BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – As the program has progressed and evolved, the Lebanon Valley College football program has enjoyed more and more success on the field. Now the time has come for the Flying Dutchmen to elevate their play to the next level.
The next logical step for Lebanon Valley involves not only being competitive within the Middle Atlantic Conference, but to contend for the circuit’s championship.
On Saturday afternoon at Arnold Field, the Flying Dutchmen looked like they might be prepared to take that leap, after dismantling Miscercordia 47-7. Following a somewhat sluggish start against the first-year Cougars, LVC scored the first 34 points of the game.
Not only was it the first-ever meeting between the two programs, it was also the first home football game in the 115-year history of the sport played on artificial turf and with the aid of artificial lightning. And the two came in handy after halftime was prolonged by 30 minutes by a thunderstorm.
During the past three seasons the Flying Dutchmen have gone a combined 23-10 under head coach Jim Monos. But Lebanon Valley has not seriously contended for the MAC championship, which it last won in 1969.
Next week, the now 2-0 Flying Dutchmen will travel to MAC heavy Lycoming. Misericordia is now 0-2 in its initial campaign.
“Oh yeah,” said Monos to the next-logical-step theory. “That’s our goal. That’s what the guys want. If you look at us against the Del Vals and the Wideners, physical strength was the area we had to improve on if we are going to compete. And I think we are physically stronger. When you get an opportunity to play in big games, you’ve got to win those big games.
“Yeah, I do think we’re ready,” said Monos. “I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t play with emotion next week. It’s hard because we thought we were better than this team today.”
A 22-yard scoring strike from quarterback Leo Kyte to receiver Joey Miller, on a fourth-and-one call, got Lebanon Valley on the board first, with 4:53 remaining in the opening quarter. The risk/reward play culminated a 12-play, 85-yard march.
Then the Flying Dutchmen flexed their muscles at the end of the half, scoring three touchdowns in an 8:42 span to take a 27-0 advantage to the break. A three-yard Evan Fink plunge culminated an 11-play 95-yard posession.
Reserve quarterback Brian Murphy hit Jake Zeigler with a 24-yard scoring strike in the left corner of the end zone. And Fink capped the outburst with a two-yard touchdown blast 42 seconds before halftime.
“I don’t think we took them (the Cougars) lightly,” said Monos. “They (his players) were a little anxious to get out there and play the game. Overall, I thought we executed pretty well. The thing lacking for our football team, I thought we weren’t emotional. We were kind of methodical.
“The difference today was takeaways,” Monos continued. “We had turnovers and they didn’t have any. That was disappointing because that was something I thought we could do. But a win is a win. We need to take care of our business.”
If the result wasn’t decided by halftime, Lebanon Valley took care of that on its first possession of the second half. Brendan Kane’s 18-yard jaunt to pay dirt upped the Flying Dutchmen’s advantage to 34-0.
“I said at halftime that we didn’t play with the emotion we needed to,” said Monos. “There was an expectation. On paper, the kids looked at it like we were the better football team. And we are. After a while, we showed it.”
Lebanon Valley did yield the first touchdown in Misericordia history, a one-yard scoring collaboration between quarterback Jeffrey Plunket and end Dean Lucchesi , with 5:14 to go in the third quarter.
“Here’s the difference,” said Monos. “They (the Cougars) got slammed by a Gettysburg offense that’s not conventional. Our offense is a little more conventional. But they (the Cougars) improved. They got better. Physically they’ve got some work to do, playing in the league we’re in.”
Using a nice balance of run, pass and personnel, the Flying Dutchmen piled up 553 yards of total offense. On the opposite side of the ball, Lebanon Valley limited the Cougars to 244 yards.
“We’ve been practicing on it,” said Monos of his new turf. “We have the surface we like to play on. It rained like cats and dogs, but it didn’t change anything in the second half. It’s the way to go.
“I’m not sure they (his players) fully understand,” Monos added. “We’ve talked about the history of football here. We didn’t always play our home games here. But this was our first game with turf and lights. Someday they’ll be able to look back and say they were part of it.”
Ziegler finished with 82 receiving yards on four catches, while Miller caught five balls for 81 yards. LVC back Pete Panichi carried 12 times for 74 yards.
“We’re 1-0 and in first place in the MAC,” said Monos. “Next week we’re going to another team that’s 1-0 in the conference. We’re in the hunt. But Lycoming is a tough place to go and win.”
Lebanon Valley Rushing
|Cmp – Att – Int||Yds||TD||Long||Sack|
|Leo Kyte||13 – 20 – 1||173||1||37||0|
|Brian Murphy||6 – 8 – 0||145||1||57||0|
|Cmp – Att – Int||Yds||TD||Long||Sack|
|J Puckett||14 – 23 – 0||109||1||17||3|
|C Washo||0 – 1 – 0||0||0||0||0|
|M Pheasant||0 – 0 – 0||0||0||0||1|
|Score by Quarters||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Kickoff Time:||1 pm|
|End of Game:||4:25 pm|
|1st||04:53||LVC – Joey Miller 22 yd pass from Leo Kyte (Sean Fakete kick) 12 plays, 85 yards, TOP 6:19||0||7|
|2nd||08:42||LVC – Evan Fink 3 yd run (Sean Fakete kick), 11 plays, 95 yards, TOP 4:38||0||14|
|2nd||04:27||LVC – Jake Zeigler 24 yd pass from Brian Murphy (Sean Fakete kick failed) 4 plays, 52 yards, TOP 1:40||0||20|
|2nd||00:42||LVC – Evan Fink 2 yd run (Sean Fakete kick), 9 plays, 50 yards, TOP 1:38||0||27|
|3rd||07:17||LVC – Brendan Kain 18 yd run (Sean Fakete kick), 9 plays, 64 yards, TOP 3:34||0||34|
|3rd||05:14||MIFB – D Lucchesi 1 yd pass from J Puckett (S Clemson kick) 5 plays, 77 yards, TOP 1:56||7||34|
|3rd||03:30||LVC – Kenny King 2 yd run (Jake Zeigler pass failed), 5 plays, 65 yards, TOP 1:38||7||40|
|4th||06:36||LVC – Alex Kirchner 1 yd run (Sean Fakete kick), 8 plays, 76 yards, TOP 4:09||7||47|