#8 Top Moment of 2012-13: Leopards Rally Behind Fallen Leader
#8 Leopards Rally Behind Fallen Leader
On September 28, 2012 the Louisville Leopards Football team was dealt a devastating blow. Louisville was backed up in their own end with 10:00 left in the second quarter when whistles rang out through the stadium from an offsides call. The Aviators defenders did not stop for the red light though and on a play that should have never happened the soul of the Leopards offense was hit in the knee from the blindside. Louisville Quarterback Joey Duckworth was out for the season.
The Leopards offense was in disarray as the next three plays netted negative 18 yards without their fallen leader. Most teams would have laid down already trailing 6-0. Alliance had orchestrated a devastating 15 play, 76 yard drive and nearly took all the time off the clock in the opening quarter. Multiple 3rd-and-1 conversions on this drive would have taken the will out of most defenses, but for the Leopards it motivated them all the more.
Alliance marched right down the field, but Louisville did not break. On 2nd-and-Goal from the Leopard 8, linebacker Josh Brown forced the Alliance quarterback to his right and Dylan Kline ended up recording the sack. Two plays later Louisville got the ball back on downs and no damage was done.
The Leopard offense went three-and-out after that and pressure from Alliance forced a high punt. Then it happened, the ball took a big bounce off of the 30 yard line and hit the back of a an Aviator. The punter, Alex Schooley, ended up with the recovery on the 30 and the Leopards had the spark they needed.
With Jeremey McQuilkin now taking the reins at quarterback, Louisville marched 70 yards in just 6 plays. This included a 28 yard completion to Alex Hollifield, a first down completion to Schooley, and a 12 yard touchdown pass to Trent Ohman. Merrick Storlie booted home the extra point giving the Leopards an unlikely 7-6 advantage that they would hold until the fourth quarter.
Louisville’s defense came up big time and time again. Dylan Kline & Kobie Shepard made their presence known in the backfield to end one drive and Kyle White intercepted a pass in the endzone to end another Aviator threat. But it seemed all for not as the Leopards offense failed to move the ball throughout the night. Eventually a snap sailed out of the back of the endzone for an Alliance safety and the Aviators led once again 8-7.
Alliance took the ensuing kickoff and then drove all the way to the Leopard 36 where they faced a 4th-and-6. With the lead now, the Aviators elected to punt the ball and put faith in their defense. They overlooked one thing though and that was Louisville’s punt return team. Ohman took the line drive punt at the Louisville 12 and he took off for the right sideline. Two key blocks by Cory Neff & Trevor Hostetler sprung him loose and he sprinted all the way to the endzone giving the Leopards a 13-8 lead with 7:18 remaining. The Senior exploded into raw emotion and celebrated with his teammates.
The fight did not end there though as the Aviators drove inside the Leopards 20 on the ensuing drive. On 3rd-and-1, Kline & Neff stuffed Alliance for no gain and on 4th down a host of Leopards clogged a hole to give Louisville the ball back on downs. On offense, Ohman ran for a 23 yard gain on a 3rd-and-18 and would run for two more first downs to run out the clock.
Alliance dealt Louisville a devastating blow, but they failed to penetrate the heart of the Leopards.
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8. Leopards Rally Behind Their Fallen Leader
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