag of tricks. Smith, also the team’s holder, took the snap and stood up to find Covington wide open in the left flat, where he raced into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown catch. It was the first collegiate TD for Covington, who competed as a wing back as a freshman. Fay’s fourth extra point made it 28-17 with 7:51 remaining.
Gettysburg forced a three-and-out for Susquehanna’s eighth and final punt before the Bullets added on with their final scoring drive. Smith found Brophy wide open down the right side of the field for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 4:00 showing, making it 35-17 and capping the team’s 28-0 run.
The Crusaders added a touchdown on a 29-yard pass with 1:55 left to set the final score.
Jalon Scott raced back the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown before the Bullets fumbled on their third play of the game, with Scott recovering at the Gettysburg-32. Six plays later, Kolmer took it in himself from 1 yard out as the Crusaders took a 14-0 lead with 11:10 on the clock.
The next six drives ended in punts before the Bullets drove to the Susquehanna-27 early in the second quarter. But on fourth-and-17, Smith had his pass intercepted in the end zone by McCarty for a touchback.
After Gettysburg forced a fourth consecutive punt, Gettysburg put together its first scoring drive of the game. A 17-yard dash by Hutchins moved the ball to the Crusader-18 before Smith broke off a 7-yard run to give the Bullets a first-and-goal at the 2. Hutchins rushed in for his third touchdown run of the season on the following play as Gettysburg cut the deficit to 14-7 with 4:25 left in the first half.
The Crusaders went three-and-out before McCarty picked off a deep pass downfield on the first play of Gettysburg’s next drive. The Bullets appeared to have come up with a stop when senior safety Drew Olsen (Staten Island, N.Y./Poly Prep.) intercepted a pass at the Gettysburg-35; however, a personal foul penalty negated the takeaway. The Crusaders took advantage, moving to the Bullet-12 before Spencer Hotaling kicked a 29-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give Susquehanna its 10-point lead at the intermission.
Gettysburg continues its season next Saturday when it hosts McDaniel College at 1 p.m. on Homecoming.