The Big One

For the Muhlenberg football team, the regular season is almost divided into two parts. There are the first nine games, and then there is that one big matchup at the end of the year.

That one big game, of course, is against Moravian. And with neither the Mules nor Greyhounds advancing to the postseason this fall, whoever comes out on top Saturday will accomplish something not many teams get to experience: Ending the season with a win.

A victory against its Lehigh Valley rival would not only give the Mules another win in the Matte Award competition, but also serve as a potential rallying point for the offseason.

But most importantly, according to senior Chris Hartzell, it would be an exclamation point to another solid season for the Mules.

“This game is really important because the last couple years when we’ve made the playoffs, we played Wesley and lost,” he said. “So it would be really nice to be able to end the year with a win and have a good taste in our mouths. We haven’t really experienced that except for my sophomore year when we beat Moravian, but that was a pretty rough season. It would be really nice, being a senior, to go out with a win.

“We’re really committed to this game; everybody really wants to win. We talked about it with the team, and the seniors have stressed how we don’t want to go out with a loss.”

The game is even more important for the seniors because of their past history with the Greyhounds.

Not only do they want to close out their careers with a victory, senior Michael Porembski said, but they also want some payback for the freshmen and junior years.

In 2008, the Mules entered their final regular season game 9-0 and ranked fourth in the country. But Moravian won in overtime, costing Muhlenberg its second straight perfect regular season.

Last year, a win in Bethlehem would have given Muhlenberg the outright Centennial Conference championship. But the Greyhounds blocked an extra point in the final minutes for a one-point win, forcing the Mules into a three-way tie for the title.

A win Saturday would give the class of 2012 a .500 record against Moravian, and according to Porembski, it would also be the perfect ending to some great careers.

“We are kind of playing for some revenge for those games,” he said. “So if we could beat Moravian, it would definitely bring the season up a little. We had some high expectations for this season and didn’t finish as high as we would have liked, but to close it out with a win against Moravian, and give the seniors a 2-2 record against them, would be a pretty good silver lining for this season.”