Sunday, November 12, 2017

Turnovers Cost Lebanon Valley Football at Albright

A MAC Football News File Photo
Coming into Saturday afternoon's season finale at Albright, Lebanon Valley held an outstanding plus-16 advantage in turnovers. In the 97th meeting of The Rivalry, however, miscues reared their ugly head as three fumbles and a pair of interception proved the difference in LVC's 28-14 loss to the Lions at Shirk Stadium.

Albright (8-2, 7-2 MAC) scored every one of its points off turnovers, including 21 in the first quarter. The Flying Dutchmen (5-5, 5-4 MAC) moved into Lions' territory twice in the opening 15 minutes but came away empty due to fumbles on back-to-back-to-back possessions.

On LVC's second offensive play, Albright's Isaiah Baylor jarred the ball loose and set up the home team at the Dutchmen 25-yard line. Five plays later, Kyle Dickerson jaunted into the end zone from yard out to put the Lions on the board less than four minutes into the contest.

The visitors looked poised to respond when they marched into the Albright red zone, sparked by a 36-yard catch and run from quarterback Tyler Sterner to wide receiver Tim Pirrone. But another fumble provided a 14-point swing as Kyven Jones ripped the ball from Pirrone at the two-yard line and scampered 98 yards down the home sideline to paydirt to double the advantage at the 7:26 mark.

It was like a bad dream when the Dutchmen gave it right back to Albright on their very next drive. Sterner completed four passes in a row to move his squad to the Lions' 21-yard line but wideout Tyeair Diggs was stripped by Kali Boyce before any points could be put up.

Quarterback Jimmy Lahay connected with wide receiver Mike Jordan to convert a 3rd-and-16 on Albright's ensuing possession and the Lions added their third touchdown of the first quarter when Lahay hit Milton Cordero for a six-yard touchdown to cap the 10-play, 79-yard scoring drive.

LVC hit a wall in the second quarter, as the offense failed to pick up a first down and turned it over for the fourth time.

The third quarter was a different story entirely. Lebanon Valley moved 60 yards in 4:41 and punched it into the end zone for the first time when Sterner hit Pirrone for a 14-yard touchdown early in the second half.

The defense held, forced a punt, and got the ball back for an offense that put together its second sustained drive of the quarter. The Dutchmen marched 82 yards in 15 plays and took 6:10 off the clock before running back Steve Salerno banged through the middle of the line and into the end zone for a six-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-14 with 1:37 left in the third.

LVC looked poised to add more points midway through the fourth quarter following a Sterner scramble and 14-yard pass to tight end Dylan Berberick on consecutive plays. Looking to continue the march on the Albright side of midfield, the momentum shifted when Sterner was picked off across the middle with 8:24 left to play.

A defense that answered the call all day despite precarious circumstances finally broke when quarterback Alec Vignola launched a perfectly-placed, 37-yard touchdown pass down the Dutchmen sideline to Jordan to put the game out of reach with 6:11 remaining.

Turning Point
After falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter, Lebanon Valley mounted a spirited comeback in the third quarter. The Dutchmen scored 14 unanswered and appeared to be marching towards a game-tying score midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Tyler Sterner's pass across the middle sailed high and was picked off with 8:24 remaining. The Lions needed just three plays to double their advantage as quarterback Alec Vignola found wideout Mike Jordan for a 37-yard touchdown pass to put it out of reach with 6:11 left to play.

Inside the Numbers
- The Dutchmen racked up 307 yards of total offense, compared to just 247 for Albright.
- All of the Lions' points came off LVC turnovers.
- The Lebanon Valley defense recorded a season-high six sacks on the day.
- LVC forced three Albright fumbles but the Lions were able to recover each one.
- Quarterback Tyler Sterner finished 22-45 for a career-high 221 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
- Sterner and running back Steve Salerno were the team's leading rushers with 28 yards on the ground. Salerno added a rushing touchdown.
- Tim Pirrone posted 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception on nine catches.
- Linebacker Tim Schumacher made a team-high 10 tackles, including nine solo stops and two tackles-for-loss.
- Defensive end Austin Maguire had a monster game, racking up a career-high 3.5 sacks on five total tackles.
- Cornerback Cody Davis and defensive tackle Ryan Johnson each forced one fumble.
- Linebacker Tyler Lutz broke up two passes.
- LVC's defense racked up 10 tackles for loss on the day.

Season Recap
Lebanon Valley finished the 2017 season 5-5 overall and 5-4 in MAC play.

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

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