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All or nothing

Woody Butler  2011 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Woody Butler 2011 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

Muhlenberg scores final 27 to down McDaniel

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Muhlenberg scored 27 fourth-quarter points to overcome an early 26-7 deficit and defeat McDaniel 34-26 in Centennial Conference (CC) football action on Saturday.

Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) and Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) combined for 242 of the 319 yards for the Green Terror (1-2, 1-1 CC), who scored 26 points in the game's first 19 minutes, 40 seconds.

Dan Deighan threw for 282 yards for the Mules (2-1, 2-0 CC), 226 of which came in the fourth quarter.

After a third quarter in which the two teams combined for just 13 yards of total offense, Muhlenberg's Shane O'Connor intercepted a pass at his own 2 before returning it to the McDaniel 41 in the final 40 seconds of the period.

The ball was brought back to the 10 on a hold and the Green Terror had forced a three-and-out but a 26-yard pass from Deighan to Marcus Toomey on a fake punt, sparking a drive that lasted eight plays and covered 90 yards to pull the hosts within 24-16 with 13:03 on the fourth-quarter clock.

The Mules got the ball back on an onside kick and drove to the McDaniel 32 before turning the ball over on downs.

On the next Muhlenberg possession, Deighan found Zach Klein for the final 40-yards of a 7-play, 63-yard drive to pull the hosts within 26-21 with 7:19 to play.

The Green Terror faced third-and-18 on its next possession with just over five minutes to play when Nick Valori (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) found Matt Emerson (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) for 17 of those yards. The Mules stuffed McDaniel on a fake-punt attempt before Deighan needed just one play to hit J.T. Merklinger with a 40-yard touchdown.

Deighan kept the ball himself on the two-point conversion to make it a 39-36 game with 4:26 on the clock.

After a personal foul made it third-and-23 from its own 13, a bad snap by the Green Terror gave the Mules a safety and 31-26 lead with 4:09 to play.

The ensuing free kick rolled out of bounds, giving Muhlenberg the ball at midfield, leading to a 27-yard Gregg Mercogliano field goal to push the margin to eight.

McDaniel took the opening kickoff, starting at its own 42, Rollins opened the day with a 32-yard rush down the left sideline before Valori found Butler for a 20-yard gain to the six-yard line.

Three plays later, Valori capped the five-play drive with a quarterback sneak from inside the Muhlenberg 1 for a 7-0 lead with 12:38 to play.

After forcing a three-and-out on the ensuing Mule possession, Micah Brown (Baltimore, Md./New Era Academy) came clean and blocked the punt before falling on it in the end zone for a 13-0 lead with 10:19 showing.

Terrence Dandridge needed just one play to rip off a 69-yard run and trim the deficit to 13-7 just 15 seconds later.

On third-and-7 play, Valori found Butler for a 61-yard gain to set up first-and-goal from the Muhlenberg 3. Two plays later, Rollins found the end zone for a 19-7 lead with 7:27 to play in the quarter.

On the Green Terror's first possession of second quarter, Rollins ripped off a 35-yard rush to go over 100 yards for the third straight game.

One play later, it was Butler going over a 100 yards receiving, catching a 12-yard pass to set up first down from inside the Muhlenberg 1.

Brad Kline (Oaklyn, N.J./Collingswood) found the end zone for the first time in his career two plays later to make it 26-7 with 10:20 to play in the first half.

Valori finished the day 15-for-28 for 203 yards but threw three interceptions, including one as time expired on a 41-yard heave to the end zone.

Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson) led the McDaniel defense with eight tackles, including 2.5 sacks. Steve Wetherhold (Catasauqua, Pa./Catasauqua) added six stops with 2.5 sacks.

The Green Terror returns to action at Ursinus on Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m.