Leopards Prevail in Wild 50th Rivalry Game Against Marlington – Varsity Football
Louisville 35, Marlington 34
The Louisville Leopards Varsity Football Team prevailed for a 35-34 victory over the visiting Marlington Dukes Friday Night at Louisville Leopards Stadium. With their first win of the season, Louisville is now 1-3 overall and 1-0 against the NBC.
In a game that featured 40 first downs, 69 points, and 979 total yards of offense, it was the Leopards defense that came up big when it mattered most. Louisville Linebacker Dylan Walczak and Defensive Lineman Jason Goard combined to stop Marlington Wide Receiver Blane Himmelheber less than a yard short of the goal line on the would be go-ahead two-point conversion attempt. The play preserved the Leopards 35-34 lead with 3:01 left to play.
On the Dukes final drive of the game the defense proved clutch again. Marlington drove from their own 10 and moved across midfield to the Louisville 40 after a personal foul with 28 seconds left to play. Leopards Defensive End Gavin VanZant swarmed into the backfield to drop the Dukes for a 5 yard loss on first down. With no timeouts the clock ticked away against Marlington before they spiked the ball with 7 seconds remaining. On the final play, Walczak charged in unblocked to drop Quarterback CJ Greiner as the clock hit triple zeros.
Louisville ran the ball 32 times to account for 345 of their 530 total yards of offense. VanZant ran wild carrying the ball 11 times for 156 yards and catching one short pass for a 44 yard touchdown reception just before halftime. He later scored on a 72 yard touchdown run late in the third to give LHS their first lead of the game at 28-21. VanZant had missed the previous series after coming off the field with an injury while delivering a mammoth sack on defense. Wide Receiver Max Hartline sparked the ground game on that drive which ended with him scoring on a 40 yard touchdown run. Hartline finished with 7 carries for 72 yards on the night.
The Leopards surrendered their advantage after enduring a painful 15 play, 74 yard Marlington scoring drive. The 6:37 march was extended by two back-breaking fourth down conversions. The Dukes lined up in punt formation on 4th-and-13 from their own 47. Greiner took the snap, patiently waited as the play developed, and sprinted down the right sideline for a gain of 14 to move the sticks. Greiner also called his own number on a 4th-and-1 just inside the redzone. The Louisville defense appeared to have stopped him just short, but a second effort by the Sophomore Quarterback again put the chain gang to work. Nolan Domer capped off the drive by scoring his second touchdown of the night from 6 yards away to knot the game at 28-28 with 5:36 remaining. The Senior Runningback would finish as the Dukes leading rusher with 14 carries for 112 yards.
It took just 3 plays for the Leopards to answer back at the other end. VanZant gashed the defense for a gain of 23 yards into Marlington territory. A holding call on the next play set Louisville back after a long run, but it didn’t matter. One play later, Quarterback Jared Mathie fielded the snap and scampered down the left sideline for a 47 yard run to pay dirt. He passed four Dukes defenders and received a key block from Wide Receiver Logan Thomas to breeze by another would be tackler. The fifth extra point of the night from Senior Kicker Hannah Baughman rang true to give Louisville a 35-28 lead with 4:47 left to play.
Mathie would finish with 14 carries for 117 yards and also scored on an earlier 22 yard run. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 185 yards before being lifted for an injury late in the fourth quarter. His top targets included Jack Davis who made 4 receptions for 20 yards, Thomas who had 3 catches for 40 yards, and Bryce Zuppe who finished with a team-leading 53 receiving yards on 2 grabs.
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Greiner rushed the ball 16 times fore 93 yards and completed 12 of 19 passes for 152 yards and a pair of touchdown strikes. He connected with Domer from 20 yards out to put the Dukes ahead 21-7 late in the second quarter. Later on, he found Wide Receiver Ethan Lilley in the left side of the endzone from 8 yard away. Lilley racked up a game-high 144 yards receiving on 5 catches. He was also the recipient of a 65 yard touchdown pass via fellow receiver Himmelheber that resulted from a gadget play.
Each team fumbled as they neared the goal line. Defensive Lineman Blake Robbins stripped the Dukes ball carrier and recovered the pigskin for the Leopards only takeaway. Marlington Linebacker Garrett McGuire was the cause of the other strip with teammate Corey Hicks falling it on their own 6. Garrett Pierce and Drew Anderson recorded interceptions for the Dukes defense as well.
This was the 50th all-time meeting between the two rival schools. The Leopards now lead the all-time series 44-6, which includes a 25-1 record in games played at Louisville. Only the 1987 Dukes were able to beat the Leopards at Louisville Stadium by the count of 16-6. Louisville has won their last 16 matchups with Marlington at home and 4 of the last 5 games in the series overall. The Leopards are also undefeated in their last 15 conference games played at Louisville Leopards Stadium.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next travel to Alliance to take on the Aviators on Friday, September 22. Game time is set for 7:00 PM at Mount Union Stadium.
LEOPARDS 35, DUKES 34
M – 8:34 – Nolan Domer 1 yd run
Colton Wade PAT
3 plays 4 yds
M – 0:37 – Ethan Lilley 65 yd pass from Blane Himmelheber
Colton Wade PAT
1 play 65 yds
L – 0:18 – Gavin Van Zant 72 yd run
Hannah Baughman PAT
1 play 72 yds
M – 5:36 – Nolan Domer 6 yd run
Colton Wade PAT
15 plays 74 yds
M – 3:01 – Ethan Lilley 8 yd pass from C.J. Greiner
5 plays 68 yds
Marlington: 449 Yards
Louisville: 530 Yards
Marlington: 39 carries 232 yds 2 TD’s
Louisville: 32 carries 345 yds 4 TD’s
Marlington: 13 of 20 for 217 yds 3 TD’s 0 INT’s
Louisville: 14 of 22 for 185 yds 1 TD 2 INT’s
3rd Down Conversions:
4th Down Conversions:
Marlington: Nolan Domer: 14 carries 112 yds 2 TD’s
C.J. Greiner: 16 carries 93 yds
Marlington: C.J. Greiner: 12 of 19 for 152 yds 2 TD’s 0 INT
Blane Himmelheber: 1 of 1 for 65 yds 1 TD 0 INt
Louisville: Jared Mathie: 14 of 22 for 185 yds 1 TD 2 INT
Marlington: Ethan Lilley: 5 catches for 144 yds 2 TD’s
Louisville: Jack Davis: 4 catches for 20 yds
Logan Thomas: 3 catches 40 yds
Bryce Zuppe: 2 catches for 53 yds
Davis Burick: 2 catches 15 yds
Max Hartline: 2 catches for 13 yds
Gavin Van Zant: 1 catch for 44 yds 1 TD
Records: Louisville 1-3, 1-0; Marlington 2-2, 0-1