November 7, 2015

Lebanon Valley Football - Defense Carries Dutchman Past King's

Photo Courtesy of LVC Athletics
Lebanon Valley rode a stellar defensive performance to a 10-6 victory over Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) foe King's at Arnold Field on Saturday afternoon.

A flea-flicker on LVC's second possession saw Tim Pirrone connect with Gary Wise for the game's only touchdown from 33 yards out following Ryan Fink's run-and-lateral back to Pirrone with 11:27 remaining in the first quarter. Ricky Feggins recovered a fumble following Tommy Garner's strip-sack of Hehre on the previous drive to set up the Flying Dutchmen (5-4, 5-3 MAC) in King's territory.

The Monarchs (3-6, 3-5 MAC) got the board after coming away with the game's only turnover midway through the first quarter. Pirrone's errant pass was intercepted by Tyler Mejasic and King's capped its ensuing 11-play, 47-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal from Mikhail Kniaziewicz at the 4:43 mark.

Following a scoreless second quarter, King's cut the deficit to 7-6 when Kniaziewicz converted his second field goal of the afternoon, this time from 38-yards out to finish off a 12-play, 51-yard drive with 8:47 left in the third quarter.

Marcus Brown got a second chance at knocking down a field goal of his own after his first kick, a 39-yard attempt, was blocked to end LVC's first possession of the second half. On his next attempt, Brown was true, connecting from 32 yards out to extend the lead with 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Monarchs were on the verge of taking their first lead when Justin Burke broke free and scampered down the LVC sideline towards the end zone. Kecelet Metra made the play of the game when he chased down Burke from the opposite side of the field and made a diving tackle at the Dutchmen nine-yard line. His hustle play proved even more valuable when the defense and special teams combined to keep King's off the board on the ensuing drive. Tom Gallagher sacked quarterback Tom Hehre on third-and-goal andJakob Krebelj blocked Kniaziewicz's 35-yard field goal attempt to preserve the lead early in the fourth quarter.

Spencer Moser pinned the Monarchs deep in their own territory with a 43-yard punt that was downed at the King's six-yard line with 4:21 remaining. After gaining a first down, an illegal blocking penalty backed up the visitors inside their 15-yard line. Zachary Adams sacked Hehre three plays later, forcing a fourth-and-25 at the King's seven-yard line with 2:13 left to play. The Dutchmen defense held, the offense got the ball back, and Fink rushed three times to drain the clock.

As a unit, the swarming Dutchmen defense sacked Monarchs' Hehre seven times on the day and held King's runners to just 24 combined yards rushing. Garner (3.0), Gallagher (1.5), Andrew Livingston (1.5), John Salcedo (0.5), and Adams (1.0) recorded sacks on the day.

Offensive Standouts
Jon Jones, Ryan Fink, Gary Wise – LVC's running back tandem of Jones and Fink provided a strong 1-2 punch on Saturday, combining for 161 yards on the ground. Jones rumbled for 88 yards on 18 carries, including a long of 19, while Fink rushed for 73 yards on 19 attempts with a long of 11. Wise caught his second touchdown pass of the season on the flea-flicker that accounted for the game's lone TD. His 33-yard reception proved the difference in a game highlighted by strong defensive play.

Defensive Standouts
LVC linebackers – Tommy Garner, Trevor St. Clair, Tom Gallagher, and Reid Pavlik were outstanding against King's. Garner turned in the best outing of his young career, racking up a team-high eight tackles, including seven solo stops, with a game-best three sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup that prevented a Monarchs' touchdown. St. Clair was his usual self as a defensive force, making seven stops, including five solo tackles, and adding a quarterback hurry. Pavlik did things the hard way, getting no help on his six solo stops to go along with a quarterback hurry. Gallagher made six tackles with 1.5 sacks, one of which came on a key third-and-goal from inside LVC's 10-yard line.

Special Teams Standouts
Kecelet Metra, Brandon McMinn, Jakob Krebelj – This trio made three big time plays on special teams. Metra's hustle led to him making a game-saving tackle on Justin Burke's 76-yard kick return at the end of the third quarter that would have given King's its first lead had the return man crossed the goal line. LVC preserved its 10-6 advantage when Krebelj used all of his 6-8 frame to sky up the middle and block the Monarchs' 35-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing drive. McMinn blew up a King's punt attempt in the third quarter when he rushed off the edge and crushed Eric Haenggi at the Monarchs' 20-yard line, leading to Marcus Brown's 32-yard field goal on the ensuing possession.

Best of the Rest
- Saturday was Lebanon Valley's Senior Day. Prior to the contest, seniors Kevin Antol, Bobby Conlon, Ryan Dotson, Bobby Doughty, Bryan Ek, Ricky Feggins, Darian Feick, Jeremy Franck, Charlie Galante, Tyler Good,Matt Koshinski, Andrew Livingston, Reid Pavlik, Connor Pierce, John Salcedo, Zach Smith, Matthew Smoluk,Trevor St. Clair, Ryan Vaughn, and Clayton Williard were recognized for their contributions to the program.
- LVC's Class of 2016 won 22 games, including the 2013 MAC championship, and earned a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
- The win over King's ensures Lebanon Valley of its ninth season in the past 10 years with a final record of .500 or better.
- The Dutchmen finished the year with a 3-2 record at Arnold Field.
- Tommy Garner's three sacks rank tied for the sixth-most by an LVC player in a single game.
- King's six points is the lowest total Lebanon Valley has held an opponent to this season. It's the lowest total allowed by the Dutchmen since shutting out Wilkes 46-0 in 2014.
- The Monarchs won the turnover battle 2-to-1. LVC has forced at least one turnover in every game this season.
- The Dutchmen were penalized eight times for 58 yards while King's was whistled five times for 48 yards.

Who's Next?
It's rivalry weekend as the Dutchmen travel to Albright to take on the MAC-leading Lions on Saturday afternoon. LVC can prevent its long-time rival from earning a share of the MAC title with a victory next weekend.
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