October 3, 2015

Lebanon Valley Football - Dutchman Battle Back to Take OT Thriller from Lycoming

Team Celebration with QB Tim Pirrone on touchdown comeback OT win.
How It Happened
Tim Pirrone's quarterback sneak from 1-yard out sealed Lebanon Valley's heart-stopping, come-from-behind 41-38 overtime victory over Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) rival Lycoming on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon at Arnold Field.

The sophomore do-it-all athlete earned redemption following a fumble with less than two minutes to play that was scooped up by Lyco's Wyatt Entz and returned for a 47-yard touchdown to give the Warriors (1-4, 1-3 MAC) their first lead of the game.

Pirrone and the rest of the Flying Dutchmen (2-3, 2-2 MAC) snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when the quarterback shook off back-to-back sacks and hooked up with a diving Travis Saylor on 4th and 18 for 38 yards deep in Lycoming territory with less than a minute remaining. Pirrone rolled out and hit Kyle Zimnik for the game-tying touchdown in the left corner of the end zone three plays later. Marcus Brown's extra-point attempt hit the left upright and fell through to give LVC new life heading into overtime.

The Warriors were forced to settle for a 38-yard field goal on their opening possession of the extra session after Trevor St. Clair blew up quarterback Chase Whiteman with a bone-crunching sack on a 3rd and 4.
Lebanon Valley used a roughing the passer penalty, a pair of 4-yard Brendon Irving rushes, and Pirrone's quarterback keeper to move the ball to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Pirrone capped the team's most dramatic victory of the season with his punch-in.

Following a frenetic first half that saw LVC take a slim 21-20 lead into the break, neither team managed to score in the third quarter. St. Clair continued to make things difficult for Whiteman when he picked off the QB's wobbly attempt with 10:11 left in the period. Andrew Livingston put an exclamation mark on the quarter when he ended Lyco's scoring hopes with a sack of Whiteman on a 4th and 6 from the LVC 26-yard line.

The Dutchmen got on the board first following Tim Schumacher's recovery of a Ryan Umpleby muffed punt. Pirrone connected with Gary Wise on the first of his four touchdown passes to put LVC ahead with 11:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Matt Malecki halted Lebanon Valley's early momentum with an interception at the LVC 30-yard line. The turnover led to Whiteman's 10-yard touchdown run four plays later.

The Dutchmen responded with an impressive 8-play, 72-yard scoring drive that saw Irving rush twice for 39 yards, Bobby Conlon break off an 11-yard scamper, Jon Jones rumble twice for 17 yards, and Ryan Fink push it across the goal line from 1-yard out but Lycoming wasted little time drawing even thanks to Umpleby's 89-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff.

LVC reclaimed the lead early in the second quarter when Pirrone rolled out to his right and threw back across the field to Irving on a wheel route. The tailback ran untouched down the Lyco sideline and into the end zone from 23 yards out and Brown's PAT made it 21-14 with 12:29 left in the first half.

After a Lebanon Valley 3-and-out late in the quarter, the Warriors marched 68-yards in just five plays as Whiteman completed two passes, including a 21-yard touchdown strike to Umpleby with 31 seconds left before the break. Devon Flynn's extra-point try failed, allowing LVC to cling to a slim lead heading to the locker room.

Offensive Standouts
Tim Pirrone, Kyle Zimnik, Travis Saylor – What can you say about LVC's do-it-all sophomore? In his first start under center this fall, Pirrone showed poise, toughness, and at times, great touch. He finished 17-29 with a career-high 206 yards passing and four touchdowns. He added 15 carries for 39 yards on the ground, including the game-winning score from 1-yard out in overtime. A lesser player would have folded following his late turnover that led to a Warriors' touchdown. Instead, he led two scoring drives and clinched the dramatic victory for the Dutchmen. Zimnik took full advantage of his playing time on Saturday, emerging as a true threat at wideout thanks to his career-high five catches for 65 yards and two scores. His clutch third-down touchdown grab in the back of the end zone with 25 seconds left pushed the game to an extra session. Saylor continued his impressive play as of late. After catching a 76-yard touchdown from Pirrone last week, he followed it up with five catches for 73 yards and an all-important 38-yard diving grab on 4th down that saved the game for LVC.

Defensive Standouts
Trevor St. Clair, Kyle Murray, Clayton Williard – St. Clair, the team's leading-tackler, was everywhere on Saturday afternoon. He made five tackles, including four solo stops, and added an interception, two tackles for loss, a pass breakup, and a clutch sack in overtime. Simply put, the inside linebacker was a beast against Lyco. Murray continued his strong play as of late thanks to a team-high seven tackles, including three solo stops. His aggressiveness has been his trademark and it continued to shine through against the Warriors. Williard rarely fills up the stat sheet at nose tackle but his ability to take on two blockers at a time was key for LVC on Saturday. The defensive lineman was in the backfield all afternoon and broke through for five tackles, including his second sack of the season.

Special Teams Standouts
Spencer Moser, Kevin Antol, Tim Schumacher – Moser has proven his value as a punter throughout the fall and Saturday was no different. He punted nine times on a gusty day but still managed to average 35 yards per attempt and pin three of his kicks inside the Warrior 20-yard line. Antol finally got his first punt block of the year. After coming close on a number of occasions this fall, he partially blocked Connor Bell's attempt early in the second quarter, setting up LVC with great field position. Schumacher has been excellent this fall kick coverage and his fine play as a gunner continued on Saturday. He recovered a fumble when Chris Umpleby muffed Lebanon Valley's first punt of the day. The recovery led to LVC's first touchdown of the game.

Best of the Rest
- Lebanon Valley held its annual Pink Game this afternoon as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to remind female fans and family to be screened regularly for breast cancer.
- The last time the Dutchmen played an overtime game was at Lycoming in 2014. LVC dropped a heartbreaking 30-29 decision to the Warriors last November.
- Prior to today's win, the last time Lebanon Valley trailed in the fourth quarter and won was in 2013 when the Dutchmen topped Delaware Valley 34-31. It was also the last time LVC won a game in overtime.
- Tim Pirrone is the first LVC quarterback to throw for four touchdowns since Brian Murphy accomplished the feat at FDU-Florham last November. Kyle Zimnik is the first receiver to catch two touchdowns since Tyler George did it in the same game last fall.
- Tailback Brendon Irving extended his streak of games with 100 or more rushing yards to ten dating back to last year. The 2014 all-American rushed 29 times for 117 yards and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass, his first receiving score of the season.
- Six different players in Travis Saylor, Kyle Zimnik, Brendon Irving, Corey Keen, Gary Wise, and Elijah Johnson caught a pass on Saturday afternoon.
- Freshman Steve McNeal had a coming out party against the Warriors. He made a career-high six tackles, including a team-high five solo stops. Tommy Garner also made six stops with five solo tackles.
- The combined 79 points scored matches a season-high for a game in which the Dutchmen were involved. LVC and Franklin & Marshall combined for the same total in the 2015 season opener.
- Each team committed two turnovers; one fumble and one interception apiece.

Who's Next?
The Dutchmen will host FDU-Florham in the team's annual Homecoming game on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 10. LVC has won its last seven Homecoming contests.
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