Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lebanon Valley Football - Dutchman Host Wilkes For MAC Opener Under the Lights

Photo Courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics
Five Things
  1. Due to a heat advisory for Saturday afternoon, game time has been pushed back to 6 p.m. from its original 1 p.m. start time.
  2. Lebanon Valley will look to rebound after struggling in a 30-6 loss at Franklin & Marshall in the team's season opener last weekend.
  3. Joe Buehler '89 is looking for his first win as LVC head coach since taking the reins of the football program this fall.
  4. Today's matchup with Wilkes serves as LVC's Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) opener. The Dutchmen are 2-3 in their last five conference openers.
  5. Lebanon Valley has won five straight over the Colonels dating back to 2011.
Series History
Today's game is the 45th meeting all-time ... Wilkes holds a slim series lead at 23-21 ... Lebanon Valley has won five in row ... For first-year LVC head coach Joe Buehler, it is his first matchup against the Colonels ... Seven of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by one score or less … A 46-0 LVC win in 2014 was the team's first shutout victory since 2009 and biggest since a 49-0 blanking of Lincoln in 1949 ... The first meet­ing in the series was Oct. 3, 1959, a 15-6 LVC win.

Last Year
Lebanon Valley used a huge fourth quarter effort to roll Wilkes 48-17 at Schmidt Stadium last fall. The victory was the Flying Dutchmen's third in a row. LVC opened the scoring thanks to an impres­sive 17-play, 7:50 drive capped by Tim Pirrone's seven-yard touchdown pass to Travis Saylor with three minutes left in the first quarter. The Colonels responded with a 28-yard field goal at 13:59 of the second quarter following a 12-play drive but the scoring would stall for the next ten minutes. The Dutchmen finally added to their advantage when Marcus Brown booted home a 29-yard field goal with 3:12 left in the first half before Wilkes answered with a quick, eight-play scoring drive capped by a 41-yard touchdown pass. But as quickly as the home team drew even, Lebanon Valley had an answer, going 64 yards on eight plays in just 48 seconds. Pirrone finished off the possession with his second seven-yard touchdown pass of the game, this time to Jeremy De La Cruz with 22 seconds left before halftime. The Dutch­men added the first score of the second half when Brown converted a career-long 38-yard field goal attempt following Zachary Adams' interception and eight-yard return on the Colonels' first pos­session of the third quarter. Wilkes cut the defict to 20-17 with a 13-play, 74-yard scoring drive that featured seven PJ Inremona rushes, including a two-yard punch in to cap the march with 7:02 re­maining in the third. But again, the Dutchmen had an answer. They put together a 14-play, 67-yard scoring drive that chewed up nearly six minutes of clock. Pirrone jaunted 18 yards for a touchdown to close out the possession with 1:07 left in the quarter. The start of the fourth quarter spelled the end of any hope of a Wilkes' comeback as Lebanon Valley went 72 yards on 10 plays, adding another touchdown when Pirrone hit Corey Keen from 22 yards out to make it 34-17 LVC. Brendon Irving rushed five times on the team's ensuing possession and capped the offense's final scoring drive of the game with a seven yard touchdown run with 3:51 left to play, but it was the defense that put an exclamation point on the proceedings when Blake Lutz picked off a pass and returned it 46 yards to the end zone with 1:55 remaining.  

