Every story has an ending.
For the Mercyhurst College football team that ending came Saturday with a 49-14 loss to Shepherd University.
Although the final loss was a drubbing, there is no feeling of shame for the Lakers who reached new heights this season as a program.
“Not a great game, but a great season,” head coach Marty Schaetzle said.
The Lakers reached the NCAA Division II playoffs this year for the first time ever and finished with a 10-3 record.
The teams were tied 14-14 at the end of the first half after an interception return for a touchdown by senior Byrant Kimball. This seemingly swung the momentum back in the Lakers’ favor.
“We went into halftime tied 14-14. We didn’t come out in the second half, though,” Kimball said.
It was just not the Lakers’ day offensively or defensively, as Sheppard would score 35 unanswered points in the second half.
Junior quarterback Travis Rearick felt especially frustrated as the Rams’ defense forced him into a number of mistakes.
“I kept on feeling like we had stuff open, but I didn’t put the ball in the right spots,” Rearick said.
Schaetzle felt the same way about the Lakers’ offensive performance.
“Offensively, we worked to get big plays but we couldn’t connect on them today,” Schaetzle said.
The poor offensive play also led to a very tired Laker defensive unit.
“They were able to wear us down on defense because we couldn’t get a first down on offense,” Schaetzle said.
The Laker defense was unable to stop the Rams running attack just a week after shutting down Bloomsburg University.
“They were very physical with our front line, and we weren’t hitting our gaps,” senior Tim Herbener said.
Mercyhurst’s season has come to a close, but Schaetzle saw meaning and importance from this game.
He’s already thinking of next season.
“We have to learn from this game and look to the next time around,” Schaetzle said.