September 7, 2018

Albright Football to Host #2 Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday

Courtesy of Albright Sports Information
SERIES BREAKDOWN
• All-Time Series: First ever meeting
 
The Albright Lions football team will play its home opener on Saturday, September 8th when they will host #2 Mary Hardin-Baylor at 1 p.m.
 
Albright dropped its season opening game against Salisbury last Friday by a score of 48-14. The Lions scored first and found themselves tied at 14 in the second quarter, but could not overcome a strong Sea Gull rushing attack in the second half. The game was interrupted by two weather delays with the first initially delaying the game before the second one occurred midway in the second quarter.
 
The two teams have never faced before and this is Mary Hardin-Baylor's season opening game. Albright will travel to Belton, Texas next season to complete the home-and-home series.
 
LEADING THE WAY
Senior defensive lineman David Sanchez caused a lot of problems in the Sea Gull backfield on Friday night. The All-MAC Second Team selection from a year ago registered five tackles (two solo), 0.5 TFL, forced one fumble, and recovered two fumbles. Sanchez's efforts helped the Lions force fumbles on each of Salisbury's first three drives of the contest.
 
Sanchez has already matched former Lion Isaiah Baylor, who led the Lions with two fumble recoveries last season, in one game.
 
 
FORCING THE ISSUE
As a team the Lions recovered four fumbles against Salisbury on Friday night, with three of them coming on the Sea Gulls first three possessions. Three different players each forced a fumble and three different players recovered a fumble. Sanchez led the way with two fumble recoveries, while freshman Jason Smith and sophomore Nate Steffen each tallied a recovery.
 
Senior Zack Marini, Sanchez, and freshman Sam Viera each forced a fumble. This is the first time the Lions have recovered four fumbles in a game since prior to the 2000 season.
 
YOUTH AND VETERAN
Albright started three freshman against Salisbury on Friday night. Kevin Zehner made a start at wide receiver, Jaylan Lawson at cornerback, and Jason Smith at linebacker. Zehner led all Albright receivers with 53 yards on three catches, while classmate Jory Cole added 47 yards on four catches. All in total, 16 freshman saw their first collegiate action on Friday night.
 
With the influx of the new freshman came performances from the Lion veterans. All-Region performer Kyle Dickerson scored the Lions first touchdown of 2018 in the 1st quarter on a 25-yard scamper. Dickerson totaled 59 total yards of offense between receiving and rushing yards against Salisbury.
 
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME
Sophomore running back Will Dogba scored his first touchdown of his collegiate career against Salisbury on Friday night. Dogba scored from one yard out in the second quarter to tie the game at 14 with 6:52 left in the half. In his first action in the Albright backfield, Dogba led the team with 12 carries.
 
OPENING DAY
The Lions are 7-4 in home openers under head coach John Marzka. They have won two of their last three openers which included last season's thrilling opening win versus Salisbury in overtime. This will also be the Lions first ever occasion they have faced an opponent from the American Southwest Conference (ASC).
 
ABOUT THE CRU
Mary Hardin-Baylor has emerged into a national force during the turn of the millennium with 16 trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The run for the Crusaders hit its peak in 2016 when the team won the school's first ever football national championship after defeating Wisconsin-Oskosh 10-7 in the Stagg Bowl. Last season, the Cru went 14-1 and finished national runner-up to Mount Union. Since 2010, Mary Hardin-Baylor has compiled a 101-8 overall record.