Perry Stefanelli has been with McDaniel College’s football program longer than anyone on the team’s current coaching staff, but the running back hadn’t been seen on the field in quite some time.
Stefanelli, who came to the Green Terror as a freshman in 2014, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early in Week 4 of the 2017 season. He missed the remainder of that year but came back in 2018, after graduating that May, only to sit out for an entire season because he hadn’t fully recovered from his knee surgery.
Stefanelli made his long-awaited return Saturday against Misericordia, and the sixth-year running back contributed in McDaniel’s 24-14 victory.
The Rockville native ran for 58 yards on 13 carries (4.5 yards per attempt) and broke off a 20-yard scamper for his longest of the day. Stefanelli looked sharp operating behind McDaniel’s offensive line, although sometimes he’s hard to spot in a scrum at 5 feet, 5 inches.
Size doesn’t seem to hinder Stefanelli’s ability, and first-year head coach Demarcus White said having the veteran back in the huddle is a boost for the Terror.
“Perry is a difference-maker,” White said after Saturday’s win. “And he comes to us with a ton of experience, and there’s no substitute for it. His leadership is unbelievable, and it’s not even close to where some guys are in the program. ... We’re blessed to have him."
Stefanelli finished the 2016 season with 601 yards and two touchdowns, and had 76 yards and five touchdowns through the first three-plus games of 2017. He missed most of his freshman year after suffering a broken ankle, but bounced back in his sophomore campaign (313 yards, two TDs in nine games).
The 170-pound back was part of a McDaniel ground game that collected 163 net rushing yards, while Misericordia managed only 77.
Pray lands player of the week honors
McDaniel junior Aaron Pray III earned Centennial Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after a solid outing in Week 1.
Pray led the Green Terror with three punt returns for 76 yards in their win over Misericordia. He had returns of 23 and 47 to set up McDaniel’s first two touchdowns. Pray’s 25.3 yards per return was tops among Centennial players this week.
McDaniel topped visiting York College 1-0 on Saturday behind a goal from sophomore forward Hannah Schepers in the 28th minute. The Green Terror improved to 2-1, and sophomore goalie Katherine Carstensen made three saves for her first shutout of the season, and McDaniel outshot the Spartans 18-6.
The Terror lost 2-1 against St. Mary’s in their season opener, but took down Shenandoah 5-2 on Sept. 4. Maddie Schwartz, a junior midfielder, netted three goals in the victory.
The Green Terror moved to 3-0 with Saturday’s 2-0 road victory over Marymount. Jacob Wells and Nick Bowman, both juniors, each had goals for McDaniel. Wells is a midfielder and Bowman a forward.
The Terror defeated Immaculata 2-1 in their 2019 opener, and edged Wilkes 1-0 on Sept. 2. All three of McDaniel’s wins have come on the road.
McDaniel went 1-1 on Saturday in Grantham, Pa., losing to Messiah in four sets before beating Eastern 3-0 in its second match. Junior outside hitter Marlowe Embry had 13 kills, six digs, and four aces in the win.
Embry had 12 kills against Messiah, and junior libero Kendall Hanak led the way with 15 digs.
Senior Emily Farrell converted a pair of penalty strokes to help the Terror get past Notre Dame of Maryland 4-2 in double overtime Sept. 4. McDaniel got its first win of the year after losing its opener Aug. 30 against Randolph-Macon (6-0).