Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lebanon Valley Football - Dutchman Hosts King's for Annual Pink Game

Image Courtesy of LVC Sports Information
Five Things
Lebanon Valley is coming off its first victory of 2017; a 36-0 thrashing at Wilkes last weekend.
For LVC, it was the team's first shutout victory since 2014.

The Flying Dutchmen are looking to avenge a 21-17 loss to King's in Wilkes-Barre a year ago.
Saturday's meeting is the 19th matchup all time. LVC holds a slim 10-8 lead in the series.
Lebanon Valley is holding its annual Pink Game on Saturday to remind female fans and family to be screened regularly for breast cancer.

Series History
Today's game is the 19th meeting all-time between the two programs ... Lebanon Valley hold a slim 10-8 lead in the series ... King's held on for a 21-17 win over the Flying Dutchmen in Wilkes-Barre last fall ... LVC's last win was a 10-6 victory at Arnold Field in 2015 ... LVC had won eight in a row before King's earned a 10-7 victory in 2014 ... The Monarchs had won four consecutive matchups prior to the Dutchmen's dominant run began in 2006 ... The teams have met every year since 2003 ... The first meeting was Sept. 30, 1995 at King's; an 18-11 LVC victory.

Last Year
Turnovers and an inability to finish inside the red zone cost Lebanon Valley in its 21-17 loss to King's at McCarthy Stadium on Sept. 24. The Dutchmen had to dig themselves out of an early 14-3 hole after the Monarchs scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game. King's quarterback Zach Whitehead capped his team's nine-play opening possession with a touchdown run from one yard out to put the Monarchs ahead 7-0 just 2:51 into the contest. LVC responded with a nine-play drive of its own on the team's ensuing possession. The Dutchmen stalled inside the King's 10-yard line but kicker Marcus Brown got his team into the scoring action with a 25-yard field goal with 8:10 left in the first quarter. The Monarchs added a second score when Whitehead rushed for his second touchdown of the day, this time from two yards out with 4:54 remaining in the opening quarter. The quarterback's run to paydirt finished off an 11-play, 75 yard. Cornerback Spencer Moser sparked Lebanon Valley when he intercepted Whitehead on King's next drive and returned the ball 35 yards to the Monarchs' 27-yard line. The Dutchmen turned the pick into points when quarterback Tim Pirrone sprinted 27 yards into the end zone on the very next play to cut the deficit to 14-10 with 13:59 left in the second quarter. Midway through the quarter, LVC forced another turnover when Adam Wagaman recovered a Devon Weidman fumble. Again, the Dutchmen capitalized when Pirrone capped the ensuing 12-play, 63 yard drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dylan Berberick. The score gave LVC its first lead of the day at 17-14 with less than two minutes left in the first half. The Monarchs showed off their quick strike offense on the next possession, however, and Whitehead moved King's 57 yards in five plays. The drive culminated with a 25-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Tyler Marroni with 54 seconds left until the break. With less than four minutes to play, LVC used seven plays to move to within yards of the King's red zone and looked to regain the lead for the first time since the second quarter. Facing a third down at the Monarchs' 25-yard line, quarterback Tim Pirrone was intercepted while trying to connect with a Dutchmen receiver near the goal line. King's Jake Manetti made the pick at the three-yard line, giving the ball back to the home team with 3:41 remaining. The defense had the Monarchs pinned in deep but Alvonte Thompson's 17-yard rush gave King's enough breathing room to run out the clock and escape with the slim victory.

Last Week
Lebanon Valley rolled in a 36-0 thrashing of Wilkes in the team's conference opener at WU's Schmidt Stadium last Saturday. After a rough outing against Franklin & Marshall the week prior, the Dutchmen responded in a big way. The defense pitched a shutout and the offense racked up 354 total yards, including 221 on the ground. LVC committed no penalties and won the turnover battle 5-0. The Dutchmen opened the game with an impressive 16-play, 50-yard drive that ended with Marcus Brown connecting on a 22-yard field goal and the defense quickly made a statement when defensive end Ryan Johnson recovered a fumble on the Colonels' first play from scrimmage. The special teams unit got into the scoring act when a high snap sailed over the head of Wilkes punter Bobby Nye and through the back of the end zone with 3:47 left in the first quarter. Before the period was through, the visitors added another touchdown when running back Jon Jones plunged across the goal line from four yards out at the 1:41 mark. The score was set up by a 43-yard free kick return by Jeremy De La Cruz to the Wilkes' 32-yard line. After the defense forced the Colonels to go three-and-out to begin the second quarter, LVC picked up where it left off in the first on the ensuing possession. Quarterback Tyler Sterner hit tight end Patrick Clark for 23 yards on the first play of the drive and bookended it with a 10-yard touchdown strike to De La Cruz. It took just one play for Lebanon Valley to get the ball back, as linebacker Tyler Lutz made his first key play as a Dutchman, picking off Wilkes quarterback Jose Tabora and returning it all the way to the six-yard line. Two plays later, Sterner pushed the ball across the goal line from one yard out to up the LVC lead and Brown added the PAT to make it 26-0. Later in the quarter, Brown capped an eight-play, 44 yard drive with his second field goal of the game, this time from 37 yards away, to make it 29-0 LVC heading into the break. LVC's first possession of the second half ended with points when Sterner capped a six-play, 80-yard march by finding De La Cruz for a 55-yard touchdown strike; the team's longest scoring play of the young season. The defense again wreaked havoc, this time midway through the third quarter, when cornerback Nick Tuckerstepped in front of a pass to pull in LVC's second interception of the afternoon.

History Repeating Itself
Prior to last week's shutout of Wilkes, Lebanon Valley hadn't held a team scoreless since the 2014 season. The last team to be shut out by the Dutchmen prior to last Saturday? Yep, you guessed it. The Dutchmen shut out that same Wilkes program 46-0 at Arnold Field three years ago.

