SELINSGROVE, Pa. –Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) caught his third touchdown catch with 17 seconds left. At that point, McDaniel trailed 42-41 and a simple extra-point would tie the game and send the team to almost a sure overtime at Susquehanna in Centennial Conference (CC) football action on Saturday.
Instead, second-year head coach Mike Hoyt opted to leave his offense on the field and go for the win. The offense stepped to the ball and the Crusaders called a timeout to ensure their defense was set. Out of the timeout, quarterback Seth McFall (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney) took the snap, faded left and looked to freshman Britton Hastings (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg Area). As the junior rifled the ball, it was tipped up. Hastings adjusted back into the field of play, caught the tipped pass and spun to his right and into the end zone for a 43-42 advantage.
Taking over at its own 28, Susquehanna (1-8, 1-7 CC) went underneath to Denzell Walker. On an attempted lateral backwards, Mike Cousar (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) blew up the play and recovered the ball and – for the second time this season – allowed his offense to take a knee for the win.
For the Green Terror (2-7, 2-6 CC), McFall completed 20 of 29 passes for a career-high 229 yards to lead the offense. Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) ran for 182 yards and two scores on 21 carries to help snap the squad's 16-game road losing streak.
Tim Wade led Susquehanna with 166 rushing yards while Mark Rosenbaum had 245 passing yards.
The O'Melia touchdown capped a 12-play, 70-yard drive after McDaniel went into a 42-35 hole with 3:47 remaining.
Mike Oliveto (Robesonia, Pa./Conrad Weiser), who finished with seven catches for 93 yards, converted a fourth-and-12 on the drive with a 26-yard reception to set up first and goal at the Crusader 9 with 38 seconds remaining.
Taking over at the McDaniel 35 after a short punt, Susquehanna moved the ball to the 26 on a pair of running plays sandwiched around a penalty. On third-and-1, Rosenbaum found Walker in the front of the end zone for a touchdown and 7-0 lead with 10:51 on the clock.
Wade found the end zone on the second play of the second quarter, capping a 44-yard drive from two yards out. Eddie Kendall (Point Pleasant, N.J./Point Boro) blocked the ensuing PAT to keep it a 13-0 game with 14:13 showing.
Facing fourth and six from the Susquehanna 22, McFall found O'Melia in stride in the end zone, drawing the Green Terror within 13-7 with 8:47 on the second-quarter clock. The scoring strike capped an 11-play, 72-yard march that utilized a mix of five running plays and six passing plays.
Wade responded from three yards out on the ensuing Crusader drive, capping an eight-play drive to push the lead back out to 13 with 5:34 on the clock.
On the Green Terror's next play, Rollins broke off a 77-yard run up the middle, pulling the visitors back within 20-14 just 23 seconds later.
After McDaniel blocked its second kick of the day, Aqil Tweedy (Fredericksburg, Va./Colonial Forge) recovered the bouncing ball to set up the offense at the Susquehanna 47 with 2:37 remaining in the first half.
Matt Miller (Rockville, Md./Winston Churchill) punched the ball in from just outside the goalline, giving the freshman his first collegiate score with 11 seconds remaining. Bill Castor (Morrisville, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) converted the extra point from 25 yards out after a false start to give the Green Terror a 21-20 edge at the break.
The Crusaders took their first possession of the second half 81 yards on 11 plays capped by a Merle Moscarello 11-yard touchdown run to put the hosts back on top 27-21 with 9:28 showing.
A heavy dose of Rollins on the next possession, including a 30-yard run and a one-yard score, put McDaniel back in front 28-27 with 6:21 to play in the third quarter. The lone pass play on the possession was a McFall-to-Keith Woodrow (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) connection on third-and-7 from the Susquehanna 8 that set up first and goal from inside the one-yard line. Rollins scored on the next play.
After Kendall and Taylor Rush (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional) combined to force and recover a fumble on the next Crusader possession, O'Melia caught a jump ball in the end zone on third-and-6 from the 17 to cap a seven-play drive and stretch the lead to 35-27 with 1:57 to play in the third.
Tim Wade burst through the line for a 19-yard touchdown to cap a 9-play, 81-yard drive. Rosenbaum found Walker on the ensuing two-point conversion to knot the game at 35-all with 10:34 to play in the game.
On third-and-10 from the 12-yard line, Rosebaum hit Pat Murtha coming across the end zone to put Susquehanna on top 42-35 with 3:47 remaining.
Kendall, celebrating his 20th birthday, and Rush led the defense with nine tackles each. O'Melia added five catches for 59 yards while Woodrow had five grabs for 45 yards.
The Green Terror concludes the season at home against No. 12 Johns Hopkins on Saturday. Game time is 12 p.m.