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 BY JEFF FALK

 PHOTOS COURTESY OF LVC ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

 The Lebanon Valley College football program says the right things, does the right things, pursues the rght things. But those actions don’t always produce the desired results.

 There is, of course, a bottom line. But just how important is that bottom line?

  As the 2019 Flying Dutchmen season approaches, head coach Joe Buehler enters his fourth season at the helm. While Lebanon Valley has enjoyed its share of success under Buehler, that success has not always been reflected on the scorebard or in the win column.

 During his first three years as head coach, LVC has gone a combined 11-19. And sometimes it’s difficult to figure out exactly where Lebanon Valley has gone wrong.

  “It’s very important. It’s why we play,” said Buehler of the importance of outcomes. “It’s why you turn on the scoreboard. The goal is to win. We want to win every game. But I don’t think you measure a progrm on strictly wins and losses. The reality is it doesn’t always work that way. It’s how you handle it. We want to take the approach, ‘Let’s be the best football team we can be.’

 “That’s not going to be measured in the first game,” continued Buehler. “That’s not going to be measured in the tenth game. But you do expect to see improvement throughout the season. The great thing about football is that it’s not measured by how fast you are or how tall you are. Football is about eleven men coming together each play to be successful.”

 The Flying Dutchmen open their 2019 season – their 122nd year of football – on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Arnold Field, against Franklin and Marshall. Last season, Lebanon Valley went 2-8, after losing its first eight games to start the season.

 Lebanon Valley College enforces some of the toughest admission standards in the Middle Atlantic Conference.

 “A year ago, we didn’t take care of the little things, and it ended up hurting us,” said Buehler. “Those little things can end up being the difference between winning and losing. Lebanon Valley College is going to get smart kids. Not everybody can come to LVC. In Division Three, it’s a little bit of apples and oranges.

 “We’re not going to out-talent you,” Buehler continued. “We’re going to have talented players here, but we’re going to work hard together. You’ve got to know who you are. To pretend to be someone you aren’t is a mistake, in all phases of life. We know who we are. But we can still win a lot of games against good football teams.”

 The Flying Dutchmen are hoping there will be a degree of carry-over from those last two season-ending victories. But ultimately, LVC is starting the season with a clean slate.

 “Last year, we lost a number of close games when we were leading in the fourth quarter, five of them,” said Buehler. “That was tough. But those kids rallied to win the final two and we’re hoping to carry over the positives. There are things you can learn from last year. But it’s a new team. They love playing football. They love being together.

 “I am pleased with the state of the program,” Buehler added. “You keep learning each your, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. We learned last year we had too many guys on this team. We’ve narrowed that. There’s a closer bond because the players know each other better.”

 Part of Lebanon Valley’s optimism revolves around the continued emergence of junior quarterback Kody Kegarise, the athleticism of senior playmaker Tyeair Diggs, the leadership of captains C.J. Steinhilber and Pat Clark and the running of senior tailback Hunter Wilson. The offensive line will be anchored by junior Dakota Johnson-Ortiz and senior Jack Heft, while senior Eamon Blythe and senior Tyler Melhorn will provide depth and flexibility.

 “Things are awesome,” said Buehler. “This team is fun to be around. It’s a high character group. I really like the way they stick together, on and off the field. The bond they’ve created is already strong. I think in close games, it’s going to make a difference.

 “Our depth is a concern,” added Buehler. “We are a young football team. We’ve got veterans in the first unit, but the guys behind them don’t have a lot of experience.”

 On the other side of the ball, the Flying Dutchmen’s defensive efforts will be spearheaded by captain Tyler Lutz, sophomore defensive ends Brandon Brubaker and C.J. Laporta, junior safety Tyler Gerhart, senior safety Anthony Jenkins and senior cornerback Tyler Okomba. Senior Nick Bentz will competently handle the place-kicking chores.

  “I’d like to see us play smart football, four-quarters worth,” said Buehler. “The reality is the margin for wins and losses is always going to be small. This is a group that has acknowledged that. They’ve done all the little things. They do it themselves, because they know it’s important.

 “It was a short camp, which made it difficult,” added Buehler. “We had to squeeze every second out of every day. We needed to see where we were. But we brought in a great freshman class.”

 

 

 

 2019 Lebanon Valley College Football Schedule

 
DATE OPPONENT TIME    
Sat, Sep 7 1:00 PM    
Sat, Sep 14 12:00 PM    
Sat, Sep 21 1:00 PM    
Sat, Sep 28 1:00 PM    
Sat, Oct 12 12:00 PM    
Sat, Oct 19 1:00 PM    
Sat, Oct 26 12:00 PM    
Sat, Nov 2 1:00 PM    
Sat, Nov 9 1:00 PM    
Sat, Nov 16 1:00 PM    
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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