ANNVILLE – One of two things occurred on Arnold Field yesterday.
Either the Lebanon Valley College football team’s inconsistent start to the 2017 campaign continued, and the Flying Dutchmen’s performance simply represented the upside of their back-and-forth equation. Or Lebanon Valley established the start of some elusive consistency.
While only time will tell exactly what happened, there is little doubt as to what will be the key to LVC’s mission going forward.
On a hot Saturday afternoon, the Flying Dutchmen scored a pivotal 24-14 home triumph over Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham. After the Devils knotted the score at 14 early in the third period, Lebanon Valley dominated the rest of the second half.
Now not only has Lebanon Valley alternated losses and wins to open this year, the Flying Dutchmen have also alternated between negative and positive performances. The outcome moved LVC to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the Middle Atlantic Conference.
With the loss, FDU-Florham slipped to 1-3 on the year and 0-3 in the conference. The triumph was Lebanon Valley’s 13th straight against the Devils, and the Flying Dutchmen lead the all-time series 16-5.
“It’s still pretty early,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Joe Buehler. “We didn’t come out in our first game (a 48-7 loss to Franklin & Marshall), and then we dominated Wilkes in all three phases of the game. Last week (against King’s) was a shoot out. This week we played a team that’s getting better. They’ll (the Devils) win somewhere down the road. They’re a dangerous offense. In the first half, we probably left some points out there. But we’ll take the win.
“We definitely ran the ball better, and defensively played better,” continued Buehler. “Our running game is improving, but it’s not where we want it to be yet. We put (Annville-Cleona product) Paxson Hayes in our nine-unit. He runs low to the ground. His running style is good for goal-line sets.”
The pivotal sequence of the game occurred in the middle of the third quarter, right after FDU-Florham had tied the game at 14. On the ensuing possession, the Flying Dutchmen used good field position to methodically march 39 yards in 12 plays, the last of which was Marcus Brown’s 32-yard field goal, with 3:46 remaining in the period.
Lebanon Valley also scored on its initial possession of the final quarter, again making the most of a short field, to push its advantage to 24-14. Ryan Fink accepted a short swing pass from quarterback Tyler Sterner and raced 26 yards around left end to complete a six-snap, 37-yard drive.
“Once we talked about calming down, we did,” said Buehler. “There weren’t a lot of adjustments to be made at halftime. I thought our team calmed down and played Dutchmen football.
“I thought it was a little sloppy in the first half,” Buehler added. “We got caught up in the emotions in the first half. We calmed down at halftime. We just realized we are a good football team.”
Though they never trailed, there were more than a few tense moments for the Flying Dutchmen in the first half.
Lebanon Valley assumed a 7-0 lead with 2:55 of the first-quarter clock showing. Hayes scored the first of his two touchdowns on a seven-yard sprint to the right pylon, after the Flying Dutchmen had traveled 61 yards on nine plays – seven runs and a pair of passes.
The Devils got on the scoreboard 7:29 before the break, but because they botched the extra point, LVC led 7-6 in the locker room.
“We had six penalties called against us in the first half, and we had some other mistakes too,” said Buehler. “We’re an offense that on first down, we need to get something. When we do, we can roll.
“We brought in a young back, Kelvin Nieves, and he gave us a spark,” Buehler continued. “He’s new, and a transfer. When you have someone taking your reps it grabs your attention. But it was good stuff all-around.”
LVC received the second-half kickoff and drove it 51 yards in ten plays and 5:19 to get the touchdown that made it 14-6. Hayes’ two-yard plunge was set up when FDU-Florham was whistled for interfering with Flying Dutchmen receiver Jeremy De La Cruz, a Lebanon High grad, in the end zone.
“We were out numbered in the box,” said Buehler. “They (the Devils) did have some success running the ball. But the plan all along was that they weren’t going to beat us through the air.”
Lebanon Valley out gained FDU-Florham by the slimmest of margins, 320-304 in total yards. The Flying Dutchmen running game produced 205 yards on 55 rush attempts.
Eight different Dutchmen toted the pigskin, including Jon Jones, who carried 16 times for 75 yards. Tom Gallagher showed the way for the Lebanon Valley defense.
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2017 Lebanon Valley College Football Schedule
|9/2/2017||Franklin & Marshall College||Annville, Pa.||L 7-48
|9/9/2017||*||Wilkes University||Wilkes-Barre, Pa.||W 36-0
|9/16/2017||*||King’s College (Pa.)||Annville, Pa.||L 39-44
|Coach To Cure MD Game|
|9/23/2017||*||FDU-Florham||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|9/30/2017||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|10/14/2017||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|10/21/2017||*||Misericordia University||Dallas, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|10/28/2017||*||Delaware Valley University||Doylestown, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|11/4/2017||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|11/11/2017||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|1st||02:55||LVC – Paxson Hayes 7 yd run (Marcus Brown kick ), 9 plays, 61 yards, TOP 3:54||0||7|
|2nd||07:29||FDU – Jagger Green 4 yd run (NickMaciejewski rush failed), 15 plays, 74 yards, TOP 5:45||6||7|
|3rd||09:34||LVC – Paxson Hayes 2 yd run (Marcus Brown kick ), 10 plays, 51 yards, TOP 5:19||6||14|
|3rd||08:22||FDU – Steve Iannone 30 yd run (Mike Panzarino pass ), 4 plays, 55 yards, TOP 1:02||14||14|
|3rd||03:46||LVC – Marcus Brown 32 yd field goal 12 plays, 39 yards, TOP 4:26||14||17|
|4th||11:28||LVC – Ryan Fink 26 yd pass from Tyler Sterner (Marcus Brown kick ) 6 plays, 37 yards, TOP 1:08||14||24|