Leopards Rally Comes Up Short Against Warriors 28-22 – JV Football
West Branch 28, Louisville 22
The Louisville Leopards JV Football Team fell to the visiting West Branch Warriors 28-22 Saturday at Louisville Leopards Stadium. With the loss, Louisville falls to 3-4 overall and 2-2 against NBC squads.
The Leopards were led by Quarterback Carter Rode who scored three total touchdowns. Facing a 22-0 hole, Rode scored on a 28 yard touchdown run and connected with Wide Receiver Dominic Mongiardo for the conversion to cut the deficit to 22-8 late in the third quarter. On the next drive, Rode found a seam through the right side of the line and scampered 67 yards down the sideline for the score. He also dove into the endzone for the two-point conversion to trim the Warrior lead to 22-16 with 9:12 to go in the game.
The Louisville defense came up big exactly one minute of game time later. Linebacker Vince Fehn met the West Branch ball carrier and forced him to fumble. Defensive Back Blake Davis alertly fell on it at the Warrior 43 giving the Leopard offense a chance to tie or take the lead.
Rode converted a 4th-and-7 on a 15 yard pass to Mongiardo to give Louisville a fresh set of downs at the West Branch 25. However, the Leopards returned the favor on the next play in fumbling away to the Warriors Jacob Hurst on the 27 yard line. Two plays later, West Branch Runningback Gage Bickley zigzagged into the open field for a back-breaking 71 yard touchdown run to give the Warriors a comfortable 28-16 advantage with exactly 5:00 to go.
Louisville elected to kick the ball deep and Kicker Marc Joseph blasted the kickoff into the endzone for a touchback. On first down, Leopard Defensive Lineman Austin Griggy blew up a run in the backfield for a 3 yard loss. A West Branch false start pinned them back to a 2nd-and-18 from their own 12 and they were forced to punt the ball away 2 plays later.
The punt rolled dead at the Warriors 42 yard line giving the Louisville offense 2:33 to score the game-tying touchdown. Three straight completions (2 to Cummings, 1 to Mongiardo) took the Leopards to the West Branch 25 once again. The result of that spot was eerily similar as Brandon Zuchowski extended his long arms to make a leaping game-clinching interception for the Warriors.
The West Branch defense recorded 4 takeaways for the game, which included 3 interceptions. Wayne Zurbrugg had the first pick and Payton Derry’s second quarter interception setup the Warriors initial score.
West Branch built a two touchdown lead by halftime and extended their advantage to 22-0 early on in the third quarter. Quarterback Justin Goode threw touchdown passes to Luke Flickinger from 35 yards out and Reece Berger from 30 yards away. Runningback Andrew Cranston also opened up the scoring with a 16 yard run to paydirt. Blayne Flickinger and Mitchell Sharp scored on conversion runs for the Warriors as well.
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UP NEXT: The Leopards will next conclude the season on the road at Salem against the Quakers on Saturday, October 21 at 10:00 AM.
WARRIORS 28, LEOPARDS 22
West Branch 0-14-8-6–28
West Branch – Andrew Cranston 16 Yard Run (Blayne Flickinger Run) | LHS 0, WBHS 8, 3:32
West Branch – Luke Flickinger. 35 Yard Pass from Justin Goode (Pass Failed) | LHS 0, WBHS 14, 0:44
West Branch – Reece Berger 30 Yard Pass from Justin Goode (Mitchell Sharp Run) | LHS 0, WBHS 22, 7:24
West Branch – Gage Bickley 71 Yard Run (Run Failed) | LHS 16, WBHS 28, 5:00
Louisville – Austin Cummings 51 Yard Pass from Carter Rode (Pass Failed) | LHS 22, WBHS 28, 3:03
Records: Louisville 3-4, 2-2