Saturday, September 23, 2017

Albright Remains Undefeated with Late Field Goal Over Widener

Photo Courtesy of Albright Sports Information
READING, Pa. – Freshman kicker Christian Hagans hit a 29-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to give the Albright football team a 9-7 victory over Widener on Saturday afternoon in the 67th Annual Rajah Shrine Pretzel Bowl.

The Albright offense gave Hagans that attempt with a nine-play, 27-yard drive in the final two minutes of action. On third-and-8 from the Widener 36, Alec Vignola completed a nine-yard pass to Milton Cordero to keep the drive alive. A sack on first down pushed the Lions into a second-and-17 from the 34, but Vignola found Kyle Dickerson for 18 yards, putting the Lions into field goal range in the red zone.

Vignola hit Malik Jackson to put the ball at the Widener 8, and a three-yard loss on a rush by Vignola preceded an incomplete pass through the back of the end zone. That set up fourth down for the Lions at the 11 with eight seconds to play.

Hagans lined up for the 29-yard field goal, and Widener used two of its timeouts in an attempt to ice him. When the ball was finally snapped after the timeouts, Hagans drilled the kick to hand the Lions the lead with just three seconds to play.

Albright took an early lead with a two-yard touchdown run from Chris Dawson midway through the first quarter. The PAT was no good, but the Lions had a 6-0 lead. Dawson's score capped a 12-play, 84-yard drive in 6:11. Vignola hit Mike Jordan for 31 yards on that drive, and he found Cordero on a leaping grab at the Widener 2 on the play before the touchdown run. Vignola was 25-for-45 for 248 yards. He was also sacked three times, marking the first three sacks of the season against the Albright offensive line.

The Lions looked for more later in the quarter. Kali Boyce picked off Graham Jesperson at the Widener 34. The Lions moved to the Widener 14, but Hagans' 31-yard field goal was off the mark.

In the second quarter, Grant Boehler blocked a punt that set up the Lions in Widener territory. Albright made it to the Widener 13, but a fumble forced and recovered by the Pride defense kept the score at 6-0.

The teams traded punts through the third quarter. Widener took over with four seconds left in the period, and the Pride mounted a 12-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Rob Ennis on a fourth-and-goal play with 10 minutes remaining. The extra point gave Widener a 7-6 lead.

The teams each punted twice following the touchdown, but in the hidden battle of field position, Albright was slowly tilting the field in its favor in the fourth quarter. Albright started its fourth quarter drives at its own 22, then its own 45 before starting the game-winning drive on the Widener 38. Widener's two drives following the touchdown began at its own 16 and 10, respectively.

Albright held the Pride to just 167 yards of total offense for the game, with nearly half of that total coming on Widener's lone scoring drive. Boehler was named the Albright's Pretzel Bowl MVP, finishing with eight tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and the blocked punt. Enosh Motachwa also finished with eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Cordero and Dickerson led the Albright receiving corps with six grabs apiece. Jordan had the high mark for yards, finishing with 70.

Hagans added eight punts with a 34.1 average. He had a long of 49 yards and dropped five of his punts inside the Widener 20.

Albright returns to action at King's (Pa.) next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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