Bloom Overwhelms LHU
By BILL ALBRIGHT
BLOOMSBURG — The big question facing the Lock Haven University defensive unit going into Saturday’s clash with Bloomsburg was how do you stop the Huskies all-everything tailback Franklyn Quiteh?
Actually, the answer is quite simple. You can’t. You can only hope to slow him down, but even that didn’t work for the Bald Eagles.
Saturday afternoon, Quiteh led the Huskies to a 56-10 win over the Bald Eagles in a PSAC-East matchup at Redman Stadium as he rushed 11 times for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a 33-yard scoring pass from quarterback Tim Kelly.
“They are a great offensive unit,” said LHU head coach John Allen. “They are probably going to be one of the best in the conference by far this year. We knew what they liked to do and we were aware of everything they did today. They did a great job executing and they have one heckuva offensive line and a great tailback which everybody knows. You have to give them their due because they are every bit as good as advertised. They are one of the best teams, both offensively and defensively, in this conference this year.”
Other than on the first play from scrimmage, LHU simply couldn’t block the defensive front seven of the Huskies led by defensive end Larry Webster who had four tackles, a quarterback sack and one-and-a-half tackles for loss.
“They are a tough football team. That is just who they are,” said Allen. “We did some good things along the way, but we just couldn’t stay consistent enough to hang with them. We missed a couple of throws that would have been big-time passes, we dropped the ball a couple of times in key situations which our guys have been good about not allowing it to happen up to this point in the season. We just didn’t have that type of consistency you need to play a good football team.”
One of the good things Allen referred to came on the first offensive play of the game when tailback Brandon Brader broke open all alone down the middle of the field and quarterback Dillon Mazzoni hit him in stride for a 73-yard scoring pass.
“We were looking for a big play to stun them and we got it,” said Brader. “We knew they are a good football team so we were just trying to get some momentum. They did a good job countering it and they played a helluva game today. We need to fix some things.”
Brader said the play was a result of watching film on the Huskies.
“We knew we could get it and that is why we took it right away,” he said. “We didn’t really feel that it had to be on the first play of the game, we just knew that is what they would give us. That is why we took the shot.”
Just as nice as that play to Brader was for LHU, the Huskies answered right back on their first possession by going 74 yards on just two plays, Quiteh scoring his first of four TDs with a 64-yard jaunt to paydirt.
The Quiteh score knotted the game at 7-all, but it was only the first of four unanswered touchdowns by the Huskies as they broke the game wide open by surging to a 28-7 lead less than two minutes into the second period.
Trailing by the 28-7 score, the Eagles put their final points on the board with 9:49 left before halftime when Alex Boumerhi split the uprights with a 43-yard field goal.
Unable to run against the brick wall front seven of the Huskies, the Bald Eagles went to a short to mid-range passing game that worked well for them.
Mazzoni completed 14 of 26 attempts for 206 yards and the one touchdown. Mazzoni’s primary targets were Jesse Hoover with five balls for 49 yards, James Wilbern with four catches for 72 yards and of course, Brader, with a total of three catches that netted him 80 yards and a score to lead the team.
Really it has been there for us since day one,” said Allen. “We have had a lot of success with the vertical (passing) game, but people who are watching film know that I like to push it deep and now we have guys who can stretch the field. Going back to the three-step game was really good for us today. We have to keep that in mind as something we carry week to week. We had to adjust to that today and it worked out really well for us.”
With the game well out of hand, Allen also saw something that he liked from his club in the final quarter. Taking over on their own 20, the Bald Eagles, behind the leadership of reserve quarterback Caleb Walton, engineered a 15-play drive that just fell short of the end zone by a single yard.
“That was a very important possession for those guys and I wished we could have punched that in (for a score) at the end,” said Allen. “We could have thrown it, but I wanted to set the mentality we need to have to improve as a team down there. I thought we were going to punch it in on the fourth-and-one, but again, the guys did a great job.”
For Walton, it was a good experience for him to use as he continues to mature as a college quarterback.
“He continues to grow and grow each week,” said Allen of his redshirt freshman. “He is starting to settle down and understand about the little details instead of pressing and trying to make big plays. He really settled in that fourth quarter and I was pleased with what he did.”
As has been the case thus far in the 2013 season, George Christas and Tony Ballon have led the defensive unit. In the loss to the Huskies, both were credited with eight tackles, while Christas was credited with a tackle for loss and an interception that turned the Huskies away from another possible score.
“It was just man coverage,” said Christas about the interception. “When he (Allen) threw the ball, I just felt I could get in there so I jumped on top of it.”
As for his making a lot of tackles, Christas was quick to point out that as a safety, that is usually not a good sign.
“Honestly I don’t want to make a lot of tackles,” he said. “I am a safety and there were a lot of holes where I was the last man to possibly make the tackle. If I am making a lot of tackles, that is usually not a good sign, but I have to make the tackles when they come to me.”
Now 2-2, the Bald Eagles head west on I-80 and north on I-79 Saturday to Sox Harrison Stadium to battle the Edinboro Fighting Scots. Kickoff for that fray is set for 2 p.m.
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