BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – The Lebanon Valley College football team took care of business. And because it did, it has more business to attend to.
The Flying Dutchmen took a very business-like approach to Saturday’s non-conference meeting with Stevenson, a program in its initial season of inter-collegiate Division Three competition. LVC established its dominance early, opened a huge halftime bulge and left absoutely nothing to chance in a 61-37 rout.
The Flying Dutchmen employed a prolific offense and capitalized on some Mustang turnovers to establish an insurmountable 41-6 lead at the break. In scoring on all seven of its first-half possessions, the Flying Dutchmen piled up 333 yards of total offense, 221 of which came through the passing of senior Colt Zarilla.
With the triumph, Lebanon Valley improved to 3-1 on the campaign. Stevenson, which is located in Maryland just outside of Baltimore, slipped to 1-3 in its inaugural season.
By contrast, the win was the 403rd in Lebanon Valley history.
“I know they took a business-like approach,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Jim Monos of his troops. “During the week, I was concerned about that. We had some guys who were suspended who are big-time players for us. And we had some guys injured. Yes, we did come out and take care of business.
“I’m very pleased,” Monos continued. “The first half was a gem. They’re a dangerous team in my mind. They have some receivers who can go the distance. And we didn’t give up the big plays.”
Lebanon Valley opened a 27-0 lead with 7:46 remaining in the second stanza on a 20-yard field goal from sophomore Sean Fakete.
The Flying Dutchmen turned Stevenson over three times in the opening half. Andrew Burkholder’s 88-yard return of an interception with 12 seconds left in the second quarter capped Lebanon Valley’s uprising.
“He ran out of gas at the end,” said Monos of Burkholder. “He’s lucky he didn’t have to go 89.
“I was really concerned because of our injury situation,” Monos continued. “We were playing some true freshmen in the offensive line. I thought we were a better team than them, but we had to come out and play.”
Wiith 3:02 left in the first half, LVC senior tailback Ben Guiles scored on a five-yard burst to make it 17-0. The touchdown was the 35th of Guiles’ prolific career and tied him with Charile Parker for the program record.
Then 1:58 into the second half, Guiles established his own mark with a ten-yard sprint through the middle of the Stevenson defense.
“We kept him healthy,” said Monos of Guiles. “He had eight carries at halftime, so we were right on track. We’ve got some skill people. We got it going.
On its opening possession, the Flying Dutchmen drove 50 yards in ten plays and came away with a 33-yard Fakete field goal and a 3-0 edge. Guiles made it 10-0 four minutes later when he scored the first of his touchdowns, a five-yard sprint.
“Is that right?,” said Monos when told his squad scored on its first nine possessions. “Is that what it was? That’s impressive when you look at it that way.
/a>”We’re 1-1 in the conference (Middle Atlantic Conference),” Monos continued. “I want to stay in the mix. We didn’t want to take any chances today. We didn’t want to give that team a sniff.”
Saturday marked the third time this season in which Lebanon Valley has scored 27 points or more, and LVC has won each of those contests.
“I really want to get healthy so when it comes time to play our biggest games we can put our best football team on the field,” said Monos. “If someone would’ve said at the beginning of the season that we’d be 3-1 four game in, I would’ve taken it. But now we want more.”
Guiles’ record-breaking touchdown made it 48-6. But with the Flying Dutchmen reserves playing most of the rest of the game, things got a little sloppy.
“We told our kids at halftime, ‘You’re going to get a chance to play,'” said Monos. “Some of them performed, and some of them didn’t. And that was disappointing.
“If I was younger, I would be angry coming out with a win like this,” Monos concluded. “But as I’ve grown older, I realize a win is a win.”