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Football drops heartbreaker to Gettysburg, 40-34
GETTYSBURG, Pa. – For the third straight year, the Ursinus-Gettysburg matchup provided plenty of offense. And like the past two games, it was a tale of two halves.
However, this time the fireworks went up right to the end.
With no time remaining, Gettysburg junior quarterback Kody Smith fired a 32-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Aden Twer as the Bullets (1-1) handed Ursinus (0-2) a 40-34 loss in the Centennial Conference football opener for both teams.
Despite the loss, Ursinus rallied from a 24-point deficit after trailing 34-10 with 8:53 left in the third quarter. Ursinus had tied the score with 47 seconds left on a 1-yard run by sophomore quarterback Chris Curran (Ocean City, N.J./Ocean City). Curran finished the game with 183 yards on 16-for-36 with a TD pass.
Ursinus turned to the running back, getting 130 yards from sophomore running back Bryan Ellis (Owings Mills, Md./McDonogh School). Ellis just missed his career high in rushing by eight yards. Ellis also caught four passes for 12 yards.
Curran spread the wealth among the receivers, throwing completions to eight different wideouts, with senior Al Desiderio (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) netting 48 yards and a score. Senior wide out Kahlil Pittman (Willow Grove, Pa./Abington) had three catches for 57 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Greg Martell (Levittown, Pa./Neshaminy) had eight stops, with Joe Henry picking up seven, including 2.5 tackles for loss.
Gettysburg was led by Smith, who threw for 291 yards and four scores. Twer had 179 yards receiving on five catches. Junior tailback Ted Della rushed for 86 yards on the ground.
Trailing 9-0 in the first quarter, Ursinus got on the board via a 21-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Michael Bennett (Maple Glen, Pa./La Salle College HS) with 1:02 left that ended a 14-play, 58-yard drive. Gettysburg would answer right back as Smith hit Twer for a 81-yard score on the first play following the kickoff for a 16-3 first quarter lead.
Ursinus fought back to within 16-10 on a 1-yard sneak by Curran with 8:04 left in the second quarter. The drive was set up by a sack from senior defensive back Joe Kost (Freeland, Pa./Hazleton Area) that forced a fumble which was recovered by junior defensive lineman Forrie Miller (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven).
After Gettysburg got a 34-yard field goal from Rob Pennella with 2:30 left to go up 19-10, Ursinus drove all the way down to the Gettysburg 27 before turning the ball over on downs with ten seconds left in the half.
In the second half, an interception by Gettysburg's Tyler Fasanella gave the Bullets the ball on the Bears' 43-yard line. The Smith to Twer connection again just needed one play to score, this time from 43 yards out for a 26-10 lead. Gettysburg would add a safety with 10:44 as a punt went awry which resulted in Ursinus being tackled in the end zone.
Gettysburg would score on its next drive on Smith passed to Freddy Caruso from 23 yards out for a 34-10 lead with 8:53 left in the third.
From there, the comeback began.
A nine-play, 71-yard drive ended with an eight-yard scoring run by junior fullback Teddy Conrad (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) with 4:45 left for a 34-18
margin. On the drive, a Curran pass that was intercepted as the Gettysburg 5-yard line was called back due to a Bullet holding penalty.
Ursinus got to within eight at 34-26 on its next drive, needing one play as Curran hit Desiderio from 33 yards out for the score. Desiderio set up his own scoring drive, returning a punt 33 yards to the Bullet 33-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, the defensive unit came up with several key stops, giving the offense good field position. The first drive in the fourth quarter, starting with 12:44 left, stalled on a failed fourth down conversion at the Gettysburg 14-yard line. On Gettysburg's next drive, Smith was picked off by senior linebacker Chris Salaga (Florence, N.J./Florence Township), who returned it to the Gettysburg 19-yard line.
The Bears appeared to score on a 19-yard pass to Desdierio, but, the play was called back due to a hold with 6:57 left in the fourth. Again, the Bears would stall on fourth down and turn the ball over.
After a three-and-out by Gettysburg, Ursinus started at its own 49-yard line and went 51 yards in seven plays, ending with Curran's 1-yard run for a score. Curran then rushed for the game-tying two-point conversion.
Gettysburg got the ball on its own 40-yard line following an out-of-bounds kickoff penalty. Smith then rushed for 12 yards, and then completed a ball for eight yards to set up a second-and-2 at the Bears' 40-yard line. On fourth-and-2 from the Bullets 40, Delia rushed for eight yards to set up a first-down and the game-winning score.
Ursinus will host F&M on Saturday, in the first of two back-to-back home games.