Lock Haven Manhandles Cheyney for First Win of the Season
By BILL ALBRIGHT
EasternPAFootball.com/Western PAFootball.net Senior Writer
By BILL ALBRIGHT
LOCK HAVEN — For the Lock Haven University football team, the monkey is finally off its back!
After showing signs of what it takes to win a football game in six previous outings, the Bald Eagles turned the corner Saturday afternoon at Hubert Jack Stadium as they demolished Cheyney, 56-20, in LHU Homecoming 2015.
“It feels great to get a win,” said a happy LHU head coach Dave Taynor. “I just told the guys on the TV interview that I am already looking toward things that we have to get better at. I felt like we did some things real well and they are going to show up in the statistics. We failed to execute on one series and turned the ball over on another so I feel that if those two things wouldn’t have happened, we could have scored on every opportunity we had. Happy with the win, but there are a lot of things we have to get better at.”
One week ago, starting quarterback Caleb Walton got “dinged” a little bit which put his status in question for Saturday’s game. However, if you look at his final stats, one might wonder if the injury had any effect on him at all.
“My knee got banged up a little last week, but I returned to the game and I didn’t feel that it was enough to keep me out,” said Walton. “My feeling for me not to play is I have to be six feet under the ground.”
In leading his team to the win, the redshirt junior completed 18 of 25 attempts for 342 yards and four touchdowns.
“We had an awesome game plan going into this game and those guys (his receivers) just made a lot of plays,” said Walton. “I put them in the right places and they made some great catches as well as some great runs after the catch. I am real proud of them. Every week we try to end the week 1-0 and Sunday it is back to being 0-0. That is how we attack every week.”
Taynor liked what he saw from his quarterback considering the circumstances.
“I was happy with the way Caleb managed the game,” said Taynor. “He managed the game well considering that he is a little dinged up.”
If there was one area that stood out as a negative to Taynor it was the inability of the defense to get off the field on third down.
“Defensively, we have to do a better job of getting off the field on third down,“ Taynor said. “On their first touchdown drive, there were three times that we committed penalties that allowed them to convert and keep the drive alive. We have to focus on doing a better job with that.”
Leading the LHU defensive unit that held the Wolves to 72 rushing yards on 32 attempts was Mike Williams with 10 tackles, two for loss, while complementing Williams effort were Aaron Hepburn and Carmelo Cruz with a half dozen stops each. Daniel Strawbridge picked off a Cheyney pass, while Dalvin Williams and Tony Ballon both recovered Cheyney fumbles.
“This win means the same as it would any week,” said Ballon. “We start each week 0-0, now we will have to take advantage of the momentum and keep things rolling. As for the defense, we try to get eleven hats to the ball and if you can do that, there is not much of anything that can go wrong. We have a team of guys who like to hustle and that is why I am so proud of the entire team.”
Taynor felt that there was far too much trash talking, especially when Walton was on the ground with an apparent injury.
“There was a lot of nonsense as I walked out on the field when Caleb (Walton) was on the ground,” said Taynor. “Let me just say that their group was just yak, yak, yak and we have to do a better job of handling that type of situation. We have to understand that when you are controlling and winning the game, you don’t drop yourself down to that level in an attempt to retaliate. But hey, the monkey is off our back, we got the first win, we go back to 0-0 and start preparing for Millersville.”
The Bald Eagles scored early and often as they took advantage of a short field on their first two possessions en route to scoring the game’s first three touchdowns.
“I thought we did a lot better job of playing field position football today,” said Taynor. “That has been a little bit of an issue for us thus far so we need to build upon it and carry it over into the Millersville game.”
David Cook hauled in the first of four scoring aerials thrown by Walton, an effort that covered 16 yards less than two minutes into the game. Cook completed his outstanding game with five catches for 120 yards and pair of scores.
Four minutes later, Beau Swales ripped his way to paydirt from eight yards out, capping a 35-yard march that was set up with a couple of outstanding plays by Tyrai Anderson when he broke up a pass to stop a Cheyney drive and later blocked a Cheyney punt to turn the ball over to the LHU offense.
With two minutes left in the opening period, Swales capped his 2-TD afternoon from two yards out to give the Eagles a quick 21-0 lead. For the game, Swales rushed 16 times for 69 yards, complementing the team-leading effort by Malyk Harris of 96 yards on 11 totes.
“Realistically our goal is to be balanced in what we do,” said Taynor. “I don’t know what the final statistics are, but I feel that we ran the ball efficiently and other than missing a few targets, I thought we were pretty efficient throwing the ball as well.”
During the second period, the two teams exchanged a pair of touchdowns, freshman Caleb Kephart scoring from 11 yards out before Walton connected with Farrell Boyd on a 24-yard pitch-and-catch for a score to give LHU a halftime lead of 35-13.
Although holding a seemingly comfortable 22-point lead to begin the second half, the Bald Eagles didn’t sit on their laurels as the Walton-to-Cook connection worked again, this time for 53 yards before Walton called his own number to score from one yard out five minutes later. With the pair of scores, LHU held a 49-13 lead and the Bald Eagles never looked back.
“It all comes down to preparation by the coaches,” said Cook. “They put in a lot of hours and I have to give it up to them because without them, I honestly don’t think I would have had any of the success I had today. This win is important for the team because we cracked the seal. It is our first win, but we just have to keep going. Now it is time to look ahead to Millersville.”
With the Bald Eagles holding a 49-20 lead, Harris got into the scoring act when he ripped off a 34-yard scoring jaunt. Placekicker Alex Boumerhi completed his perfect 7-for-7 day in conversions to set the final.
Now 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the PSAC-East, the Bald Eagles will hit the road Saturday for a conference game at Millersville. Kickoff for that contest at Chryst Field @ Biemesderfer Stadium is set for 1 p.m.
SKIPPING THE SIDELINES: The 56 points scored for Lock Haven were the most since the Bald Eagles beat Edinboro, 56-21 in 1968. The Homecoming win over Cheyney gave LHU its first win of the 2015 season and marked the first career win at The Haven for head coach Dave Taynor…..Walton now has 41 career TD passes, the second-most in school history … The 342 yards passing also pushed Walton into second all-time in career passing yards with 5,013 yards…..The game, which was aired live by Fox 56 Sports, will also air on tape-delay on Wednesday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. on The Comcast Newtork (TCN).
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