Sunday, October 15, 2017

Davidson Loses Late Lead at Stetson, Falls 28-17

DELAND, Fla. – For the second straight season, Davidson football let a late lead slip away at the hands of Stetson, falling on the road in Pioneer Football League action at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium Saturday, 28-17.

With the loss, Davidson falls to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the PFL, while with the win Stetson improves to 2-5 and 1-3 in league play.

The ‘Cats headed into the final frame up 17-14 after a back and forth three quarters powered by a pair of Tyler Phelps rushing touchdowns and a 22-yard Trevor Smith field goal.

With the lead and defensive stop, the Wildcats looked in good shape down the stretch, but a muffed punt gave the Hatters the ball back in Davidson territory and the Hatters were able to capitalize. Stetson quickly went 5-plays and 135 yards as quarterback Colin McGovern found Justin Jordan on a left fade to the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score, 21-17.

After a few more change of possessions in the fourth, the Wildcats came within the edge of their own goal line, propelled by a Wesley Dugger 35-yard run into Stetson territory, but a few close spots left the ‘Cats just shy of a first down and the ball went back over to Stetson late.

The Wildcat front line had stuffed the Hatter rushing game all day, allowing just 41 yards on the ground through three quarters, but Hatter running back Gordon Stetson broke one for 95 yards to put the game away with under a minute to go, 28-17.

The Wildcats outgained the Hatters 457 yards to 354 including another big rushing day of 236 yards, led by Dugger’s 160-yard game. The freshman has eclipsed 100 yards three times this season. Phelps completed 20-of-33 passes for 186 yards and an interception. Sophomore William Wicks, a former Terry Sanford standout, caught seven passes for 97 yards, including a 46-yard, third down grab to set up the first Davidson touchdown of the day.

The Wildcats got on the board first after junior Boo Jordan blocked a kick to give his ‘Cats great starting field position. The Wicks catch came on the third down of that series that set up a 4-yard Phelps scoring scamper, his first of two in the day.

The Davidson defense was stout early as sophomore linebacker Geroge Hatalowich recorded eight first-quarter tackles, 1.5 for loss, and broke up a pass in the end zone. He ended with a career-high 12 tackles and 2.5 for loss. Former Pine Forest standout Bryce Perry-Martin made 9.0 tackles, while he and senior Brendan Simpkins each tallied a sack. Senior corner and former Eastern Alamance Eagle Ryan Woods had another strong day in the secondary, making life difficult for the Stetson downfield weapons.

Smith’s second-quarter field goal broke a seven-all tie in the second and gave Davidson a 10-7 halftime lead. Stetson regained the lead on an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third, before the momentum shifted back the ‘Cats way, capping an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a 28-yard Phelps scoring scamper helped along by great blocking downfield from sophomore tight end and former Hoggard Viking Hunter Louthan.

The muffed punt came shortly after as Stetson took control and cruised to victory late for the second consecutive season.

Davidson returns home Saturday, Oct. 21 when Dayton comes to Richardson Stadium. Kickoff with the Flyers is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Davidson Sports Information contributed to this story.