Saturday, September 30, 2017

Big Comeback Fuels Football in 34-31 Win at King’s

A "Game of the Week" Photo
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Albright football team trailed by 17 points on two occasions in the first half and trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the Lions rallied to a 34-31 victory at King's (Pa.) on Saturday afternoon. Isaiah Baylor was a terror on defense for the Lions. He finished with 12 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and recovery that he returned for a touchdown, and five tackles for loss.

The win pushed the Lions to 5-0 on the season and 4-0 in MAC competition. King's is now 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the MAC.

King's led 24-14 at the half after holding leads of 17-0 and 24-7 in the second quarter. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter. Albright quarterback Alec Vignola capped a 12-play, 82-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 24-21 King's with 3:32 left in the third. The Monarchs answered right back with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Zach Whitehead to Corey Flynn with 50 seconds left in the third. That restored the lead back to 10 points, 31-21.

The score stayed there until midway through the fourth quarter. Vignola hit Mike Jordan for 34 yards to the King's 3, and Vignola ran it in for the second time in the game on the very next play to make it 31-28.

The Albright defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession thanks to a third-down run stop by Nate Steffen and Zack Marini, and a seven-yard punt put the Lions back in business at the King's 30. Steffen led the Lions with 16 tackles. Nigel Sealey ran for a first down on the first play of the drive, but the Lions stalled at the King's 15. Kevin Goetz tied the score with a 32-yard field goal with 4:02 remaining.

The Albright defense again stood firm with a three-and-out that included a sack from Enosh Motachwa. The Lions took over at their 44 with 2:31 to play. Vignola started the drive with a 26-yard pass to Milton Cordero and a 10-yard completion to Sealey, but the drive again stalled at the 15-yard line. And, once again, Goetz was automatic on the 32-yard field goal attempt to give Albright a 34-31 lead with 1:33 remaining.

An Albright penalty negated a fourth-down sack on that drive that would have ended the game, but King's took advantage of the play to move into Albright territory. An intentional grounding play on third down set up a fourth-and-16 play at the Albright 39 with seven seconds left. Baylor prevented any miracle endings for the Monarchs, though, as he burst through the line to sack Whitehead as time expired.

Baylor played a big role in the first half as the Lions fell behind, 17-0. He forced Titus Nelson to fumble, and he also recovered it for a scoop-and-score return of 10 yards to make it 17-7 in the second period.

King's responded on its next drive with a touchdown run from Jordan Downes to make it 24-7. King's had the ball with less than minute to play in the first half holding that 24-7 lead, but a 13-yard punt along with a holding penalty on the play set Albright up at the King's 40 with 30 seconds to play. Vignola found Jordan for 32 yards to the King's 8, and two plays later he hit Malik Jackson from four yards out to make it 24-14 with just 14 seconds left in the half.

Jordan finished with seven grabs for 125 yards, and Jackson had five grabs for 110 yards including the touchdown. Kyle Dickerson chipped in with six grabs for 73 yards. All three helped Vignola throw for a career-high 386 yards on 23 completions.

Saturday marked the Lions' third victory this season when trailing in the fourth quarter.

Albright returns to action next Saturday for Homecoming when it hosts No. 10 Delaware Valley at Shirk Stadium. Delaware Valley also moved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in MAC play with a 60-7 win against FDU-Florham on Saturday. Kickoff for the battle of the undefeated teams is set for 1 p.m.

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