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Lock Haven Self-destructs in 38-13 Loss to Kutztown

Written by: on Sunday, September 19th, 2010
WesternPAFootball Writer

LOCK HAVEN — Wow, how quickly things can change in the game of football.

For the first 13 minutes of Saturday night’s football game between Lock Haven and Kutztown, it appeared the Bald Eagles were on a mission to end their losing streak when they opened up a 13-0 lead over the Golden Bears

However, on the heels of the strong start, it was what happened for the next 47 minutes that extended the LHU losing streak to 24 games as The Haven self-destructed into a 38-13 loss to the Golden Bears.

“We had a couple times we got the ball and we still had control of the game,” said LHU head coach John Klacik. “Then we get a holding penalty and then we got the offensive pass interference and you can’t do those things and win. If you want to start winning and you really want to win, those are things you can’t do.”

The Bald Eagles came out smoking as they put together a 19-play drive that covered 80 yards resulting in a 10-yard scoring aerial from quarterback Jarryd Burkett to Ian Smith. For Smith, it was the first TD reception of his career.

The kick for the PAT was wide to the left, but with 3:48 left in the opening period, the Bald Eagles held a 6-0 advantage. The 6-0 lead is the first time that a Bald Eagle team held a lead after an opening quarter since October 14, 2006.

“Again I think you look for consistency in anything you do,” said Klacik. “We are a good football team and we can move the football on anybody when we are doing everything the right way. But again, you can’t make mistakes that keep you from winning. Penalties keep you from winning, giving up third-and-longs keep you from winning, bad punts keep you from winning and blocked field goals keep you from winning.”

After an exchange of possessions, the Bald Eagles got a big break when Dan Ogden pounced on a Kutztown fumble on the Golden Bear 31.

Taking advantage of the golden opportunity, the Bald Eagles again went on a march that resulted in their second touchdown of the game. Burkett sneaked over from the one, Noah Heimer tacked on the PAT, and with 8:38 remaining in the first half, it was 13-0 LHU.

For the game, Burkett rushed 19 times for 36 yards while scoring one touchdown, while he also completed 21 of 28 pass attempts for 185 yards and another score.

“It felt absolutely great (to have that success),” said LHU quarterback Jarryd Burkett. “Our offensive line just dominated their defensive line on that first drive. The protection was great, they blocked well, and when that happened, it gave me the opportunity to spread the ball around and overall, we just played terrific football early in the game.”

But hold the phone because the Golden Bears have a couple of calls to make before the break.

Taking over on its own 41, Kutztown needed only five plays to go the distance, quarterback Kevin Morton hitting Chris McCormick for the final 26 yards and the score. Matt Dineen tacked on the PAT to cut the LHU lead to 13-7 with less than two minutes left in the half.

When LHU was unable to generate any type of offense following the KU score, the Bears, aided by a couple of costly LHU penalties, found the end zone for the second time in less than three minutes when Morton found Josh Smith in the corner of the end zone on a fade pattern for the final two yards and the tying score. Dineen’s PAT gave the Bears a 14-13 lead with only 11 ticks of the clock left before halftime.

“That has been our biggest problem all year,” said Burkett. “We have so many mistakes and penalties that just kills our momentum. We couldn’t keep the football from them because we get into those second-and-15 or second-and-20 situations. When that happens, we just can’t get out of them and the end result is that we lost the opportunity to score. We came out fighting in the second half, but again, it was the same old thing, mistakes and penalties.”

One big factor that led to the Lock Haven collapse in the opening 30 minutes was the penalty situation as the Bald Eagles were flagged eight times for 79 yards. For the game it was 11 flags for 105 yards.

“Not only is the number of penalties, but it is the type of penalty and when they occur,” said Klacik. “That is three games in a row now where we had double digits in (the number of) penalties and you just can’t do that and win football games. We just have to watch the films and try to learn from our mistakes.”

Feeding off the momentum of their strong first-half finish, the Golden Bears wasted no time increasing their lead to 21-13 when they marched 53 yards in just four plays on their first possession of the second half, the Morton-to-Smith connection again good for the score.

If you had a hunch that a penalty might have figured in on the drive, you would be right on target. Just prior to the KU touchdown when it appeared that the LHU defense had held the Bears short of the sticks, the Bald Eagles were flagged for a questionable pass interference infraction when it appeared that the Kutztown receiver and the LHU defender simply got their feet tangled up in coverage.

Following the KU score, the Bald Eagles bounced back to drive downfield to a first-and-goal just inside the ten, but a field goal attempt was blocked and once again, they were held short of the end zone. Following the LHU near-miss, the Bears drove the field for another touchdown to take a 28-13 lead and they never looked back.

“In the third quarter they go down and score and we drive it down and we have to make that field goal to keep it a one-score game,” Klacik said. “We get a field goal blocked and all of a sudden, now you have to go for more fourth downs that you shouldn’t really have to, but we did. Those are the things we have to keep working on.”

Now 0-3, the Bald Eagles will be right back at it Saturday when they travel to Erie County to battle the Mercyhurst Lakers. Kickoff for that fray is set for 1 p.m.

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