– Hobart crashed Susquehanna's Homecoming party by taking a 41-13 win under the lights in Nicholas A. Lopardo stadium.
Susquehanna's red zone defense capitalized on a fourth-and-one situation on the opening Hobart drive, forcing the Statesman defense to turn the ball over. Nate Moore (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) stuffed quarterback Andrew Strom on the one yard line as he attemped a quarterback sneak into the endzone.
Hobart scored first just 7:38 into action with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Strom to Matt Duliba.
One of the game's most bizarre plays came with around five minutes left in the first quarter when Hobart pulled a fake punt pass on a fourth-and-six play. Punter Dominick Ancona dropped back to punt and proceeded to launch a 20 yard bomb to Andrew Marlier.
Starting with favorable field position at their own 45 yard line, the Statesmen whipped out a five-play, 55-yard drive which led to a rushing touchdown by Anthony Hobaica.
Chris Ushinski (Nanticoke, Pa./Nanticoke) brought Strom to the turf behind the line of scrimmage in the final minutes of the first half, which would be one of three total Crusader sacks.
The Crusaders stayed competitive going into halftime, keeping the score at a manageable 14-0.
Hobart went on cruise control the rest of the game, and the Crusader secondary couldn't stop Strom from peppering the field with completed passes.
Marlier broke open a 51-yard run in the first Statesman offensive drive of the second half, which led to a Strom passing touchdown from inside the five yard line.
J.J. Moran (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) set the tone of the first touchdown drive for the Crusaders, returning a kickoff for 59 yards. On fourth down with 10 yards to go, Derek Pope (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) rolled the dice and completed a 37-yard pass to Nick Macia (Hampton, N.J./North Hunterdon), placing Susquehanna inside the Hobart five yard line. Dave Paveletz (Warrior Run, Pa./Hanover Area) ran the ball in the endzone on the next play.
The next drive proved catastrophic for the momentum of the Crusaders. On a seemingly innocuous second and six play from the Hobart 41, Strom lateraled the ball to Ryan LiDrazzah, who lateraled the ball to Tyler Vincent, who then lateraled the ball back to Strom who connected with wide open Zach Schulz downfield for a 61 yard touchdown. Susquehanna avenged the unorthodox flea-flicker play by blocking the extra point following the touchdown.
The third quarter ended on a positive note with Dan Golias (Johnstown, Pa./Westmont Hilltop) sacking Strom on a first-down play.
Strom responded in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter with a 55-yard pass to Zach Schulz. Don Gilardi finished off the large gain by pounding the ball in on the ground from six yards out for a touchdown, making the score 34-7.
After Susquehanna punted the ball away on the next drive, Hobart connected on another long pass from Strom, this time to LiDrazzah for a 57-yard gain.
Pope marched down the field on the ensuing drive, throwing a pass on each play along the way to a 17-yard sling to Jim Owen (Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) in the back of the endzone. Bobby Eppleman (Chester Springs, Pa./Great Valley) failed to convert the extra point attempt.
Hobart drained the clock for the final 7:25 seconds of the game, running the ball on each of the 10 plays before the clock ran out.
Paveletz led all rushers with 73 yards on the ground. Pope compiled 173 passing yards and threw no interceptions to the Hobart defense.
Strom strung together a 387-yard passing game, and two of his receivers had over 100 yards. LiDrazzah finished the game with 122 yards while Schulz had 130. Three Hobart rushers gained over 40 yards rushing as well, with the team's top rusher gaining 72 net yards.
Both quarterbacks were sacked three times apiece. Ushinski, Golias and Eddie Jones (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) accounted for the three Crusader sacks. Moore led the Susquehanna defense with nine total tackles. Golias and Jones each notched eight total tackles apiece as well.
Next game: Saturday, Oct. 13 @ Union, 1:00 p.m.