Football defeats Shippensburg for season finish

In their last game of the season, the Mercyhurst football team hosted the Shippensburg University Raiders on snowy Saturday, Nov. 15th.

The final score of the game was 42-21 after a game of even more record-breaking performances.

During this senior day game, Mercyhurst honored 16 senior members of the football team as well as recognized the senior members of the cheerleading squad.

The game opened with Shippensburg scoring on an 11 play 80-yard drive when quarterback Chris Lawshe found wide receiver Mike Brown for a 23-yard touchdown.

The Lakers started a bit slower offensively, but answered with twelve minutes left in the first half when redshirt quarterback Brendan Boylan connected with redshirt junior fullback Donny Holl on a three-yard strike. Sophomore Dylan Kondis kicked the point after to tie the game at 7-7.

With a little over seven minutes left in the half, Lawshe found the end zone again when he ran for a two-yard touchdown putting the Raiders up, 14-7.

But, to end the half, the Lakers marched downfield as Boylan threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to an open junior Dylan Bongorni, tying the game at 14-14. This marked Bongorni’s first career touchdown.

The third quarter is when the Lakers began to truly find their rhythm, outscoring Shippensburg 21-0.

Boylan connected with redshirt senior tight end R.J. Miller twice, first for a 21-yard touchdown pass, and the second for an eight-yard strike to the end zone. All finished off by a toss to Holl, making it a 35-14 Mercyhurst lead heading into the fourth quarter.

On the day, Boylan completed 26 of his 38 passes for 409 yards and five touchdowns, while also racking up 20 yards on the ground.

Redshirt senior Stephen Yarborough led the Lakers in receiving, catching six passes for 165 yards.

However, the most exciting play of game came from the Laker defense.

With Mercyhurst in the lead by just seven points, Shippensburg had possession near the Laker goal line, and was looking to tie the game. But, senior free safety Colin Kimball read the offense, picking off a pass from Lawshe and returning it 100 yards for a touchdown, giving the Lakers a 28-14 lead.

This 100-yard return for a touchdown was the longest in school history, and it was during Kimball’s last game of his college career, tying the record for most Mercyhurst career interceptions at 14.

“It was a great way to finish, I get nervous before games, but coach puts us into great situations at practice to get prepared for these types of moments,” Kimball said.

Kimball was not done yet, as later in the third quarter, he broke the career interception mark when he picked off Lawshe for a second time.

Overall, defense had a great game as Lawshe was held to just 240 passing yards.

Alongside Kimball’s defensive performance was redshirt senior Michael Foster who collected a career-high 16 tackles in his final collegiate game, and senior defensive back Deonte Huggins who grabbed a third interception for the Lakers.

With this win, the Lakers finished the season on a seven game winning streak, after starting 0-4. This put the Laker football team at a 7-4 overall record, and gained them their third straight winning season.

“It’s bittersweet, I’m very excited about the win and season, but I’ll miss all the guys and miss college football. The whole program top to bottom is amazing and I’m very proud to have played for Mercyhurst,” Kimball said.