September 24, 2015

Lebanon Valley Football - Dutchman Takes On Widener Under the Lights

Photo courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics
Five Things
  1. This week's game, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, was moved up a day due to logistical concerns surrounding Pope Francis' highly-anticipated visit to Philadelphia.
  2. Lebanon Valley is looking to bounce back from a 17-14 setback to Middle Atlantic Conference foe Stevenson in which the Flying Dutchmen committed eight turnovers.
  3. The Flying Dutchmen are 25-15-4 all-time in night games. This is the first season LVC will play two night games in one season since 1960.
  4. Junior RB Brendon Irving carries a streak of eight games with 100-plus rushing yards dating back to last season into Friday's game.
  5. LVC is trying to snap a four-game losing streak to Widener dating back to 2011.
Holy Schedule Change
Lebanon Valley's game at Widener, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26, was rescheduled to Friday night due logistical concerns stemming from Pope Francis' highly anticipated visit to Philadelphia this weekend. A number of other schools in the greater Philadelphia area including Temple University, Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Rutgers-Camden have all either closed their campuses or asked instructors to hold classes online or reschedule them. The Philadelphia Eagles were also forced to play on the road at the New York Jets this Sunday due to the pope's visit.

Team Captains
LVC has five first-time team captains in 2015, all seniors. Kevin Antol, Bobby Conlon, Bryan Ek, Zach Smith, and Trevor St. Clairwere elected by their teammates after the 2014 campaign.

Series History
Friday's game is the 71st meeting all-time ... Widener leads the series 44-24-2 ... After LVC won three straight from 2008 to 2010, Widener has won four in a row ... Two of the last seven meetings have gone to overtime ... Lebanon Valley head coach Jim Monosis 6-16 against the Pride ... The two teams first met on Nov. 30, 1933, a scoreless tie. Widener was still known as Pennsylvania Military College until 1972.

Championship Pedigree
Lebanon Valley and Widener have combined to win at least a share of the MAC championship the past three years. Widener is the defending conference champion and the Pride also won the title in 2012. The Dutchmen earned a share of the MAC crown in 2013 and earned the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth for the first time.

Last Year
A tough Widener defense combined with an opportunistic offense as the Pride - and the rain - spoiled Lebanon Valley's 2014 home opener at Arnold Field in a 45-3 decision. The Dutchmen (0-2) were held to 149 yards of total offense and Matthew Smoluk's first career field goal in the loss. The Pride (2-0), who were receiving votes in the latest Top 25, scored 30 unanswered points in the second half while generating four LVC turnovers. Brendon Irving was an offensive bright spot with 98 yards rushing, and Joey Scerbo had a big game with 2.5 sacks and a batted pass among seven tackles. Widener's Seth Klein passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Anthony Davis, who had 41 yards receiving before being ejected on a targeting flag in the third quarter. Tyler George (5 catches, 58 yards) and Darryl Sweeper (4 catches, 39 yards) led LVC's receivers as Brian Murphy went 9-for-27 for 97 yards. LVC had 143 yards gained via rush, but a pair of safeties on high snaps led to a net of 52 yards. Irving averaged a healthy 6.1 yards per carry, including a 31-yard bustout for the game's longest rush. Widener went ahead with a touchdown on their opening series, then with the rain pouring down in the first half, a high snap was kicked out of the end zone by Murphy for a safety to spot Widener a 9-0 lead. Smoluk hit from 28 yards with 3:20 left in the second to cut the lead to 9-3, but Davis caught the first of his two TDs to end the half and send Widener into the break ahead 15-3. Davis caught his second on the second half's opening drive before a high punt snap led to another safety after Jeff Hacker covered it up to save a touchdown; Terrant Morrison and Klein finished long drives with touchdowns before back-up Chris Wickes, who actually led Widener with 45 yards rushing, capped their win with a four-yard run late in the fourth.

