On Saturday, the Georgetown Hoyas football team (1-1, Patriot League) won their home opener over Marist (0-1, Pioneer) in dominating fashion with a final score of 43-3. It was a refreshing bounce-back victory after a tight 27-20 loss last week to Davidson (1-0, Pioneer) when the Hoyas played an outstanding third quarter but were lackluster the rest of the game.
“That one last week definitely stung, but we don’t want to dwell on the past. We want to focus on what we’re doing right now, and that was evident today,” senior quarterback Gunther Johnson said.
Johnson finished with 77 yards and a touchdown in the air, and 68 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while sophomore running back Herman Moultrie III contributed 103 rushing yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, the defense forced four turnovers and suffocated the Red Fox offense all day. Marist was a paltry four for 11 on third down conversion attempts. In addition, the Hoyas crushed Marist on both sides of the running game, accumulating 272 rushing yards while allowing just 52.
“It feels great,” head coach Rob Sgarlata said. “The kids came out and played well. I was really impressed that once they got out there they kept their foot on the gas and really impressed with how we ran the ball. I thought our kids had fun on offense and did a great job.”
The Georgetown defense picked up right where it left off last week when they dominated Davidson in the second half. The Red Foxes punted after three plays on each of their first two possessions. Meanwhile, the Hoyas found the endzone on their second drive. After a third down incompletion on their own 45-yard line, the Hoyas caught a break when Marist was called for roughing the passer after a late hit on Johnson. Johnson took advantage, reeling off a couple of big runs and third down conversions. He capped off the drive with a 17-yard touchdown rush, showing off some nifty jukes to elude the Red Fox defense. Senior kicker Brad Hurst’s PAT attempt was good, giving Georgetown their first lead of the season.
Marist got the ball back to start the second quarter, and the Red Foxes showed signs of life. On the shoulders of junior running back Mekhai Johnson and redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Day, the Marist offense made it to the Hoyas’ 18-yard line, but couldn’t push further. Freshman kicker Luke Paladino split the uprights on a 36-yard field goal to get the Red Foxes on the board.
On the following possession, Johnson remained on the sideline while junior quarterback Joseph Brunell got in the game, and he took advantage of his chance. Brunell notched a first down with a six-yard rush, then unloaded a 46-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Michael Dereus. Two plays later, Brunell found sophomore wide receiver Joshua Tomas on the right side of the endzone for a quick six points. In a surprising turn of events, head coach Rob Sgarlata elected to go for two, calling a play that would snap the ball directly to senior defensive end Khristian Tate, an All-Patriot League selection a year ago. Tate found a whole on the left side and shoved his way in, making it 15-3.
Johnson returned Georgetown’s subsequent kickoff for 27 yards before sophomore defensive back Delano Salgado forced a fumble, recovered by the Hoyas. Although Brunell was unable to put together another scoring drive and Hurst punted three plays in, the tenacious Georgetown defense got the ball back quickly. After Day found redshirt senior tight end Jon Kanda for a 25-yard gain, Kanda, who was inexplicably holding the ball very far from his body, fumbled. The Hoyas recovered at midfield with a chance to score once more before the half. On this drive, Johnson was back in the game. He supplied 24 total aerial yards, Moultrie III rushed for 19 total yards, and Tomas topped it off with a one-yard touchdown rush. Hurst’s PAT was good and the Blue & Gray held a commanding 22-3 lead at the half.
Starting off the second half, the Hoyas didn’t miss a beat. A short kick by Paladino gave the Hoyas’ solid field position, and Moultrie pushed down the field with 32 yards on four rushes. Johnson then displayed some explosive wheels with an impressive 32-yard touchdown rush. After just six plays and 2:30 into the second half, the Hoyas had already notched a touchdown.
After that score, the Hoyas continued to flat out dominate the Red Foxes. Touchdowns from Moultrie III and Dereus along with an interception return by Salgado drove the score to 43-3. Marist also turned the ball over on downs on a desperation fourth down attempt early in the fourth quarter.
“Today’s win felt fantastic, especially in front of our home fans,” Moultrie III said. “I knew we were going to bounce back after last week.”
The Hoyas will try to keep the train rolling next week when they host Division III Catholic (0-1, NEWMAC). The Cardinals lost to Kenyon (1-0, NCAC) on Saturday.
“We had a few mistakes here and there, so we’re going to clean that up and keep on working on our intensity,” junior linebacker Wes Bowers said after making four tackles, second most on the team, on Saturday. “We’re going to take this victory as a lesson, see what we can do better, and keep improving day by day.”
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