The Friday night lights shone bright at Scotty Wood Stadium as the Muhlenberg football team hit the field to play their first and only Friday night game of the season against Ursinus. The team went into the match winning a record of five straight games. Switching it up from their normal Saturday afternoon games, the Mules fed off of the energy from the crowd to help them power through.
The Mules started off strong, scoring a touchdown with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. Answering with two touchdowns, Ursinus went into the second quarter owning a 14-7 lead on the Mules.
With a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter by kicker Todd Spirt ‘20, the Mules regained their momentum and never looked back.
As the Mules headed into the locker room for halftime, they found themselves up 17-14.
Coming out of halftime, Mike Hnatkowsky ‘21 threw four touchdowns, leading the Mules to a 45-21 victory and continuing their undefeated season.
The Mules received a big game from tight end Ryan Curtiss ‘20, whose efforts propelled the team to take down a 3-3 Ursinus Bears group. Curtiss broke the Centennial Conference record for tight ends with three more touchdown receptions. In addition to his three touchdowns, Curtiss finished the day with 103 yards on seven receptions.
“As a team, we take each week game by game and never look past the next opponent we have,” said Curtiss. “We had two weeks to prepare for Ursinus and that was all we were focused on. Our ultimate goal is to be undefeated in the regular season, but we make sure to take care of business week by week by going 1-0 each week.”
The energy that comes with a Friday night game is something that Curtiss credits as a major motivator for the win.
“The atmosphere at the game was electric. Having played every game for the past four years on Saturdays, it was really fun and a cool experience to have a game under the lights on a Friday. The energy and atmosphere was much different but provided us a boost to play very well, as we did.” said Curtiss.
Looking toward the future, especially towards Mount Union, Curtiss plans to take it one game at a time. “No matter what opponent is in front of us, we will play them the same way and give it our all. We are an experienced team and have postseason experience which will help us down the road. We control our destiny and our group of guys are ready for any challenge and will be prepared.” Curtiss added.
For running back James Diggs ‘21, the team’s success as a major win. “The main factor was playing through our mishaps. In the first half we made a couple mistakes and we were able to fight through those mistakes. Once we got back to playing our brand of football, we were in good shape and the Mules were able to keep rolling,” said Diggs.
Diggs stresses working together and coming up from the small mistakes that the team makes.
Just like Curtiss, Diggs felt something special about playing on a Friday night, especially for his first Friday night game.
“The night game definitely brought a different vibe to the stadium for sure. It was a little weird at first with us being under the lights and everything, but when we were on the field playing, it was a really cool environment,” said Diggs.
With this game in the past, the junior halfback looks towards the next game. “Right now we’re only focused on whoever’s in front of us. We take things one game at a time and focus on whoever’s in front of us.” Diggs remarked.
For this victory, wide receiver Max Kirin ‘20, in a wildcat formation, found Curtiss and connected for his second touchdown on the day.
Kirin praises the team for their performance Friday night, believing that it sprung from their intense practices.
“Our work ethic in practice has been great. Week in and week out we push each other in practice and get a little better every day. We are really hitting our stride as we get deeper into the season because of how hard we practice every day,” said Kirin.
“We are just going to focus on what we can control and what’s in front of us, and right now that is McDaniel. As long as we get better every week, we will be peaking at the perfect time to do some special things in the postseason,” Kirin stated.
The Mules travel to Westminster, Maryland on Saturday, Oct. 26 to take on a 3-3 McDaniel College squad at 2 p.m.