Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wilkes Football Upended in MAC Opener at LVC 38-20

Photo Courtesy of Wilkes Athletics
Host Lebanon Valley rushed for 369 yards and four touchdowns on way to a 38-20 victory over Wilkes University in both teams’ Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) opener Saturday night at Arnold Field.

Wilkes falls to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in MAC play following the road defeat. LVC improves to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in league games.

LVC jumped out to an early 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter using the ground game to do its damage. Both scores came on 20+ yard gains as the Dutchmen scored on its first two possessions of the contest.

Wilkes began its third drive of the game with promise moving down into LVC territory before Ryan Dailey was picked off by Tommy Garner at the hosts 35 yard line. LVC again used the ground game to move into Wilkes territory, but the Colonel defense stiffened late in the quarter and forced LVC’s first punt of the game keeping the score 14-0 at the end of the first.

Following another Wilkes punt, three runs and a 21-yard completion pushed the hosts back deep into Colonels territory where a two-yard run propelled the Dutchmen advantage to 21-0 with 11:39 left in the first half.   

The Wilkes offense finally found some rhythm midway through the second quarter as Jacob Brook broke free for a 29-yard run and Dailey connected with tight end Garrett Armstrong for 19 yards to move to the LVC 14. From there, Devon Fink moved the ball to the LVC 1 on two rushes before Dailey hit Armstrong for a five yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 21-7 following a Mike Hauck extra point.

On the ensuing possession, LVC used a 14-play, 72-yard drive to move down to the Wilkes 5 before settling for a 22-yard field goal, The hosts headed into the half leading 24-7.

LVC continued its ground attack in the second half using a 57-yard run, which resulted in a fumble in the end zone where the ball was recovered by the hosts for its third rushing score of the game. LVC led 31-7 following the extra point with 12:25 left on the third quarter clock.

Wilkes countered with its rushing attack on the ensuing possession and Fink did not disappoint as the sophomore saw runs of seven, six and 18 before diving in from one yard out to cut the lead to 31-14 with 7:30 remaining in the third.

After another LVC score extended the lead to 38-14 to start the fourth quarter, Jose Tabora came on in relief of Dailey under center scoring his first career touchdown late in the final frame rushing from 15 yards out on a third and long to end the Wilkes scoring at 38-20.

Wilkes went for 190 yards as a team on the ground including 80 yards from Tabora, 56 from Brook and 50 from Fink. The Colonel passing game could never find a rhythm in the contest as Dailey threw for just 91 yards on 11-for-20 passing. The senior signal caller did go over the 5,000-yard mark passing for his career in the process including the one scoring throw to Armstrong.

LVC almost saw two players rush for 100+ yards and scored 28 of its 38 points on the ground. The Wilkes defense did do a good job limiting the Dutchmen passing game to just 84 yards. Tanner Stengel led the defense with a game-high ten tackles.

Wilkes returns home next Saturday hosting local rival Misericordia University at 1:00 p.m. at Schmidt Stadium on Family Day.

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