Football: McDaniel opens season with impressive win over Catholic

McDaniel running Perry Stefanelli talks about the Green Terror's season-opening win over Catholic.

One game doesn't make a season.

But everything came together for the McDaniel College football team against Catholic University on Saturday afternoon in what had to be the team's best performance of the past two seasons.


McDaniel dominated the second half and cruised to a 30-10 victory over the visiting Cardinals in the Green Terror's one non-Centennial Conference matchup of the season.

"We won three games last year, but they were close ones," said McDaniel coach Mike Dailey, whose team racked up 400 yards of total offense. "We played well in all three phases. We ran the ball very well, play action passed real well, the defense had some big stops, and we hit all our extra points and field goals."

Senior quarterback Will Koester and senior running back Perry Stefanelli were impressive for the Green Terror.

Koester (12-for-17, two touchdowns) mixed a splendid running attack led by Stefanelli (26 carries, 147 yards, TD) with some timely passing to keep the Catholic defense off balance in McDaniel's season opener.

Senior end Ray Doh (two sacks, seven tackles) led a defense that limited Catholic to 171 yards of total offense, including 12 in the second half.

McDaniel scored twice in the fourth quarter to take control.

To start the second half, the Green Terror got pinned at their own 12 after Andrew DiNardo's 55-yard punt.

But McDaniel moved down the field quickly and scored.

Koester finished an 11-play drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Barnasa Bailor down the left sideline less than five minutes into the third quarter to make it 19-10.

McDaniel boosted its lead to 26-10 late in the quarter on Stefanelli's 1-yard run up the middle. He gained 39 yards on seven attempts — running behind a line of Jared Staub, Paul Flagg, Michael Martucci, Vince Gorgone and Josh Disharoon — to highlight the drive.

"I was just patient," Stefanelli said. "Our line was really moving them. It was really fun to run behind them."

The Green Terror pushed its advantage to 30-10 early in the final quarter on Spencer Wiersberg's 31-yard field goal, his third of the game.

McDaniel got into Catholic territory on its first drive on three straight Stefanelli runs, but the Green Terror couldn't get past the Catholic 45 yard line.

Stefanelli had a bigger workload on McDaniel's second drive, but he fumbled on his last carry. Anthony Santo recovered it, but Catholic didn't take advantage.


Late in the first quarter, McDaniel's Matt Schleifer returned a punt for an apparent touchdown, but it was called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty.

The Green Terror could soon forget about that missed opportunity.

Wiersberg kicked a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

The Cardinals responded by putting together their best first-half drive. They drove 78 yards in 13 plays, and quarterback Jorge Pola capped it off with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Keleher.

Matt Cathey keyed McDaniel's first touchdown as he gained 30 yards on six carries.

Wiersberg ended the series with a 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-6 with 2:25 remaining.

The Green Terror regained the lead about a minute later. Koester teamed up with Breon Herbert for a 28-yard touchdown.

It didn't take long for the Cardinals to answer. Blake Gomez kicked a 35-yard field goal to make it 13-10 — the halftime score.

Those were the last points Catholic would earn.

"This win was a great way to build some confidence," Dailey said. "We start conference play next week."



McDaniel College senior quarterback threw for two touchdowns to lead the Green Terror to a season-opening 30-10 victory over Catholic.
McDaniel College senior quarterback threw for two touchdowns to lead the Green Terror to a season-opening 30-10 victory over Catholic.