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LHU Throws Scare Into Edinboro in 30-22 Loss

Written by: on Monday, November 1st, 2010
By BILL ALBRIGHT
WesternPAFootball Writer

HAVEN — Although it was only Halloween Eve, the only thing frightened at Hubert Jack Stadium Saturday night might have been the Edinboro Fighting Scot football team.

Coming into their matchup with Lock Haven University as a heavy favorite, the Scots escaped with a hard-fought 30-22 win over the bruised and battered, but inspired, Bald Eagles.

After surrendering a pair of early touchdowns to the Scots, one might have thought the Bald Eagles would once again implode into yet another lopsided defeat.

However, if you were one of those doubters, you were totally wrong as the Bald Eagles gave it everything they had while playing arguably their best game of the season only to come up short on the scoreboard.

“The one thing I have been saying all along is that we have good kids,” said LHU coach John Klacik. “They are going to fight to the end and do what we ask them to do. Our guys know what they are up against, they battled and they believe in each other.”

Once again, not only did the Eagles have their opponent to worry about, but they were also hampered with a huge number of walking wounded.

“We were playing with limited forces tonight,” said Klacik. “We have a lot of guys banged up and we had some guys playing both ways. They did an excellent job and I told them that I think that is the first time since game three that we played sixty minutes and gave ourselves a chance to win. This is a good football team when we play smart football.”

For the Eagles, the loss drops them to 0-9 overall, 0-6 in the PSAC-West, while the win improves the Scots to 6-3 overall, even at 4-4 in the PSAC-West. The setback is the 30th in a row for LHU spanning the past three seasons.

The Bald Eagles took the opening kickoff on their own 26 and picked up three first downs that carried them into Edinboro territory. But that is when some of the bad and ugly came on the scene as a snap in shotgun formation was fumbled for a 13-yard loss and a quarterback sack on fourth down turned the ball over to the Scots.

Following the LHU collapse, the Scots revved their engine to score on their first four possessions.

From their own 20, Edinboro put together a drive that covered the 80 yards on 13 plays, D’Andrea Vaughn capping the march with an 18-yard run.

On LHU’s second possession, Terry Turnover showed up as the Bald Eagles coughed up the ball on their on 32, Three plays later, Drew Herrell went in from 12 yards out for the score, and with the PAT, the Scots quickly held a 14-0 lead.

Not to run away and hide, the Bald Eagles exploded for a touchdown on their next possession as they took over on their own 40 and on the third play, Jeremiah Dunchack sprinted into the end zone from 31 yards out for the touchdown. Noah Heimer made it Edinboro 14, LHU 7, with 57 seconds left in the opening period Following the Dunchack 6-pointer, the Scots answered with a 21-yard field goal by Alex Romanias, but the scrappy Bald Eagles came fighting right back to put together a 76-yard drive that took 11 plays to execute, quarterback Jarrett Kratzer hooking up with high school teammate Jay Hartman for a 3-yard touchdown. Heimer’s PAT made it 20-14 Edinboro.

Nine of the points which is more than the difference in the final outcome came off the toe of Romanias, but on the positive side of things, forcing the Scots to go for the field goal meant the Bald Eagle defense stopped them short of the end zone.

“We gave them the second three on the fumble, but I thought our defense played very well in the red zone,” said Klacik. “The only other stop I wish we would have made was that last third down because if we could have forced them to punt, we had some momentum on offense. But again, I thought every guy out there who was playing for us gave it their all.”

When LHU was unable to move the ball out of their end of the field, Romanias nailed a 25-yard field goal to increase the Boro lead to 23-14 at the break.

Following an exchange of possessions via the interception route, the Scots took over on their own 9-yard line.

Five plays into the drive, Harris found Sam Lempke wide open for a 46-yard scoring aerial to build Edinboro’s advantage to 30-14.

As a result of the Lempke TD reception and several other big plays, the Scots built a 119-14 advantage in total yardage in the third period alone.

“After we got the pick, we got sacked a couple of times and lost some yards there and on the next drive we were three-and-out,” Klacik said. “On the play we got sacked on following the interception, we had a guy wide open but we just read the wrong side. That was a missed chance to make a big play, but give them credit because that is a good football team we played tonight. They stopped us a couple of times in the third quarter, but we held our ground a little bit and gave us a chance to do something in the fourth quarter.”

In that fourth quarter, the Eagles made some plays in crucial situations, and as a result, put themselves in a position to win the game.

Kratzer hooked up with his high school teammate Hartman for the second time in the game for a 24-yard scoring play. The Kratzer-to-Hartman combo clicked for the 2-point conversion and with 4:01 left in the game, the Eagles were within a touchdown and two-point conversion away from tying the game.

But unfortunately for the Eagles, the Scots were up to the challenge as they took the ensuing kickoff and ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Leading the LHU offense which racked up 276 total yards was the passing trio of quarterback Kratzer and wideouts Hartman and Jesse Hoover.

Kratzer completed 18 of 33 attempts for 183 yards and a pair of scores, while Hoover caught eight balls for 80 years and Hartman grabbed five more for 56 yards and the pair of scores.

Kratzer and Hartman were teammates at Indian Valley High School and Hartman said the familiarity between the two is a plus now they are once again teammates at LHU.

“I don’t know about (helping in) running routes, but we definitely have a connection,” said Hartman about he and Kratzer. “We graduated from high school together and I caught a lot of his balls in high school so I guess we have some type of connection.”

As for his second touchdown that cut the Boro lead to eight points, Hartman said, “We were hitting the underneath receiver and they tried to jump it (the route) and that left me wide open.”

After a little bit of a slow start, Kratzer warmed up his right arm and nearly led the Eagles to their first win of the season.

“We only have two receivers right now so that makes it challenging at times,” explained Kratzer. “But when we have guys like Jay (Hartman) and Jesse (Hoover) helping us out, I have pretty good timing with them and I know pretty much where they are going to be. It is really nice to have guys out there who we can depend on. That goes for all of our receivers, but right now, we are really limited on our depth.”

As for not letting things get away from them in the second half like they have in many of the previous games, Kratzer said it was just a matter of practicing what they have been preaching.

“The whole year we have been talking about coming out in the second half and playing good football,” he said. “But up to this point, we haven’t done it until tonight. Tonight it was just a matter of us believing that we could do it by coming at them and eventually things would go our way. We didn’t get the win, but we gave ourselves a chance (to win).”

When looking back at all of the blowout losses, Hoover feels that coming close without being able to turn the corner was the toughest loss to swallow.

“Most of our routes were working tonight, and the Indy route set up a touchdown for Jay (Hartman),” explained Hoover. “The safety just bit down on me and that left Jay wide open. “We lost by eight tonight, but this is the first game we can say we played the entire game. It is frustrating because of the number of times we came out after halftime down by seven only to get blown out. They (the losses) all hurt, but when you lose one like this one, it is really frustrating and it hurts more than if you get blown out.”

The Bald Eagles have two games remaining in the 2010 season. They travel to Indiana Saturday to face the IUP Crimson Hawks in a 1 p.m. kickoff before returning home for the season finale yet to be officially determined. Depending on the outcome of games involving Bloomsburg and Mercyhurst, the opponent for the final game of the campaign could be Shippensburg, Cheyney or maybe the regularly scheduled opponent, Bloomsburg.

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