Last Week
Franklin & Marshall held Lebanon Valley to just 205 yards of total offense in the Flying Dutchmen's 30-6 season-opening loss at F&M last Saturday. The Diplomats got on the board first when running back Taalib Gerald capped a 10-play, 52-yard opening drive with a touchdown run from one yard at the 7:55 mark of the first quarter. F&M kicker Billy Zwicharowski missed the PAT. LVC's offense broke through early in the second quarter when quarterback Tim Pirrone rolled out to the right, tucked the ball, and dove across the goal line to score the team's first points of 2016. The junior's touchdown scamper capped a 6-play, 69-yard drive keyed by Pirrone's 46-yard pass to tight end Dylan Berberick on the posses­sion's first play. Like his F&M counterpart, kicker Mar­cus Brown was unable to connect on the extra point. The Dutchmen defense clamped down heading into halftime, allowing nothing more than a field goal before the break. Trailing 9-6 late in the half, Adam Wagaman and Guy Zimmerman met quarterback Tanner Erisman in the backfield. The sack came as the second quarter expired, keeping the deficit a manageable three points. It was all F&M in the second half as Gerald's 40-yard run to open the third quarter led to another Diplomat touchdown. LVC returner Michael Gaval twice gave his team great starting field position on kickoffs but the Dutchmen were unable to convert on either possession. The Dips turned an LVC fumble into points when Erisman hit wide receiver Bobby Keyes for a 29-yard touch­down pass late in the third quarter to increase the lead to 23-6. F&M put it out of reach on the team's next possession when Gerald broke a third-down run up the middle and scampered 28 yards to pay dirt to make it 30-6 with 11:54 left to play.

Can't Beat the Heat
Due to the combination of a heat advisory and potential temperatures that can rise to more than 100 degrees at field level, the decision was made to push back Saturday's start time to 6 p.m. from its original start time of 1 p.m.

Historically, Lebanon Valley has fared well when playing in primetime with a 25-16-4 all-time record in night games. The Dutchmen fell to Widener 27-17 in the team's most recent contest under the lights last September. LVC's last night game victory came in the 2013 season opener over Montclair State. The last time Lebanon Valley played under the lights at Arnold Field? That was last season's opener against Franklin & Marshall. This is the third season in the last four years during which the Dutchmen will play at least one night game.

Welcome Home
Saturday's game marks the first home opener for Joe Buehler '89 as LVC head coach. This is his first season at the helm for Lebanon Valley after 12 years as the program's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Buehler took the reins from longtime head coach Jim Monos after playing and coaching for LVC's all-time winningest coach. Buehler coached in the high school ranks for 15 seasons, most recently as an assistant at Cedar Cliff in 2003. Buehler was also the head coach at nearby Palmyra from 1996-2002. In addition, he has served as an assistant at Milton Hershey, Lebanon, and Palmyra high schools. Buehler was an outstanding football player at LVC, where he was a four-year letterwinner and a Second Team All-MAC selection as an offensive lineman.

Team Captains
LVC has three first-time team captains in 2016 in senior wide receiver Travis Saylor, senior center Bryant Weller, and junior inside linebacker Tom Gallagher. The trio was elected by their teammates after the 2015 campaign.

MAC Opener 
Saturday's contest serves as Lebanon Valley's conference opener. The Dutchmen are 2-3 in their last five league openers but are coming off a 37-7 thrashing of Misericordia in their first MAC contest of 2015. LVC is looking to make it two in a row as the program hasn't won league openers in consecutive seasons in more than a decade.

A History of Streaking 
The series between LVC and Wilkes has a way of producing long winning streaks for one side and agonizing losing skids for the other. From 1955-1964, Lebanon Valley won eight in a row against the Colonels. From there, Wilkes won the next eight meetings between the squads. The Dutchmen took the next five meetings before the Colonels reeled off the next 13 straight between 1993 and 2007. LVC is currently riding a five-game win streak over Wilkes.

Irving Running Down History
With back-to-back seasons racking up more than 1,000 rushing yards, tailback Brendon Irving joined former running back and current assistant coach Ben Guiles as the only LVC players to scamper for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. If Irving becomes the first player in program history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark three seasons in a row, he'll also overtake Guiles as LVC's all-time leading rusher. The senior currently ranks third all-time with 3,106 rushing yards and needs 819 more to set the program's career record.   

Dutchmen Pegged Sixth
Lebanon Valley was picked sixth in the annual MAC preseason football coaches' poll. The Flying Dutchmen earned 43 points from the league's coaches. Delaware Valley edged out the defending MAC champs from Albright to earn the poll's top spot with 75 points and four first-place votes. The Lions received more first place votes than any other team with six and totaled 74 points. Stevenson ranked third with 68 points, Widener was fourth with 56 points, and Lycoming rounded out the top five with 50 total points.

