September 19, 2015

Lebanon Valley Football - Dutchmen Defense Shines In Setback to Stevenson

Photo courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics
Annville, PA - How It Happened: 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 Salcedostripped 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 wideout Travis 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.

Offensive Standouts
Travis Saylor, Brendon Irving, Tim Pirrone – Saylor turned in the best performance of his career. The junior wideout hauled in six passes for 91 yards, including a 43-yard catch that enabled the Dutchmen to take their first lead of the game two plays later. Irving was his usual steady self. Despite a lack of flashy plays, the junior tailback plowed ahead for 120 yards on 23 carries, including a 20-yard gain on a shifty rush up the middle in the third quarter. After seeing time as a wide receiver and return specialist in the team's first two outings, the sophomore stepped under center and led LVC on two scoring drives. He threw for 124 yards and ran for 54 more and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, a handful of Stevenson sacks hurt his stat line.

Defensive Standouts
Secondary, Trevor St. Clair, Andrew Livingston, John Salcedo – It must be noted that the entire Dutchmen defense deserves a heap of praise. 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. Kevin Antol, Ricky Feggins,Bryan Ek, Spencer Moser, Connor Pierce, and Kyle Murray were stout. 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. St. Clair made five tackles and came up with a key red zone interception late in the second half while Livingston and Salcedo were the defensive line's top tacklers on the day. Livingston made six stops including one for loss while Salcedo had four stops, including one for loss, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.

Special Teams Standouts
Nick Newton, Jeremy De La Cruz, Ryan Heim – Newton booted three kickoffs, averaging 56 yards per attempt including one touchback. De La Cruz and Heim had just one return each but both made the most of their chances with De La Cruz showing off his elusiveness on a 27-yard, second half punt return and Heim barreling ahead for 26 yards on a kick return.

Best of the Rest
- Lebanon Valley hasn't started 2-0 in MAC play since 1979.
- LVC has dropped its last two games against Stevenson after winning the first three contests since the series began in 2011.
- The Dutchmen defense held Stevenson to 17 points, with one score coming via the Mustang defense, and 129 passing yards. Coming into the game, Stevenson was averaging 29 points and 228.5 yards through the air per contest.
- Kevin Antol is now LVC's team-leader in tackles for loss while Ricky Feggins leads the squad in interceptions, both with three. Trevor St. Clair continues to lead the team in tackles with 23.
- Brendon Irving extended his streak of games with 100-plus rushing yards to eight.
- Irving currently ranks fourth on LVC's all-time rushing list with 2,545 yards.
- Sophomore wideout Kyle Zimnik made the first catch of his career on Saturday.
- Freshman linebacker Zach Martin had two tackles against Stevenson, his first collegiate stops.
- Reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Week Brady Kempa made eight tackles, including a game-high 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks for the Mustangs.
- The Dutchmen committed eight turnovers (four fumbles and four interceptions) while Stevenson turned it over four times (three interceptions, one fumble).

Who's Next?
LVC travels to Widener for another conference matchup on Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, was moved up due to logistical concerns stemming from Pope Francis' highly anticipated visit to Philadelphia next weekend.
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