November 6, 2015

Lebanon Valley Football - Dutchman Game Preview Vs King's On Senior Day

Photo Courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics
Five Things You Need To Know
  1. Lebanon Valley's season-best three-game win-streak was snapped when no. 24 Delaware Valley defeated the Flying Dutchmen 28-21 last weekend.
  2. Wide receiver Michael Gaval was named to the MAC Honor Roll after returning five kicks for 106 total yards with a long of 45 against the Aggies last week.
  3. Brendon Irving is seeking to move into third place LVC's all-time rushing list and become the second player in program history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
  4. With the announcement of a Centennial/MAC Bowl Series on Thursday, two more MAC teams have a chance to play postseason football this fall.
  5. This weekend's home-finale is also LVC's Senior Day. The Dutchmen are 3-2 in their last five Senior Day outings.
Series History
Today's game is the 17th meeting all-time ... LVC leads the series 9-7 ... LVC had won eight in a row before King's earned a 10-7 victory a year ago ... The Monarchs had won four straight prior the Dutchmen's dominant run ... They have met every year since 2003 ... The first meeting was Sept. 30, 1995 at King's, an 18-11 LVC win ... Coach Jim Monos is 9-5 against the Monarchs.

Senior Day
Before the game, LVC will honor its 20-member senior class as well as its senior manager JR Capatch, cheerleaders Madeline Chronister andCourtney Niles, and athletic trainers Leeca Baran and Derrick Reed. The Class of 2016 has won 21 games, including the 2013 Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championship and made an NCAA tournament appearance that fall.

Last Year
Lebanon Valley's offense never found its rhythm to take advantage of a superb defensive game as the Dutchmen fell to King's, 10-7. LVC's defense allowed only 194 yards and generated four sacks, but the offense managed 232 yards and a single touchdown despite stronger second-half play. Tyler George caught his team-leading sixth touchdown of the season on a 17-yard strike from Brian Murphy in the fourth quarter, but LVC wasted chances to go ahead with an earlier field goal blocked and a pick-six called back on a penalty. Frank Gaffney led LVC with nine tackles, but it was Andrew Livingston who set the tone defensively with eight stops and 2.5 sacks, while Joey Scerbo had six stops, half a sack, and two batted passes. The secondary limited King's to 128 yards of passing as Kevin Antol made two break-ups and Trevor St. Clair snagged an interception. Lebanon Valley was held scoreless in the first half, but kept the game in check with only Patrick Robinson's eight-yard touchdown run the difference, it appeared, heading into the half. With the Monarchs driving on the final play of the second quarter, St. Clair picked off Tyler Hartranft at midfield and rumbled 60 yards for a touchdown, only to have it called back on an illegal hands flag. That gave King's a no-time-on-the-clock play, and Mikhail Kniaziewicz booted it from 33 yards to make it 10-0. The Dutchmen again couldn't make anything out of three third-quarter drives, and Matthew Smoluk's 22-yard field goal bid to open the fourth was blocked by Bob Shaw. After forcing a stop to get the ball back, a big 48-yard completion to George set LVC up in the King's red zone, and one play later George was in the end zone to cut the lead to 10-7. LVC had three more possessions to tie or go ahead, but an interception, turnover on downs, and two last-ditch passes failed to result in points.