Key Dates
There are a number of dates of note on Lebanon Valley's schedule this fall. The annual Coach to Cure MD game takes place on Oct. 1 when Delaware Valley comes to town, while LVC's Homecoming contest will be held the next weekend when the Dutchmen play host to Widener on Oct. 8. The team's matchup with Misericordia on Oct. 29 will also serve as the program's Pink Game, and Senior Day ceremonies will take place prior to the regular-season finale against longtime rival Albright on Nov. 12.

Centennial-MAC Bowl Series Continues
Following a successful introduction in 2015, the MAC and Centennial Conference have announced the return of the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series for the 2016 postseason. The bowl games will take place on Saturday, Nov. 19 at locations to be determined following the final weekend of the regular season. The bowl games will pit the top two teams from each conference that are not selected to the NCAA Division III Championship against each other. The top team from each conference that is not selected to the NCAA Championship will host the second best team from the opposing conference not moving on to NCAAs in one game of the series. Store Sale 
Fans can wear the same authentic Nike merchandise worn by Lebanon Valley's athletic teams thanks to the official online store of LVC Athletics at GoDutch­ Be sure to take advantage of LVC's special sale running through Sept. 25 by entering promo code "SEPT2016" to save 15 percent on orders of $85 or more. Check out 100 percent cus­tomizable shirts, hats, outerwear, and more.

Noting LVC's Offense
LVC's offense is coming off a rough outing that saw the unit muster just 205 yards of total offense in the team's season-opening loss at Franklin & Marshall last week. The Dutchmen accumulated just 115 yards on the ground with Brendon Irving being held to 43 yards after rushing for 100-plus in seven contests in 2015. Lebanon Valley was hurt by two turnovers, including a fumble that led to a touchdown on the ensuing F&M offensive play. Quarterback Tim Pirrone accounted for the team's lone touchdown against the Diplomats, rushing off right end and diving across the goal line in the second quarter. Pirrone finished the game just 10-21 for 113 yards, while Dylan Berberick's lone reception for 46 yards was the longest among Dutchmen pass catchers. Travis Saylor made a team-high four catches and Michael Gaval pulled in three passes for 23 yards.

Noting LVC's Defense
The Dutchmen defense will look to rebound after allowing 352 yards of total offense and surrendering 30 points to F&M last week. LVC especially struggled in stopping the run as the Diplomats racked up 223 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Lebanon Valley held F&M to just 129 yards passing but did surrender a score through the air. Freshman Anthony Jenkins had an impressive debut, making a team-high seven tackles, including one sack. Tim Schumacher and Guy Zimmerman also got after the quarterback and tallied one sack apiece against the Dips. Zimmerman currently leads the team with a pair of tackles for loss. Jenkins, Schumacher, Kyle Murray, and Nick Tucker each broke up one pass last weekend.

Noting LVC's Special Teams
Lebanon Valley's special teams unit, one of the team's strong points a year ago, will try to get back on track after a so-so outing in the season opener. Kicker Marcus Brown missed his only extra-point attempt at F&M, while kickoff specialist Nick Bentz failed to put either of his attempts into the end zone, despite possessing the leg to do it. Spencer Moser punted seven times against the Dips, averaging 35.3 yards per kick with a long of 50 yards. Only one of his attempts pinned Franklin & Marshall inside its own 20-yard line, however. Michael Gaval was a bright spot in the return game, running back a pair of kickoffs for a combined 56 yards and twice giving the Dutchmen offense valuable starting field position.

Scouting Wilkes
King's is coming off a hard-fought one-score loss to Muhlenberg last week. Quarterback Ryan Dailey was impressive, throwing for 306 yards and two touch­downs, while completing 64.3 percent of his passes. Running back Jacob Brook found the end zone and receiver William Deember pulled in 66 yards and a score through the air. Isaiah Robinson led the way defensively, finishing with a team-high 12 tackles.

Who's Next?
The Dutchmen continue MAC play when they travel to Stevenson on Saturday, Sept. 17. LVC will look to avenge a 17-14 loss to the Mustangs at Arnold Field last fall.
Print Friendly Version

Other Williamsport OnLine Websites