Saturday, October 14, 2017

Lebanon Valley Football Knocks Off Stevenson On Homecoming

Photo Courtesy of Lebanon Valley Sports Information
On a Homecoming Weekend when Lebanon Valley football's all-time winningest coach and top statistical quarterback to ever play were inducted into the LVC Athletic Hall of Fame, the Flying Dutchmen turned in a hall-of-fame effort in knocking off Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) rival Stevenson 31-24 at Arnold Field on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 14.

LVC (3-3, 3-2 MAC) led by as many as 17 points early in the fourth quarter but the defending conference champions showed their resiliency by scoring a touchdown midway through the period before recovering the ensuing onside kick with 5:58 remaining. The Mustangs (3-3, 3-2 MAC) moved the ball inside LVC's five-yard line but defensive end Guy Zimmerman's clutch third-down tackle for loss forced them to settle for a field goal with 3:27 left to play.

Stevenson forced a three-and-out and got the ball back with 2:25 on the clock, moving 34 yards to the Dutchmen 27-yard line. Facing a 2nd-and-5, quarterback Dan Williams sailed a ball over the head of his intended target and safety Anthony Jenkins made a beautiful diving interception at the LVC three-yard line with 1:11 remaining to seal the signature victory for Lebanon Valley.

LVC led 21-7 at halftime but the Mustangs showed signs of life when a lateral pass to Tim Pirrone was jarred loose by SU's Kyle Pieet before the ball was scooped and returned 25 yards for a touchdown by Cory Pietrzyk to make it a one-possession game at the 12:10 mark of the third quarter.

Linebacker Tim Schumacher provided the spark the Dutchmen needed when he picked off Williams at his own 36-yard line and returned it 42 yards to the Stevenson 22. Marcus Brown converted a 31-yard field goal four plays later to push the LVC lead back to 10 at 24-14 with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter.

Schumacher came through again on the Mustangs' next possession by stripping running back Isaiah Austin at SU's 39-yard line before fighting to grab the ball at the bottom of the pile. The Dutchmen turned the Stevenson miscue into points, going 39 yards in nine plays with quarterback Tyler Sterner lunging ahead from one yard out on 3rd-and-goal to push the lead to 31-14 with 12:33 left in the game.

The visitors scored the game's first points when Williams connected with wide receiver Sebastian Vainqueur on a 38-yard pitch and catch to make it 7-0 at the 4:41 mark of the opening quarter.

The second quarter belonged to LVC, however, as the team turned a pair of Mustang turnovers and a blocked punt into 21 points during the stanza. Zimmerman got the party started with a strip sack of Williams that was recovered and returned by linebacker Tommy Garner to the SU six-yard line. Running back Jon Jones rumbled in for his first touchdown of the day on the next play to tie things up.

Special teams' ace Tyler Hodges made his presence felt when he blocked Brody Coleman's rugby-style punt deep in Stevenson territory following a three-and-out. Bret Hertzog fell on the ball at the Mustangs' 12-yard line and one play later, Jones was barreling across the goal line for his second score in as many touches to put LVC ahead 14-7.

On the ensuing kickoff, safety Cale Bruso hit return man Devin Salisbury and knocked the ball loose. Hodges recovered the fumble at Stevenson's 21-yard line and the Dutchmen put together a five-play drive that was capped when Jones took a toss from Sterner and proceeded to lob a pass into the end zone where it was brought in by a diving Tim Pirrone who had a defender draped on his back. The trick play pushed the LVC advantage to 21-7 with 8:50 left in the first half.

It Was Over When…
Clinging to a 31-24 lead with less than two minutes left to play, LVC needed a big play to halt Stevenson's potential game-tying drive. The Dutchmen got that big play from safety Anthony Jenkins. When SU quarterback Dan Williams lofted a ball over the head of his intended receiver near the Lebanon Valley goal line, Jenkins was there to make the diving interception at the three-yard line with 1:11 remaining, putting a bow on the team's most exhilarating victory of the season and sending the Homecoming crowd into a frenzy at Arnold Field.

Jon JonesTyler HodgesTim SchumacherGuy ZimmermanAnthony Jenkins

He may have only netted 70 yards on the ground but Jones was the catalyst for an offense that took it to the Stevenson defense in the trenches. He rushed 23 times and accounted for all three LVC touchdowns in the second quarter; rushing for two scores on back-to-back touches and throwing a 21-yard touchdown to Tim Pirrone.

Hodges continued to prove his worth on special teams, blocking a punt that led to a Dutchmen TD and recovering a fumble forced by Cale Bruso on a Stevenson kick return.

Schumacher was around the ball all day. He forced and recovered a fumble and added a 42-yard interception return to go along with a tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry.

Zimmerman continued his outstanding 2017 campaign by posting three tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks, a forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries.

Jenkins picked off SU quarterback Dan Williams twice, including in the final seconds to halt the Mustangs' potential game-tying drive and seal the most exciting victory of the season for Lebanon Valley.

Inside the Numbers
- Saturday's win ended LVC's three-game losing streak to the Mustangs.
- With the victory, Lebanon Valley has now won 11 of its last 12 games on Homecoming.
- The most telling stat was the turnover battle, which the Dutchmen won 7-2. LVC recovered four fumbles and racked up three interceptions.
- Stevenson quarterback Dan Williams entered Saturday's game averaging nearly 300 yards passing per game. The LVC defense held him to 238 yards on 43 attempts.
- Lebanon Valley racked up 124 total rushing yards on the day.
- The Dutchmen actually averaged more yards per completion than SU at 10-to-9.5.
- At halftime of Saturday's game, cornerback Ja'von Nelson was named LVC's Homecoming King.
- Quarterback Tyler Sterner finished 11-19 for 99 yards through the air.
- Wideout Tim Pirrone caught a team-high five balls for 45 yards and a score.
- In addition to Tim SchumacherGuy Zimmerman, and Cale Bruso, defensive end Austin Maguire also forced a fumble. Safety Zachary Adams came away with a fumble recovery.
- Cornerback Cody Davis broke up a team-high three passes.
- Linebacker Tom Gallagher finished with a pair of quarterback hurries.
- Defensive lineman Jacob Whitfield had a monster sack of Williams, while cornerback Nick Tucker had two tackles for loss and safety Blake Lutz added another.

Who's Next?
It's back to the road for the Dutchmen when they travel to take on MAC foe Misericordia next Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Be sure to follow @lvcathletics on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook for the most in-depth coverage of LVC athletics.
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