It's Been a While...
Last week, Lebanon Valley did something it hadn't done in nearly 25 years; commit no penalties. Prior to Saturday's victory at Wilkes, the last time LVC went 60 minutes without being flagged by the referees came all the way back on Sept. 10, 1993 when the Dutchmen dropped a 33-7 decision at Johns Hopkins.

What a Difference a Week Makes
Looking at the first two weeks of the season, it's been a tale of two different teams for LVC. In the team's most recent outing, the Dutchmen righted the ship after struggling to get anything going against Franklin & Marshall in week one. In the season-opening loss to the Diplomats, Lebanon Valley managed just 121 yards of total offense, 32 rushing yards, and eight first downs, while converting just one third down. The team also surrendered 333 yards of offense, including 219 through the air and 114 on the ground, 18 first downs, and 48 points. Against the Colonels last week, it was a complete turnaround as the Dutchmen racked up 354 yards of total offense, including 221 rushing yards, and 20 first downs. The defense was also stellar in allowing just 146 yards of total offense, causing five turnovers, and pitching the team's first shutout since 2014.

Pink Game
LVC is holding its annual Pink Game on Saturday in hopes of continuing to raise breast cancer awareness, and particularly to remind female fans and family to be screened regularly for breast cancer. Baked goods and t-shirts will be sold, a football signed by Lebanon Valley players will be auctioned off, and donations will go to the American Cancer Society. A number of coaches, football players, and cheerleaders will be wearing pink sweatbands, bows, and ribbons.

Noting LVC's Offense
After a rough start to the season, LVC's offense came to life in win at Wilkes last week. In two outings, the unit is now averaging 21.5 points per game and 222 yards of total offense. Quarterback Tyler Sterner had a nice afternoon last Saturday, throwing for a pair of touchdowns and adding another on the ground. Running back Jon Jones leads the team in rushing with 66 yards and a touchdown, while Ryan Fink and Paxson Hayes have also seen their fair share of touches in the early going. Wide receiver Jeremy De La Cruz had a breakout game of sorts against Wilkes, making a pair of catches for 65 yards and two TDs, including the team's longest scoring play of the year that came on a 55-yard catch and run from Sterner. Most impressively was the fact that LVC didn't turn the ball over or commit a penalty in the victory.

Noting LVC's Defense
The Dutchmen defense rebounded nicely after allowing 48 points and 300-plus yards of offense in a loss to F&M in the season opener. Against Wilkes, the unit held the Colonels to just 136 yards of total offense and kept a team off the scoreboard for the first time since 2014. Linebacker Tom Gallagher leads the team with 12 tackles, including six solo stops. Defensive end Nick Newton has the team's lone sack and linebacker Tyler Hodgesleads the squad with 3.5 tackles for loss. Defensive linemen Guy Zimmerman, Austin Maguire, Hunter McGuire, and Jacob Whitfield have also made tackles in the backfield. Linebacker Tyler Lutz and cornerback Nick Tucker each came away with an interception against the Colonels, fellow defensive backs Spencer Moser and Mike Gilger have each broken up a pass, and defensive lineman Trent Donlan has recovered a pair of fumbles so far this season. The unit also came away with five Wilkes' turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions) in the victory last Saturday.

Noting LVC's Special Teams
Just about everything that could go right did go right for the Dutchmen special teams group against Wilkes. Kicker Marcus Brown connected on his first two field goals of the young season, sandwiching makes from 22 yards and 37 yards away around a 37-yard miss. Kickoff specialist Nick Bentz averaged 60 yards per boot, three of which resulted in touchbacks. Punter Adam Domovich only punted once but his attempt went 50 yards was downed at the Wilkes one-yard line. Tim Schumacher returned a pair of punts, including one for 36 yards, and Jeremy De La Cruz's big day continued when he returned a free kick 43 yards in the first quarter. The special teams unit even added a safety when the snap on a Wilkes punt sailed over the punter's head and through the back of the end zone early in the contest.

Scouting King's
King's shares the same overall record as LVC at 1-1 but dropped its conference opener to the defending MAC champions from Stevenson last weekend. The Monarchs opened the season with a thrilling 30-27 last-minute victory over Moravian under the lights on Thursday night, August 31. The team is surrendering 32.5 points and 376 yards of total offense per game, while committing three turnovers in the first two outings. Quarterback Zach Whitehead has thrown for 521 yards and a touchdown to go along with 108 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. Running back Jordan Downes has rushed for 73 yards on 22 attempts, while Tyler Marroni and Marquis Miller have already combined to catch 31 balls for more than 300 yards. Linebacker Damon Bruce and defensive back Jake Manetti lead the team with 16 tackles apiece, including Manetti's team-leading seven tackles for loss. Fellow defensive back Trevor Hill has the team's lone interception and linebacker Mando Sallavanti has forced the only fumble of the young season.

Tumminello's Dangerous Leg
One of King's most dangerous weapons in the early going has been Mike Tumminello. Following a strong performance in the team's season-opener, the kicker was named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Week after turning in a perfect day on field goals and extra points in the Monarchs' 30-27 win over Moravian. In that contest, Tumminello made three field goals and converted all three of his PAT tries. His third field goal, coming from 38 yards away, came with 1:37 left in regulation and broke a 27-27 tie. The senior's first field goal was a 36 yarder in the third quarter that gave King's a 17-14 lead. He then kicked a 27-yard FG to give the Monarchs a 27-20 lead with under seven minutes left in the game.

Who's Next?
The Dutchmen close out a two-game homestand when they host FDU-Florham at Arnold Field on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23. The contest will serve as the program's annual Pink Game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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