Alliance, OH – The Raiders found themselves in a dogfight on Saturday when they hosted Muhlenberg in a Division III quarterfinal playoff game. After a slow start, the Raiders’ offense got rolling in the second half and Mount Union walked away with a 35-29 overtime win.
Deandre Parker put Mount Union on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:52 remaining in the first quarter. However, the extra point attempt by Nick Deack was no good and left the Raiders up 6-0. On the very next drive, Michael Hnatkowsky put the Mules on top 7-6 with a 1-yard touchdown run. Then the Raiders responded right back with a 27-yard field goal by Deack to start off the second quarter. Muhlenberg closed out the scoring for the half with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Daniel with about 12 minutes to go in the half and the team went to their locker rooms with Muhlenberg leading 14-9.
In the second half, Muhlenberg pushed their lead to 21-9 after another touchdown catch by Daniel. Then with a little more than two and half minutes to go in the third quarter, Josh Pertuccelli ripped off a 53-yard touchdown run that kicked off a 20-point run for the Purple Raiders. That run put the Raiders up 29-21 and put them back in the driver’s seat. In the closing minutes of the game, Mount Union punter Tom Piccirillo accidentally took a knee as he tried to field a low snap and handed Muhlenberg the ball at the Mount Union 25-yard line. Hnatkowsky then lead his team down the last quarter of the field and connected with Michael Feaster on an 8-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 27-29 for Mount Union. Muhlenberg then went for a 2-point conversion to try and force overtime. With the game on the line, Hnatkowsky connected with Thomas Murphy to tie the game at 29-29. The Raiders were able to move down the field on their last drive of regulation, but a 41-yard field goal attempt by Deack went wide left.
Muhlenberg started on offense in overtime and Hnatkowsky opened the overtime period with a 12-yard pass to Feaster. Then the Raiders’ defense settled in and dropped Rory Deluca for a 3-yard loss on first down. A broken up pass, a false start on the Mules, and a 3-yard reception by Deluca then led to Muhlenberg being faced with a fourth and 15. Muhlenberg’s offense left the field empty handed after a 35-yard field goal attempt by Nick Stannard was no good. Mount Union’s offense only needed two plays to put the game away. Plunk opened overtime with an 11-yard reception by Petruccelli to move Mount Union up to the 14-yard line. On the final play of the game, Plunk was flushed out of the pocket and to the right. With multiple defenders coming at him, Plunk then ripped off a pass to the endzone and found DJ Harvey on his knees for the game winning touchdown.
Josh Petruccelli took home Trap’s Sporting Goods player of the game honors for his performance in the win. Petruccelli had 105 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns on the day. He also 2 catches for 20 yards as well. With the loss, Muhlenberg ends their season with an 11-2 record. Mount Union on the other hand, improved to 13-0 and will advance to a D3 semifinal matchup at home against North Central (noon kickoff).