By Matthew Shaffer
For their 2019 season opener, the Lions traveled to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to face the No. 8 team in the nation, Muhlenberg College, but were handily defeated by a score of 45-26.
The game did not start out in the College’s favor, with junior quarterback Andrew Donoghue tossing an interception on the first play of the game.
Muhlenberg went on to score three more touchdowns in the first quarter before the Lions stopped its momentum with a 13-play, 75-yard drive resulting in a receiving touchdown by senior wide receiver Vinny Guckin.
By halftime, Muhlenberg had amassed five touchdowns, four of them thrown by its junior quarterback Mike Hnatkowsky, who tied a school record with five passing touchdowns later in the game.
The Lions were down by four scores going into halftime, but did not give up hope. Late in the second half, senior wide receiver Jack Clevenger hauled in two touchdowns courtesy of Donoghue, one of them from 75 yards out. Additionally, sophomore quarterback Dave Jachera punched in a 1-yard touchdown to cap off a six-play, 75-yard drive.
The Lions left it all on the field and, despite being down 35-7 at the half, held Muhlenberg to 10 points in the second half, while putting up 19 of their own.
Despite ultimately losing 45-26 loss, there were some positives to take away from the performance.
The Lions offense had some impressive scoring drives, while on defense, they held opposing backs to 2.9 yards per
The team’s top performers were Donoghue and Clevenger.
Donoghue completed 19 out of 39 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns, while Clevenger totaled 116 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
The Lions’ secondary got torched for five touchdowns and 280 yards. If the defense can play at the same level as they did in the second half against Muhlenberg, then it will keep the team in contention throughout the season.