Nationally-ranked IUP Too Much for LHU
By BILL ALBRIGHT, Senior Writer
LOCK HAVEN — When IUP rolled into town ranked 3rd nationally in NCAA Division II football, some might have wondered just how good the Crimson Hawks actually were.
Not wasting any time answering that question, IUP scored 21 points in each of the first two periods for a 42-3 halftime spread en route to a lopsided 59-17 win over the Bald Eagles in sun-splashed Hubert Jack Stadium.
“They are a very good football team,” said LHU head coach Dave Taynor. “I have to give all the credit in the world to IUP and what they do. It is what a 30-plus scholarship Division II football team in the PSAC can look like. We have to challenge our alumni to come up with something in the neighborhood of seven hundred thousand dollars a year and then we can come and play them on even footing.”
So what led to the slow start by the Bald Eagles?
“The one thing we challenged our group to do this week was to get rid of their leather allergy because we had a reaction for all things leather last week when we wanted to give it away to the other team,” said Taynor. “We wanted to come in this week and play solid enough to not turn the ball over, ending every drive with a kick whether it is a field goal attempt, PAT attempt or a punt and we were able to do that. We just wanted them to end each series with the ball in our hands. We didn’t execute at the start of the game offensively. We open by scripting the first eight plays and that is where some of our youth comes in. We are starting 15 guys who are sophomores or younger and that is when costly mistakes show up in the game.”
Although Taynor and his staff had their script ready to go, the best laid plans don’t always turn out positive results.
“We rep it on Thursday, we rep it on Friday and then they take a test Friday,“ he said. “They do it in a class session prior to the game and then we come out and line up in the wrong formation. When that happens we have to move guys and we don’t have time to execute the play we wanted to run so we are off script before we run the first play. Those things were very evident in game one and although they are less prevalent in game three, we still have cleaning up to do.”
With the game well in hand and only the final score to be determined by halftime, LHU dug deep to come up with some outstanding efforts.
While his LHU career didn’t unfold as he had hoped it would, fifth-year senior quarterback Cameron Tobias (Penns Valley) made the most of his playing time in the second half.
For the game, Tobias finished with nine completions in 10 attempts good for 87 yards and a touchdown despite limited practice time due to being under the weather.
“Early in the week I tweaked something in my back, so I sort of took it easy to see how I felt today,” explained Tobias. “It felt great coming out in warmups and I did what I had to do when I needed to do it.”
Just being able to come off the bench and contribute is huge for Tobias.
“I have done it numerous times since I have been here and I am here to help the team in any way possible,” he said. “I try to do my one-eleventh and if I get my number called, I just need to step in and do what I do best. As for the touchdown, the offensive line held their ground and he (Jalen Jackson) ran a great route.”
Whether it was a pass play or a run, Tobias was quick to point out that the success of any play starts with the offensive line.
“They are banged up right now, but they are busting their butts day in and day out in practice and in the film room with coach (Bill) Nickell, said Tobias. “They are going to the older guys for help and collectively they are working together to get better.”
With Tobias enjoying his fine effort through the airways, that meant that Jackson (Williamsport) had some good opportunities as a receiver. For the game, Jackson finished with four receptions good for 24 yards and a touchdown toss from teammate Tobias. For Jackson, the TD reception was his first of the 2018 season.
“From their game plan we knew their safeties would come down and play inside, outside leverage,” explained Jackson about his TD route. “When we got down there their safety was playing inside leverage, I had a corner route and I knew there was no help coming from the off side. Cam (Tobias) was able to recognize that, I made my move and he got the ball to me.”
Although the final score wasn’t much fun, Jackson admitted that he had fun playing the game.
“It just felt good to get in there and get a few touches,” he said. “I just try to do my part each and every time my number is called.”
Former Central Mountain athlete Austyn Carson also made his presence felt as the freshman kicker punted six times for an average of 35 yards per kick, while also drilling a pair of PATs to go along with a 36-yard field goal, his first three-pointer of his young LHU career.
Skipping The Jack Stadium Sidelines: Despite the loss, the Bald Eagles recorded a number of ‘firsts’ today to highlight the offense… true-freshman Dante Graham (Glen Mills, Pa./Unionville) ran for his first career TD…Ralph Hyland (Philadelphia/Frankford) ran for 109 yards on 10 carries…On the defensive side, Fernando Flores (Manchester, Pa./Northeastern) made a team-high eight tackles. Both Shane Scott (Mount Laurel, N.J./Lenape) and Javon Whitfield (Philadelphia/Simon Gratz) finished with five tackles apiece. Bald Eagle standout Obadiah Asare (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) was one of three players who made four stops for Lock Haven….Starting quarterback Ethan Persa (Schnecksville, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) threw for 150 yards.
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