Mercyhurst University football hasn’t fallen to 0-2 since 2006. So, after losing their season opener to Notre Dame College on Aug. 30, 59-42, the pressure was on to win their next game, which took place this past Saturday, Sept. 8, against the Millersville Marauders.
The Lakers showed up in full force, crushing the Marauders in a 45-7 victory. The game was won on the ground, with 379 rushing yards. Overall, the Lakers averaged 7.4 yards per carry on a total of 51 runs against the Millersville defense.
Running backs freshman Brandon Brown-Dukes and junior Allen Jones II both had career record days on the field. Brown-Dukes became one of only five players in Mercyhurst history to rush for more than 200 yards in a single game, while Jones II had a career-high 132-yard game and a touchdown.
Additionally, junior Steven Wakefield booted a 77-yard punt, the second longest in school history. Furthermore, Wakefeild kicked a 46-yard field goal, breaking his previous record of 35 yards.
With all of these impressive running stats, it’s hard to forget the other positions that are necessary to make such results possible. The offensive line is often overlooked in regards to recognition, but their role is vital to the offense’s ability to make plays happen.
Senior offensive lineman Kevin Poropat wasn’t surprised by the win against Millersville, but he is relieved.
“It feels good to bounce back, especially after last weeks game,” Poropat said.
As a senior, Poropat knows his way around the offensive line. “As a freshman, I was playing right tackle. Sophomore and junior year I switched over to left tackle, and now I play left guard. I’ve been all over the place,” Poropat said.
Poropat was recently awarded two All-American honors from the USA Football Freedom Bowl and the D2 vs. NAIA Bowl. Poropat knows the importance his team played in him receiving All-American recognition.
“I’m honored to be named an All-American; not many people can say that,” said Poropat. “I owe it to my teammates, they help me a lot.”
Expectations are high this year for the Lakers, and Poropat can’t help but desire a repeat of their 2010 season, when the Lakers won the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) Championship.
“We definitely want to get back to the top of the PSAC, we’re optimistic. Our first goal is to ‘win the West’ though,” said Poropat. “All I care about is doing my job and helping my team win ball games. It is all I care about.”
The Lakers will make their first home appearance this Saturday, Sept. 15 against the Clarion Golden Eagles on Tullio Field.