Last Week
Lebanon Valley's defense shined but eight turnovers doomed the Flying Dutchmen in the team's 17-14 setback to Stevenson at Arnold Field on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19. LVC (1-2, 1-1 MAC) threw four interceptions and lost four fumbles in a wild game that also saw the Mustangs (3-0, 2-0 MAC) turn the ball over four times. Cory Pietrzyk's 37-yard fumble recovery and touchdown off a Rasheed Lashley strip sack with 4:59 left in the third quarter proved the difference. Trailing 10-7 at halftime, the Dutchmen got the shot in the arm they needed when defensive end John Salcedo stripped Stevenson running back Kiandre Burrell and strong safety Kevin Antol fell on top of it just across midfield in LVC territory. Three plays later, quarterback Tim Pirrone hit wideoutTravis Saylor for 43 yards to set up Lebanon Valley inside the Stevenson 5-yard line. Pirrone's QB sneak from the 1-yard line capped the 6-play, 52-yard scoring drive. Kicker Marcus Brown-Dulan's extra point gave LVC its first lead of the day at 14-10 with 12:58 remaining in the third quarter. Tim Sternfield's 21-yard field goal put the Mustangs ahead 10-7 late in the first quarter after the Dutchmen erased an early 7-0 deficit when Pirrone rushed off right end and across the goal line from eight yards out with 7:18 to play in the quarter. The touchdown was set up when Tim Schumacher and Chris Santana combined to take down Eric Javie following Antol's forced fumble when a bad snap was juggled by Sternfield during an attempted punt two plays earlier. A nightmarish start for LVC that included a fumble and two interceptions on the team's first three possessions gave the Mustangs the chance they needed to grab the early advantage. After Jimmy Lauer made the recovery following the Dutchmen's first turnover, the visitors marched 31 yards to paydirt in four plays, the last of which saw quarterback Jeff Farrah connect with wide receiver Seth Jordan for an 8-yard score.

Irving's Streak Continues
Lebanon Valley junior RB Brendon Irving is in the midst of an impressive streak of eight games with 100-plus rushing yards dating back to last season. The 2014 all-American's most recent outing saw him rush 23 times for 120 yards in a loss to Stevenson after carrying 19 times for a career-high 190 yards in just three quarters at Misericordia. In the season opener against Franklin & Marshall, he scampered for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. He posted 186 yards and a score in the 2014 season finale against Albright, a career-high 188 yards rushing at Lycoming last season, 135 yards and two touchdowns last fall in a win over FDU-Florham, 149 yards on the ground and three scores in a win over Wilkes, and his streak began against Misericordia last fall when he posted 181 yards and two touchdowns in LVC's 44-16 Homecoming victory over the Cougars.

No Fly Zone
Lebanon Valley's secondary comprised of Kevin Antol, Ricky Feggins, Bryan Ek, Spencer Moser, Connor Pierce, and Kyle Murrayhas been stout in the team's last two outings. Against Stevenson, the group held quarterbacks Jeff Farrah and Daniel Williams to just 129 yards passing and one touchdown after the Mustangs entered the game averaging 228.5 yards per game through the air. Antol forced a fumble, recovered another, and had one tackle for loss. Feggins and Moser each had interceptions, Ek joined in shutting down the Mustang receivers for the majority of the afternoon, and Murray made three stops including one behind the line of scrimmage. Against Misericordia one week earlier, the secondary held Cougar quarterback and MAC Offensive Player of the Week Jeff Puckett to just 147 yards passing on 14 completions with a large chunk of it coming on a completed Hail Mary just before halftime. Feggins picked off Puckett twice on back-to-back possessions.

Back Under Center
Tim Pirrone, Lebanon Valley's sophomore quarterback, was back under center in an extended role for the first time since last season this past Saturday against Stevenson. The shifty athlete had been adjusting to his new role as a kick returner, wide receiver, and option quarterback in the Dutchmen's first two games but was called upon to spell LVC starterTyler Cottle late in the first quarter against the Mustangs. Pirrone was 9-for-21 for 124 yards and two interceptions and made a bigger impact with his legs, rushing 18 times for over 50 yards before a number of Stevenson sacks put a dent in his final rushing total.

Under the Lights
Historically, Lebanon Valley has fared well when playing in primetime with a 25-15-4 all-time record in night games. The Dutchmen fell to Franklin & Marshall 42-37 in the team's most recent contest under the lights in their 2015 season opener at Arnold Field while LVC's last night game victory came in the 2013 season opener over Montclair State. The last time Lebanon Valley played a road game under the lights? That was 1998 against Albright. Even rarer is a pair of primetime matchups in the same season. It's been 55 years since Lebanon Valley played two night games in the same season when in 1960, the Dutchmen defeated Drexel and Upsala under the lights at Lebanon's Alumni Stadium.

Hall of Fame Bound
LVC head coach Jim Monos was inducted into Shippensburg High School's Athletic Hall of Fame last Friday night, Sept. 18. Monos earned ten varsity letters as a three-sport star in football, basketball, and baseball. Monos, a 1968 graduate, started at quarterback for the football team all three years he played. He later went on to play at Shippensburg University where he became the first quarterback to complete 100 passes in a season. Video provided by Jim's son, Todd Monos.

