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Cleland’s Big Day Leads Football Past Marist in PFL Opener

by | Sep 18, 2023

Coulter Cleland opted for an aerial attack at Marist. This photo from the home game vs. Barton.


POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – In just his second career start, Davidson’s Coulter Cleland completed 17-of-21 passes for 303 yards to go along with five touchdown throws, as the Wildcats cruised past Marist, 49-21, in Pioneer Football League action Saturday afternoon at Tenney Stadium.

Winners of their last five conference openers, the ‘Cats’ improve to 1-2 overall, while the Red Foxes fall to 0-2 (0-1 PFL) on the young season.

A sophomore from Racine, Ohio, Cleland becomes the first Davidson quarterback to throw for over 300 yards in a game since 2014 and just the fourth in program history with five touchdown passes in a game.

Offensively, the ‘Cats’ balanced attack totaled 514 yards, including 209 on the ground. Mason Sheron led the way with 92 yards on 10 carries, while classmate Mari Adams had 86.

In addition to limiting Marist to just 22 rushing yards, Davidson’s defense forced two turnovers, recorded four sacks and eight quarterback hurries.

After the Red Foxes evened the score 7-7 early in the second quarter, Cleland and the ‘Cats broke the game open with touchdowns on three consecutive drives to take a 28-7 lead into the half.

Jaleel Sales put Davidson in front for good with his first career touchdown, an 18-yard catch and run across the middle. Cleland also connected with Brody Reina for 41 yards down the far sideline and Maxwell Weaver on a 30-yard toss just prior to intermission.

Davidson’s Aaron Maione put the first points on the board for either team when he took a toss 31 yards late in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats carried their momentum into the third quarter as Cleland found his tight end Christian Berry wide open for a 20-yard touchdown reception to all but put the game out of reach.

Adams and his backfield mate Sheron also added touchdown runs of six and 32 yards, respectively, for Davidson.

Up Next
Davidson will play its next two inside Richardson Stadium beginning with a 7 p.m. kickoff against St. Andrews, Saturday, Sept. 23.

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