Happy Ending

Contributed Photo: Sports Information
Ten senior members of the 2014 Edinboro football team and their families were honored before Saturday’s game against Millersville at Sox Harrison Stadium.
Scots fight through and win at home

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor/Spectator

Saturday’s game at Sox Harrison Stadium marked the end of a season that many around Edinboro football would like to forget as the Scots struggled out of the gate and didn’t see sustained success until the latter part of the schedule.

It was only fitting for the 2014 finale to follow the same pattern.

Edinboro (3-8, 3-7 PSAC) scored 21 points in the second half to defeat PSAC East-foe, Millersville, 21-9 on Senior Day at Sox Harrison Stadium in the final game of the 2014 season for the Fighting Scots football team.

“I don’t know if we came to play,” head coach Scott Browning said about his team’s sluggish first-half offensively. “I don’t know if we were ready. I don’t know if we were as mentally locked in as we should have been. Ultimately that comes back to me.”

Defensively, the Fighting Scots were prepared for battle as the unit secured three Millersville (1-10, 1-9) fumbles in the first half, but the offense failed to score off of them.

The Marauders had the first scoring attempt as sophomore kicker Evan Stahl’s 52-yard field goal attempt late in the first quarter fell short, but Millersville still cracked the scoreboard first in the contest as the squad pieced together a 17 play, 96-yard drive on its next possession that took 9:13 of game time and was capped off by a four-yard pass and catch from Matt Misley to Tyler Zilen.

That would be Misley’s final contribution to the game as the fifth-year senior was penalized and ejected during the Marauders’ next possession following a scrum in the middle of the field.

“I think it rejuvenated us,” Browning said about the ejection. “I think it also took a little wind out of their sails. He is an excellent player.”

Following the score, Edinboro punted on the ensuing drive, but Millersville’s Kevin Wiggins muffed the punt and Anthony Principale scooped up the ball.

Sticking with the theme of the first half, the offense failed to capitalize on the takeaway as Paul Ortiz’s 47-yard field goal flew wide right.

The Scots mounted one scoring threat before the intermission going 72 yards in 1:15, but sixth-year senior quarterback Cody Harris (18-31, 221 yds., 1 TD) rushed up-the middle inside Millersville’s five-yard line, but was brought down at the one-yard line as time expired in the first half.

“To be honest, I really wasn’t executing,” Harris said of the lack of production from the offense in the first half. “I’m going to put that on my shoulders. The team was executing, but I wasn’t making the plays that I typically make. It was an adjustment I needed to make.”

While the offense was figuring out its adjustments, the defense took matters into its own hands early in the third quarter. Sophomore O’Sha Jackson blocked a Millersville field goal attempt to stop the Marauders in their opening drive of the half.

Following another Edinboro punt, the team finished with eight, redshirt-freshman strong-safety Corey Beck intercepted a pass by J.J. Paige and returned it 30-yards to tie the game up at seven with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter.

“Our defense, at times, gave up big plays, but for the most part, they played well,” Browning stated. “I think they have gotten better each game.”

The defense hung tough for the remainder of the contest as the offense joined the party.

Following an interception by freshman cornerback Marcus Hill, Harris connected with wide receivers Kolbe Hughes and Darren Massey, the latter was on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to give Boro its’ first lead of the contest.

The Scots sealed the victory midway through the four quarter as third-string tailback Ryan Harkness punched in the final score for Edinboro in 2014 with a two-yard rush up the middle.

Browning and his squad have emotional and physical battle wounds from the season, but overcame them all one final time.

“It has been a tough year,” Browning admitted while congratulating his players as they walked by. “I don’t know if we could even go out and play another football game right now because we are so banged up. We are so beat up. I just don’t know if we could do it…we fought through it today and we brought home a victory. Ultimately that is what it is all about.”

Tyler Trumbauer is the news editor for The Spectator. He can be reached by sports.spectator@gmail.com