DAVIDSON The Davidson Wildcats are still trying to find their first football win, and Saturday’s 42-14 homecoming loss to the Marist Red Foxes played out what’s becoming a familiar script.
The Wildcats (0-7, 0-4 Pioneer Football League) hung close to the visitors for three quarters but once again missed a couple of red zone opportunities and fell victim to big plays by Marist in front of a crowd of 3,112 at Richardson Field.
“We had a good game in some respects, but we were disappointing in others,” Davidson coach Paul Nichols said. “We’re in some tough times right now, and this calls for us to pull together even more.”
The Red Foxes (4-3. 3-1 PFL) grabbed an early 3-0 lead on a 25-yard field goal by Jesse Signa, but the Wildcats responded with an 11-play, 70-yard drive ending in a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff to senior wide receiver Jeff McDaniels.
Backup quarterback J.P. Douglas passed to Tyler Hickey for the two-point conversion and an 8-3 advantage.
But Marist ended the first quarter ahead 9-8 on Wale Onakoya’s 14-yard touchdown run with a minute and 26 seconds left, after quarterback Chuckie Looney connected with senior wide receiver Bartley Leneghan on a 65-yard completion.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Atiq Lucas gave Marist a 15-8 lead with about six minutes left in the first half, but the Wildcats weren’t done.
Converting a couple of fourth downs along the way, Davidson drove 72 yards to the Marist 2 in the final minute before a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 7 and effectively killed the threat. Zach Adler intercepted a Carkhuff pass in the end zone on the last play of the half.
“We knew we were going to go for the touchdown,” Nichols said. “We tripped over our own feet with the penalty. That’s a situation where you just have to punch it in.”
The Red Foxes scored on their first possession of the second half, on a 41-yard run by Wale Onakoya, for a 21-8 lead after Davidson’s Colin Merrill blocked the extra point.
The Wildcats came back with a drive from their own 22 to the Marist 14, but they fumbled the ball away on fourth and one.
Junior halfback Matt Tralli caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chuckie Looney to give the Red Foxes a 28-8 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Davidson responded with a 72-yard scoring drive in four plays, ending with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Douglas to McDaniels with 11:34 left to play.
The Wildcats wouldn’t get any closer, as Marist closed out the win with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Looney to Leneghan, followed by a 78-yard interception return by Cameron Gibson in the final minute.
Notes: The Wildcats play at Jacksonville at 1 p.m. Saturday…Marist remained undefeated in four visits to Richardson Stadium…It’s the eighth straight home loss for Davidson, dating back to last season.
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