Defense Carries Lions Past LVC, 26-14

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By Jimmy McCumber

Junior Mark Capetola set school records with four forced fumbles and 6.5 tackles for loss and the Albright defense was excellent throughout as the Lions defeated Lebanon Valley 26-14, Saturday in Annville, Pa.

Capetola finished with 11 tackles (eight solo) and 2.5 sacks as the Lions didn't allow an offensive point until the final minute of the contest. Classmate Drew Peterson added an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Other defensive standouts included senior Ryan Ott (12 tackles, 2.0 for loss), and junior Matthew Hnatiuk- who returned an interception 51 yards late in the contest. Albright held LVC to 236 yards of total offense and stopped two of three fourth down tries.

On offense, senior Zach Groff rushed for 105 yards on just 13 carries, while classmate Marty Reinhardt scored two touchdowns. Quarterback TJ Luddy was 15-of-27 for 200 yards and one TD.

The Lions only had three yards on offense on their first two chances, as Peterson fumbled a punt early in the first quarter. Albright's defense did its job however, forcing a pair of three-and-outs to open the game.

Senior wide receiver Scott Pillar had two chances to score on the ground, but was stopped inches short on second down and then blown up in the backfield on a third-down carry. On fourth-and-goal Luddy threw a fade route to Pillar but put too much on it, as the pass sailed out of bounds.

Luddy later had a pass bounce off Ryan Melley's hands with the Lions threatening again. Pillar then attempted to pass on a trick play, but couldn't find Luddy as Albright settled for a field goal to open the scoring.

On Adam Galczynski's first series of the game, he completed a pass across midfield to Eric Wade, and then bought a lot of time on third and long before finding Griffin Eldridge down to the LVC 25-yard line.

Groff made a great run, breaking a host of tackles down to the one, but disaster struck as Josh Borelli jumped the route and returned an interception 103 yards for a touchdown.

Luddy came back into the game and drove the Lions to a score in seven plays, with Wade rumbling in from 37 yards out. The Dutchmen tried to drive down at the end of the first half, but Peterson picked off a pass to end the threat.

The Lions kept going for it on fourth down, converting two of them on the opening drive of the second half, and a Daniel Sobolewski field goal increased the Lions' lead to 13-7.

Albright's defense came up big again, stopping a fourth down try by LVC. Pillar made a diving catch on a 32-yard Luddy pass, but Sobolewski's 42-yard attempt was blocked by Zach Halpin.

After Capetola's fourth forced fumble led to a punt, LVC QB Leo Kyte nearly went deep to Joey Miller but just barely overthrew him. The Dutchmen faked the punt but Ott was there as the Lions forced yet another turnover on downs.

The clinching score came after Luddy squeezed a pass between two defenders to McNair near the goalline, and Reinhardt scored on the next play. Reinhardt added another TD a minute later, after Peterson had stripped a Dutchmen receiver.

The Lions finish the regular season at 7-3, 6-3 and will await ECAC selection to find out their fate for next weekend. Albright and Delaware Valley (7-3, 7-2) are the top MAC candidates for ECAC Bowl selection, with Lebanon Valley (6-4, 5-4) also in the mix.