Last Time Out
Eric Shorter's 92-yard touchdown reception midway through the fourth quarter proved the difference in no. 24 Delaware Valley's 28-21 Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) victory over Lebanon Valley at Robert A. Lipinski Field on Saturday afternoon. Shorter's grab gave the Aggies (7-1, 6-1 MAC) the lead for good with 8:05 left to play. The Flying Dutchmen (4-4, 4-3 MAC) had tied the score at 21-21 on the previous possession, a 10-play, 42-yard scoring drive capped by Tim Pirrone's seven-yard touchdown pass to Travis Saylor at the 8:52 mark. Del Val scored the fourth quarter's first points, breaking a 14-14 tie when quarterback Dashawn Darden found Michael Jensen for an 11-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal with 12:46 remaining. The score capped an impressive 17-play, 74-yard drive that chewed up over eight minutes of clock. Inside linebacker Tom Gallagher made the key play of a scoreless third quarter when he picked off a Darden pass deep in Dutchmen territory following a bad snap on an LVC punt attempt on the previous drive. It was the game's only turnover. Trailing 14-7 late in the second quarter, Lebanon Valley drew even with the home team when Ryan Fink pushed across the goal line from one-yard out to finish off a dominant 16-play, 70-yard scoring drive that saw the Dutchmen convert a crucial fourth-and-5 from the Aggies' 27-yard line with 2:49 left until halftime. Delaware Valley used some trickeration to grab its first lead of the day when Darden, James Norton, and Tyler Bing executed the hook-and-ladder to perfection, resulting in a 30-yard touchdown that made it 14-7 Aggies with nine minutes left in the second quarter. After falling behind 7-0 to open the game, DVU went 68 yards in 11 plays to get on the board on the team's second possession. A three-yard touchdown run by Armani Fuller-Williams capped the scoring drive that took up 4:51. LVC struck first, moving 63 yards to paydirt in 13 plays on the team's second possession. Fink's touchdown plunge from one yard out accounted for the game's first points and Marcus Brown's extra-point made it 7-0 Dutchmen at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter.

Gaval Honored by MAC
Thanks to his special teams' performance against Delaware Valley last weekend, Lebanon Valley'sMichael Gaval was named to the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Football Honor Roll. The sophomore wide receiver returned kicks for the first time against the Aggies and was strong in that role, returning five kickoffs for 106 total yards, including a long of 45 yards that set up LVC's fourth quarter touchdown drive. Gaval averaged more than 21 yards per return on the day.

Irving Runs Down History
Brendon Irving continues to climb the ranks of LVC's all-time rushing leaders. The junior running back is currently fourth on the program's all-time rushing list with 3,063 career yards on the ground. He needs just 26 yards to pass the 1,000-yard mark on the season for the second straight year. If able to do so, he would join Guiles as just the second player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards or more in back-to-back seasons. Guiles was the first player to accomplish the feat when he racked up a program-record 1,330 yards on the ground in 2010 and followed it up with a 1,226-yard campaign in 2011. Irving's career total ranks behind only Ben Guiles with 3,924, Charlie Parker's 3,707, and Rick Coleman's 3,106 career total. His 21 career rushing touchdowns rank him tied for fourth on the program's all-time list with Coleman. Irving currently ranks atop the MAC and 28th in the nation with 974 rushing yards this fall.

Gallagher Breaks Out
Sophomore inside linebacker Tom Gallagher turned in the best performance of his young career at Delaware Valley last weekend. He racked up a team-high nine tackles, including one sack that dropped Del Val quarterback Danny Farley nine yards behind the line of scrimmage in the third quarter. On the very next play, he recorded the game's only turnover, a key interception that halted an Aggies' drive deep in LVC territory. He also added one pass breakup. For the season, Gallagher ranks tied for second in tackles with strong safety Kevin Antol with 42, including 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks.

Inaugural Centennial/MAC Bowl Series Announced
The postseason outlook for at least two MAC teams changed this week with the announcement of a partnership between the Centennial Conference and the MAC for two postseason football games between member institutions. The Inaugural Centennial-MAC Bowl Series will involve the top two teams from each conference that are not selected to the NCAA Division III playoffs. The top team from each conference that is not awarded a playoff bid will host the second best team from the opposing conference not moving on to NCAAs in one game of the series. The bowl games are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21. The formation of the series comes following the ECAC's announcement that the league's annual bowl games will be consolidated to the campus of Central Connecticut State in New Britain, Conn., meaning a team such as Carnegie Mellon, which has expressed interest in participating, would have to bus 463 miles to do so. The MAC and Centennial will also support the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee partnership with Special Olympics by donating 25 percent of ticket revenue generated during the Bowl Series to the organization. Giving back to local and regional communities not only adds to the comprehensive learning component of Division III, but also provides a venue for passion and service.

