Paul Flagg spiked his mouthpiece to the turf and clenched his fists as he walked off the field at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium.
Orbell Keshishi let loose once he got to the sideline, with a slam of his helmet and a kick to a nearby trash can.
Flagg and Keshishi weren’t the only ones showing their emotions in the waning minute of Saturday’s game between McDaniel and Dickinson. The Green Terror offensive linemen just happened to be the most visible, fresh off their unit’s inability to convert on fourth down from the Red Devils’ 12-yard line that could have led to the game-tying score.
McDaniel’s struggles on offense overshadowed a strong outing from its defense, but Dickinson escaped with a 27-20 victory to spoil the Terror’s Homecoming festivities.
The Green Terror (3-3, 2-3 in the Centennial Conference) didn’t surpass 200 yards on offense until its final possession, with a 45-yard pass play from quarterback Ben Igo to receiver Aaron Grant moving the ball inside Dickinson territory. Four plays later, on fourth-and-2 from the 12, Igo tried to find Grant again, this time in the end zone on a rollout to the far side.
The Red Devils defended the play well, however, and Igo’s pass fell incomplete. The turnover on downs led to an unleashing of emotions from several players as they made their way to the McDaniel sideline.
The game wasn’t over, however, and McDaniel’s defense forced Dickinson into a third-and-3 from its 19 with 58 seconds to play.
Phillip Butler carried the ball near the 22-yard line before junior linebacker Jarius Ransom brought him down. The Terror felt Butler came up short of a first down; the officiating crew saw it differently and signaled to move the chains.
McDaniel coach Mike Dailey pleaded for a measurement to no avail. And Dailey voiced his feelings, something he does scarcely on the sideline.
After all, his defense had blocked three punts Saturday, the third of which went for a touchdown that got McDaniel back in the game.
“That’s all I asked for,” Dailey said. “If they’ve got to punt it, we’ve got a chance. And in that situation, all I wanted was a measurement. Now, I know officiating is tough. I rarely ever talk to the officials. I’m not blaming it on them.
“[Dickinson] won the football game, they deserved to win it. It’s just tough. It’s a tough, tough situation.”
A day of frustration came to an end, and the Terror headed into the conference’s off week with points of emphasis for improvement.
At or near the top of any list is likely consistency on offense — McDaniel mustered nine first downs to Dickinson’s 22, finished 4-for-14 on third downs, and committed three turnovers. The Terror had 84 rushing yards, with 50 coming from Matt Cathey.
The senior also scored two touchdowns, and when Breon Herbert blocked a punt form Dickinson’s Billy Burger and recovered it in the end zone with 10:49 to play the home team trailed 24-20.
The Red Devils (2-4, 2-3) responded with a 14-play, 66-yard drive that consumed more than 6 minutes and ended with a field goal.
Still, McDaniel had a chance for more points. But the Green Terror stalled out in the red zone, and Dickinson held on.
Dailey and Igo credited the Red Devils’ defense for being stout and making things tough in the early going, and Igo said the visitors drew up a quality game plan.
“I felt like it took us a little while to get our footing in the first half,” said Igo, who completed 10 passes for 153 yards. “As a result of that we started out slow, and they were able to put points on the board.”
Dickinson led 10-0 after the first quarter and 17-7 at halftime. McDaniel outscored the Devils after that, but it wasn’t enough.
Ransom led the Terror defense with 13 tackles and had a hand in one of his team’s five sacks. Anthony Crawley, a senior linebacker, collected 12 tackles, and Angelo Payne had two tackles for loss.
Igo said the offense gets a lift seeing its defensive mates flying around the field to make plays, but when his unit can’t return the favor it can be disheartening.
McDaniel has an extra week to prepare for its next game, Oct. 20 at first-place Muhlenberg (5-0 4-0).
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“As an individual unit, we need to be better,” Igo said. “As a team, we’re looking forward to these next couple games. It’s a test for us to see what we’re made of.”