September 20, 2015

Albright Football - Lions Open MAC Play with 27-10 Victory over Widener

Photo courtesy of Albright Athletics
READING, Pa. -- The music in the Albright locker room was loud, but not any louder than after any other victory. It certainly wasn't due to a lack of respect for its opponent on Saturday. After all, Widener is the defending conference champion and was the preseason favorite to win the title this season. But this Lion team is different. The Lions expected to win and thus the celebration afterwards reflected that attitude.

A confident Albright team improved to 2-0 on the young season with a convincing 27-10 victory over Widener in its Middle Atlantic Conference opener on Saturday at Shirk Stadium.

Good teams find ways to win games even when all facets of the team are not operating at a high level. Such was the case for Albright on Saturday.

The Lions used a defensive touchdown and a touchdown from its special teams to offset a sluggish start from the offense. Albright found its groove offensively in the second half and the Lions defense did not permit a touchdown until Widener scored with 40 seconds remaining in regulation.

Donte Thomas, who also intercepted a pass, returned a fumble 63 yards for a touchdown with 9:54 to play in the opening quarter giving Albright an early 7-0 lead. Steve Barroso jarred the ball loose from the receiver and Thomas recovered the loose ball and raced down the sideline for the first touchdown of the game.

Widener, who dropped to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play, trimmed the lead to 7-3 when Ryan O'Hara connected on a 25-yard field goal with 3:52 remaining in the opening quarter.

Albright turned to its special teams to extend the lead early in the second quarter. Luis Quinones blocked a punt and Malik Gilmorescooped up the block and raced 34 yards into the end zone upping the Lions lead to 14-3.

The Lions took a 17-3 lead into the intermission after Daniel Sobolewski converted a 29-yard field goal with 4:45 to play before halftime.

Albright held the lead despite mustering just 28 yards of total offense in the first half, but the Lion defense kept Widener at bay by limiting them to just 135 yards of total offense and the three points.

Sobolewski pinned Widener at its own 5-yard line after a Lions drive stalled early in the third quarter. The Albright defense forced a three and out and Albright took over following a short Widener punt and a 16-yard return by Gerrod Gainer.

The Lions needed only four plays to cover the 22 yards and increased the lead to 24-3 when Mike Knight found Vinny Williams from seven yards out with 5:04 to play in the third quarter.

The Lions final points on the afternoon came courtesy the booming right leg of Sobolewski. The All-American kicker drilled a 51-yard field goal with 11:42 to play in the fourth quarter to up the Albright lead to 27-3.

Widener finally broke through with a touchdown when Seth Klein connected with Max Kutler for a 6-yard scoring pass, but by then the game was decided.

Albright will return to action on Saturday (Sept. 26) when it visits Lycoming for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
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