Warriors Scalp Bald Eagles
By BILL ALBRIGHT
EasternPAFootballl Senior Writer
LOCK HAVEN — Homecoming is supposed to be a time for alums to return to campus to renew old friendships and enjoy festive activities. However, for LHU grads making their way back to The Haven, Saturday afternoon at Hubert Jack Stadium didn’t provide many festive moments for those who returned to campus for the celebration.
Facing their third straight unbeaten opponent at the time, the Bald Eagles fell to the East Stroudsburg Warriors by the final of 63-14 to dampen the atmosphere in their 1-3 start. First there was Clarion, then IUP followed by the Warriors. Going into Saturday’s action, the trio of teams possessed an unbeaten mark of 8-1 in the early going, including perfect 3-0 marks by IUP and ESU.
“We play a really good football team next week (Shepherd) and we are going to be playing good football teams throughout the year,” said LHU head coach Dave Taynor. “We have to focus on what we can do and get better as a football team. We are a very young football team and our focus has to be on getting better each and every day and we have a long way to go.”
The Bald Eagles showed glimpses of being a pretty good football in the first game of the year in a lopsided win over Lincoln.
“I don’t think we handled that success very well and we came out today and didn’t play with a great sense of confidence,” said Taynor. “We struggled today and we have to see where we are while moving forward.”
The Warriors went on the warpath right from the opening kickoff as they scored the first three of their nine touchdowns in the first 11 minutes of the game to take a 21-0 lead.
Following an exchange of possessions, ESU made it four scores in a row when they put together an 80-yard, 8-play drive culminated four minutes into the second quarter before LHU got on the board when former Williamsport Millionaire Jalen Jackson hauled in a 26-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ethan Persa. For the game, Jackson finished with four catches good for 90 yards and one score while former BEA sprinter Bryce Greene was next in line with four balls for 78 yards.
Glad to get back in action after missing last week’s game with IUP due to an injury, Jackson explained how he handled things with the injury to make sure that it didn’t cost him any more than one game.
“I did a lot to get myself back to the point where I am right now,” said Jackson. “I was rehabbing two or three hours every day and I wanted to play last week. But due to the type of injury (hamstring), it was better to take the week off because had I played (against IUP) I could have re-aggravated it more. The week off really helped because right now, I feel pretty good.”
As for teams trying to do anything different or special to take him out of his game, Jackson isn’t seeing that happen.
“The teams have been sticking to their game as the defense they usually play,” Jackson explained. “I draw man coverage pretty much the whole game and I saw that again today. We have a short week so we have to come back, get our bodies healthy and try to get better. We have a young team so we have to stay focused and work hard each week to get better.”
Trying to claw their way back into the game, the Bald Eagles saw 20 seconds make that an almost impossible situation.
With 20 seconds remaining in the first half, ESU scored again on a Jake Cirillo to Javier Buffalo 33 yard TD pass capping an 80-yard drive.
Following the Buffalo TD, the Bald Eagles took over on their own 25.
On the first play of the possession, Kyle Knight hooked up with Jackson for a 58-yard, catch-and-run play to the ESU 3-yard line.
Electing to attempt a field goal, the kick was blocked, Jahmere Crumpton scooped up the ball and sprinted down the left sideline to paydirt. The PAT was good and with the shocking result, the Bald Eagles were faced with a stunning 42-7 deficit.
“Their offensive touchdown bounced off a guy and he went for a touchdown and when we tried the field goal to get a few more points before the half, we got it blocked and they returned it for a touchdown,” said Taynor.
After watching ESU score another touchdown, LHU got into the end zone for the second and final time of the day when Dante Graham bulled his way to paydirt from one yard out with 6:32 left in the third.
“We had 259 yards offense at halftime, but we have to get better because the wheels sort of came off later,” said Taynor. “I am not real pleased with where we are, but where we are is what it is. You are where you are at and what you need to do moving forward is work hard to get better.”
Thus far through four games, former Hughesville Spartan Alex Welch has been a mainstay on the Bald Eagle defensive unit and yesterday was no different as he finished with six solo shots on ESU ball carriers.
“We are pretty young in the secondary and when their quarterback scrambled, they were able to hurt us,” said Welch. “We have to get more locked in on the quarterback and make sure that we know what they are and are able to execute our assignments and responsibilities. We had holes in the defense that we need to correct if we are going to improve. From here we are 0-0 and our focus for next week is on Shepherd so we have to begin preparing for the game now.”
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