Pair of picks pay off for Bulldogs
HERNDON – The Tri-Valley defense used a pair of interceptions returned all the way for scores to defeat the Line Mountain Eagles Friday night in Twin Valley League action.
The pair of pick-6’s lifted Tri-Valley to a 27-14 victory and improved the team’s record to 6-3 overall.
“The defense has been getting better and better each week and they really stepped up tonight with the three interceptions,” Coach Jeff Sampson said of his team’s effort, “They set the table for us on offense.”
Line Mountain fell to 4-5 overall with the loss.
Things didn’t start out in the Bulldogs’ favor as the Line Mountain offense struck quickly, scoring on the team’s first play from scrimmage.
Line Mountain quarterback Evan Herb took the snap and faked a bubble screen to wideout Breven Derk. Tri-Valley’s defense bit hard on the play action, leaving Line Mountain’s Garret Laudenslager wide open down the seam for an 83-yard catch and run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
“That is a play I just drew up a few days ago,” Eagles coach Brandon Carson said. “I knew it would work because of the way defenses have been attacking our bubble screen lately.”
Line Mountain staved off a pair of Tri-Valley drives deep into Eagles’ territory, but on Line Mountain’s second possession of the game, the tables quickly turned.
With Line Mountain in the midst of a 10-play drive, Evan Herb dropped back to throw on 4thdown and 10 at the Tri-Valley 34-yard line. Herb floated a pass over the middle that was intercepted by Tri-Valley’s Nick Stiely at the 19 and taken back all the way for the game-tying score.
The rest of the first half was all Bulldogs.
On their next offensive possession, the Bulldogs marched right down the field to take the lead. A 10-play 83-yard drive was capped off by a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dalton Leedy to halfback Ike Lucas.
Tri-Valley scored again on its next possession to take a 21-7 lead. This time the Bulldogs used a 7-play drive to pick up the score. On 1stdown and goal from the 1-yard line, the Eagles’ defense held strong forcing a pair of rushes for no gain up the middle. On 3rdand goal the Bulldogs resorted to the pass and Leedy found Nick Ziegmont on a quick slant for the score.
Tri-Valley took the 21-7 lead into the half, but Line Mountain was set to receive the second half kick. The Eagles seemed to have gone 3-and-out on the opening drive as the punter Derk trotted out onto the field. However, Derk took the snap and motored around the right side of the defense to pick up a first down.
The drive later ended after the Eagles failed to convert on 4thdown and 4 at the Tri-Valley 30-yard line.
With the third quarter winding down, Line Mountain found themselves with a chance to claw back within a score. The Eagles leaned on running back Colby Scott who pounded the ball down the field. Scott ended up earning the score on a 3-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter to cut the Bulldog lead to 21-14.
Tri-Valley found itself in prime position to salt the game away with just under six minutes remaining. The Eagles attempted to fake another punt deep in their own territory. This time Line Mountain could not convert, giving Tri-Valley the ball back on the Line Mountain 10-yard line with 4:49 remaining and a one score lead. After an illegal motion penalty backed the Bulldogs up to 2ndand goal from the 9-yard line, a Laudenslager interception kept hopes alive for the Eagles.
Laudenslager’s interception gave the Eagles one last shot at tying the game, but that hope ended when Tri-Valley returned its second interception for a touchdown on the night.
With 44 seconds remaining, Tri-Valley’s Tyler McGrath stepped in front of a curl route and took the ball down the near sideline to put the icing on the cake for the visiting Bulldogs.
“The last couple weeks the defense has really helped us put points on the board,” Sampson said. “We’ll take them however we can get them.”
Tri-Valley quarterback Leedy completed 57 percent of his passes for 201 yards in the game. He threw for a pair of touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Line Mountain’s Herb had a rough go of things on the night, completing just six of 25 pass attempts for 144 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times,” Carson said. “We have to do a better job protecting the football and being smart and making smart plays.”
Stiely went over 100 yards receiving on the night for the Bulldogs, hauling in four passes for 101 yards. Line Mountain’s Laudenslager led all receivers in the game with three grabs for 120 yards and a score.
One week after rushing for 139 yards individually and 179 yards as a team, Line Mountain’s Scott was held in check rushing the ball 29 times for 81 yards and a score. The Eagles ran for just 100 yards in the game.
“We knew Tri-Valley was going to come at us hard and play aggressive,” Carson said. “They played better interior defense that I expected. We thought we could beat them up inside, but we didn’t.”
Line Mountain lost a pair of offensive linemen in the game to injury and were also without the leading receiver from last week’s game – Adam Malafi – for an undisclosed reason.
Tri-Valley (6-3) closes the regular season with a league game at Susquenita (4-5).
The Eagles (4-5) close the season with a tough test as the team travels to Upper Dauphin (8-1) who will be playing for a chance to earn at least a share of the Twin Valley League title.
Tri-Valley 27, Line Mountain 14
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tri-Valley7 14 0 6 — 27
Line Mountain7 0 0 7 — 14
LM—Garret Laudenslager 83-yard reception from Evan Herb (Jacob Feese PAT Good), 9:49.
TV—Nick Stiely 81-yard interception return (Jimmy Dietrich PAT Good), 3:28
TV—Ike Lucas 7-yard reception from Dalton Leedy (Dietrich PAT Good), 8:40.
TV—Nick Ziegmont 1-yard reception from Leedy (Dietrich PAT Good), 3:51
LM—Colby Scott 3-yard run (Feese PAT Good), 11:25
TV—Tyler McGrath 30-yard interception return (PAT No Good), 00:44.
RUSHING—Tri-Valley: Lucas 12-24, Chase Herb 4-16, Ziegmont 1-2, Leedy 6-1, McGrath 1-0, Alex Torres 3-0 TEAM 1-(-1). Line Mountain: Scott 29-81 TD, Derk 3-17, Herb 5-2.
PASSING—Tri-Valley: Leedy 12-21, 201 yds, 2TD, 2INT. Line Mountain: Herb 6-25, 144 yds, TD, 3INT.
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