LVC Accolades
A number of Lebanon Valley players have been recognized by various organizations for their performances so far this season:

Freshman K Marcus Brown-Dulan – MAC Football Special Teams Player of the Week (9/7)
Senior SS Kevin Antol – Team of the Week (9/8)

Noting LVC's Offense
After two strong outings to open the 2015 campaign, Lebanon Valley's offense struggled against a stout Stevenson defense last week. Aside from Brendon Irving's 120 rushing yards, LVC was inconsistent. The Dutchmen racked up just 131 yards on the ground after blistering Misericordia for 422 rushing yards the week prior. Tim Pirrone managed 124 yards through the air but was sacked six times. The running game remains Lebanon Valley's strong suit as the team is averaging 276 yards per game on the ground with ten touchdowns. The offensive line's consistency and Irving eight-straight 100-plus yard games have certainly helped. Pirrone and Tyler Cottle have combined to average 148.7 yards per game through the air with Cottle throwing two touchdowns. Through three games, LVC's offense is averaging 424.7 total yards per contest with Irving leading the way with a 152 rushing yards per outing average. Jon Jones is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and Ryan Heim has a touchdown on just four attempts this year. Jeremy De La Cruz (12 catches, 177 yards, 1 touchdown) and Travis Saylor (11 catches, 142 yards) have been the team's most consistent wideouts while tight end Elijah Johnson has pulled in two catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. LVC has to be more secure with the ball moving forward as the team is minus four in the turnover department after committing eight a week ago.

Noting LVC's Defense
The Dutchmen defense answered the call time and time again last Saturday. Despite facing short fields on numerous occasions, the defense held a Mustang offense that put up 38 against Lycoming a week ago to just ten points. LVC is holding opponents to 22 points, 179 passing yards, and 213 rushing yards per game. The secondary has been stout with cornerback Ricky Fegginsleading the team in interceptions with three while fellow defensive backs Bryan Ek and Spencer Moser have each picked off one pass. Inside linebacker Trevor St. Clair is the team's top tackler with 23, including 15 solo stops and an interception. Strong safetyKevin Antol has made a team-best three tackles for loss while Reid Pavlik, Tom Gallagher, Andrew Livingston, Connor Pierce, Tim Schumacher, Kyle Murray, Blake Lutz, Clayton Williard, John Salcedo, Guy Zimmerman, and Chris Santana have all made at least one stop behind the line of scrimmage. Salcedo, Antol, and Tommy Garner have all forced a fumble and Antol and St. Clair have recovered one each. For the year, the Dutchmen have forced eight turnovers – six interceptions and two fumbles.

Noting LVC's Special Teams
Special teams has been a bright spot for Lebanon Valley so far this fall. Freshman kicker Marcus Brown-Dulan has proved reliable as he is a perfect 2-for-2 on field goals 20-plus yards and has converted ten extra points. Spencer Moser has been effective in the punting game, averaging more than 40 yards per attempt, including three downed inside the opposing 20-yard line, with a long of 52 yards. Nick Newton is averaging 53.7 yards per kickoff on 17 opportunities including his first touchback of the season against Stevenson last week. Ryan Heim is LVC's top kick returner and is averaging 22 yards per return including a long of 26 yards. Bryan Ek and Tim Schumacher, the Dutchmen punt return duo, have taken care of the ball when presented with the opportunity.

Scouting Widener
Widener is coming off a 27-10 loss to undefeated Albright last Saturday despite outgaining the Lions 284-to-132 in total offense. Opponents have outscored the Pride 71-to-63 so far this season but Widener's offense has outgained its counterparts by a 394.7-to-197.0 yards per game clip. The Pride is doing most of its damage through the air, averaging 290 passing yards per contest with three touchdowns compared to 104.7 yards on the ground per game. Quarterback Seth Klein has thrown for 820 yards and three scores, Robert Getz is the team's leading-rusher with just 92 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, and wideouts Philip Ragona, Eric Sharpe, Max Kutler, and Connor Schlegel have all totaled over 100 yards receiving to this point. Widener's secondary has limited opponents to just 77.7 passing yards per outing and Jamal Goodman, Christian Maiden, and Travon Barnes each have one interception. Steve Gozur leads the team with 23 tackles and Stacey Sunnerville is the team's sack leader with 2.5. Widener is minus-one in the turnover category after losing two fumbles and throwing two picks.

Who's Next?
The Dutchmen return to the friendly confines of Arnold Field next Saturday to host MAC foe Lycoming on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 3. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. The matchup with the Warriors is LVC's 2015 Pink Game.
Print Friendly Version