West Branch Warriors at Louisville Leopards 2016 Football Preview
SPREAD: Louisville By 18 (According to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50)
WHEN: Friday, October 7 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Louisville Leopards Stadium
HIGHLIGHTS: Will be available following the game late Friday night or early Saturday morning right here on louisvilleleopards.org
ALL-TIME SERIES: Louisville leads the all-time series 24-7
LAST MEETING: The Leopards defeated the Warriors 34-20 at Clinton Heacock Stadium back on October 9, 2015.
LAST MEETING AT LOUISVILLE: The Leopards won 51-0 over the Warriors at Louisville Leopards Stadium back on October 4, 2014 for their 600th win in team history.
LAST WARRIORS WIN: The Warriors last defeated the Leopards 21-17 at Louisville Leopards Stadium back on October 12, 2012.
The Leopards have averaged 326 total yards (179 passing, 148 rushing) and 25 points per game this season, while allowing 266 yards (141 passing, 125 rushing) and 15 points per contest. Louisville’s struggles have come in the turnover department as they have surrendered 12 (3 fumbles lost, 9 interceptions), while taking away 10 (4 fumbles lost, 6 interceptions).
Despite the loss last week at Marlington, the Leopards had a breakout game on the ground. Runningback Gavin VanZant (62 carries, 322 yards, 5 touchdowns) ran for 151 yards & touchdowns last week as Louisville pounded out 7.1 yards per carry against the Dukes. Quarterback Brody Hahn (80 carries, 373 yards, 3 touchdowns) is no stranger in the running game as he leads the team in rushing yards. The Leopards will look to continue this success on the ground against a Warriors defense that has allowed 210 rushing yards per game this season.
Hahn (82 of 158 for 1,073 yards, 10 touchdowns, 9 interceptions) will look to help the passing game bounce back this week against West Branch. Hahn has plenty of options to spread the ball around to including top targets: Tyler Adams (37 catches, 513 yards, 7 touchdowns), Max Hartline (16 catches, 261 yards, 1 touchdown), Logan Thomas (9 catches, 150 yards, 1 touchdown), and Jack Davis (7 catches, 73 yards, 1 touchdown).
The Louisville defense came up with some big plays last week, despite being put into some tough spots. Defensive End Cade Stertzbach (27.5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 6 sacks). sacked Dukes Quarterback Chris Pennell 3 times and Linebacker Casey Nau (52 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) led the team in tackles last week. Fellow Linebacker Justin Vanover (54.5 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) leads the team in total tackles, solo tackles, and tackles for a loss.
Jimmy Leonard (22 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack) returned to the Leopards defensive front last week to make 6 tackles and record a sack. Maverick Pugh (13.5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass break-ups) filled in nicely while he was out. Others on the defensive line include Drew Doerschuk (28.5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception) and Dillon Deckerd (15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack).
Defensive Back Corey White (26 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions) leads the secondary in tackles and leads the team in takeaways. Other starters in the Louisville secondary include Cole Weston (25 tackles, 3 pass break-ups), Gavin Birone (23.5 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 5 pass breakups), Sean McKinney (21.5 tackles, 1 pass break-up), and Jared Mathie (13.5 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass break-up). Others impacting the Leopards defensive backfield include Cam Lingle (5.5 tackles, 2 interceptions) and Adams (9 tackles, 1 interception, 2 pass break-ups).
Leaders in the return game include Hartline (5 kick returns, 32.8 average, 84 long, 1 touchdown), Adams (6 kick returns, 19.3 average; 6 punt returns, 11.0 average, 42 long), and Mathie (3 kick returns, 15.3 avg.) Also on special teams, Kicker Hannah Baughman has made 1 of 3 field goals and 19 of 20 extra points this season included a 35 yard PAT at Marlington last week. Hahn (20 punts, 31.9 avg., 57 long) is Louisville’s punter and Bradley Terra handles the kickoffs.
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The Warriors have averaged 359 yards (225 passing, 134 rushing) and 28 points per game, while allowing 321 yards (112 passing, 210 rushing) and 21 points per contest. West Branch is currently +3 in turnover margin taking the ball away 8 times (5 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries), while giving the ball up 5 times (4 interceptions, 1 fumble lost).
West Branch gave Louisville all they could take last year in Beloit and several players have returned for the 2016 campaign. Quarterback TJ DeShields (117 of 180 for 1336 yards, 9 touchdowns, 3 interceptions) is one of those plays as is his top target Brett Butcher (54 catches, 635 yards, 6 touchdowns). Butcher also leads the defense with 3 interceptions at defensive back this season.
Runningback Rob Lozier (74 carries, 548 yards, 8 touchdowns) is the team’s leader in both rushing yards and touchdowns. Kyle Linhart (15 catches, 172 yards) has also made an impact in the passing game.
On special teams, DeShields is also the punter and has averaged 33 yards on 14 boots.