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

Freshman K Marcus Brown - MAC Football Special Teams Player of the Week (9/7)
Senior SS Kevin Antol - Team of the Week (9/8)
Sophomore QB Tim Pirrone - MAC Football Offensive Player of the Week (10/4)
Sophomore QB Tim Pirrone - ECAC South Football Offensive Player of the Week (10/5)
Junior RB Brendon Irving - MAC Football Offensive Player of the Week (10/11)
5th-year LB Trevor St. Clair - Team of the Week (10/12)
Freshman K Marcus Brown - MAC Football Special Teams Player of the Week (10/18)
Sophomore WR Michael Gaval - MAC Football Honor Roll (11/1)

Noting LVC's Offense
LVC enters this weekend averaging more than 33 points and 390 yards of total offense per contest. The Dutchmen have leaned on a strong offensive line anchored by Ryan Kingshill, Ryan Dotson, Bryant Weller, Tyler Good, and Zach Smith, and have racked up 245.8 rushing yards to go along with 144.4 yards through the air per outing. Brendon Irving has been consistent on the ground, averaging 121.8 yards per game with a streak of 12 consecutive 100-yard rushing performances dating back to 2014 coming to an end last week. Tim Pirrone has emerged as the team's top quarterback, throwing for 774 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with four rushing touchdowns and a 141.5 efficiency rating. Travis Saylor is averaging 15.2 yards per reception, Jeremy De La Cruz has the team's lone 100-yard receiving effort this season, and Kyle Zimnik has pulled in two touchdown receptions this fall. LVC hasn't committed a turnover in its last three outings and holds a plus-three turnover margin.

Noting LVC's Defense
The Dutchmen defense is allowing 23.8 points and 379.0 yards through eight games this season. Opponents have averaged 161 rushing yards and 218 passing yards per contest with just seven of the 22 touchdowns the unit has surrendered coming on the ground. Linebacker Trevor St. Clair is the team's leading-tackler with 54, including 6.5 tackles-for-loss, and has added three interceptions, 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Safety Kevin Antol and linebacker Tom Gallagher have made 42 stops apiece with Antol adding four TFL and a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Gallagher recording 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and an interception. Reid Pavlik andTommy Garner join fellow linebackers St. Clair and Gallagher as top-five tacklers on the team, while defensive end Andrew Livingston has added 2.5 sacks. Defensive back Ricky Feggins joins St. Clair as a team-leader with three interceptions, while fellow corner Bryan Ek has picked off two passes,Spencer Moser has one, and Blake Lutz returned a pick 46 yards to the house two weeks ago. The unit has forced 21 turnovers on the year; 13 interceptions and eight fumbles.

Noting LVC's Special Teams
LVC's special teams has been consistently strong this fall with kicker Marcus Brown twice earning MAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors thanks to his eight field goals made. Spencer Moseris averaging more than 38 yards per punt with a long of 60 yards. He's also pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line on 13 occasions. Nick Newton's kickoffs are traveling an average of 52.8 yards and returner Michael Gaval was named to the MAC Honor Roll last weekend after returning five kicks for a total of 106 yards, including a long of 45.

Scouting King's
King's can finish .500 by winning out. The team is averaging 21.9 points and 285.1 yards of offense per game. The Monarchs are averaging just 101.9 yards per outing on the ground and 183.3 passing yards through eight games. Gabe Brown is the team's leading-rusher with 371 yards, while Tom Hehre has thrown for 1,088 yards this fall. Mike Palmer leads the team with 529 receiving yards and five touchdowns, while Bobby Russell is the team's leading-tackler with 56 stops, including 4.5 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, a pair of fumble recoveries, and an interception to go along with seven pass breakups. The Monarchs have been turnover-prone, committing 21 and holding a minus-six turnover margin.

Who's Next?
The regular season comes to an end as LVC travels to face longtime rival Albright next Saturday afternoon, Nov. 14. The Lions are receiving votes in the latest top 25 poll and still have a shot at a MAC championship.