By SHANE COUGHLIN
Head coach Jim Margraff’s 23rd straight regular season victory kept the football team rolling with a two-game winning streak to begin the season.
The dominant performance saw the hosting Jays score on their first seven possessions while preventing the visiting Susquehanna University Crusaders from scoring until late into the third quarter.
Quarterback Jonathan Germano continued to display his prowess as a starter, throwing for over 200 yards and a pair of scores while adding 105 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
The Hopkins-run game once again flashed its talent and depth in the run game with five different players finding the end zone while accumulating over 300 rushing yards in their second straight game.
Among the rushers were the dynamic duo of Brandon Cherry and Stuart Walters who accounted for 99 total yards and two scores, as well as freshman Tyler Messinger who punctuated the day with a 46-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
“The talent in the backfield is awesome” Walters, the junior running back said. “It makes our offense so dangerous and puts opposing defenses in a bind because they don’t know who’s going to run the ball. It’s near impossible to guard all of us at one time when we’re on the field together. I don’t think we’ll be stopped this year and I’m looking forward to seeing how many touchdowns and yards we can put up as a group,”
Through the air, receiver Quinn Donaldson hauled in a huge 34-yard catch adding to his total of 62 receiving yards on the day while receiver Ryan Finkel turned four receptions into 43 yards and a touchdown.
The Jays took no time establishing the tone of the game on the first drive, playing stout against the run with tight coverage on the outside. Susquehanna was quickly forced to relinquish possession with a punt and the Jays never looked back.
Germano was able to secure good field position using his legs for a 17-yard scramble, and kicker Nick Campbell got the scoring started with a 34-yard field goal.
Walters then exended the lead to 10-0 with a short touchdown run to end the first quarter. Germano accounted for two more scores after consecutive 80-yard drives in the second quarter, first finding receiver Dave Brookhart for an 18-yard touchdown and then punching in a rushing touchdown.
Walters continued his big day with enormous plays to both end the first half and begin the second. With 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the junior back took a screen pass and turned it into an impressive 25-yard score before returning the second half kickoff 84 yards.
Running back Brandon Cherry only needed one attempt from there, taking the first carry of the half to the endzone for a 16-yard score that brought the score to a lead of 38-0.
Backup quarterback Will Nunn took over under center, leading the team to its second straight 50-point performance. This mark also began Hopkins’ defense string of turnovers that provided the offense with even more opportunity.
Senior Keith Corliss was able to intercept a pass on the ensuing drive, leading to the eventual touchdown from Nunn to Finkel. Junior safety Pat Runger was also able to secure a pick, giving sophomore Ryan Cary four touches before finding the endzone.
Along with the two interceptions, the Hopkins defense also came up with two fumble recoveries in the fourth quarter.
“We had a great win this week over Susquehanna to start off our conference schedule,” senior co-captain and starting linebacker Keith Corliss said. “Games like this aren’t too hard to find motivation for. After this week, half of the teams were going to be in last place, and half the teams were going to be in first place. It’s good to be part of the latter. Looking forward, we just have to keep our focus and the determination we’ve been holding since the first day of summer camp.”
The team looks ahead to an extremely promising season with eight conference games remaining. Next up, Hopkins will hit the road to take on Moravian College this Saturday.