Alliance Aviators at Louisville Leopards 2014 Football Highlights
Louisville 56, Alliance 14
The Louisville Leopards clinched a share of the NBC Title and a playoff birth in Division III, Region 7
after they rocked the visiting Alliance Aviators 56-14 at Louisville Leopards Stadium Friday. With the victory, Louisville is now 8-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play.
The Leopards scored 5 touchdowns in the first 8:28 of the first quarter to blow the game wide open. Quarterback Connor Zwick led Louisville by completing 8 of 13 passes for 239 yards and 5 touchdowns all in the opening half. He hit Walter Schrock for a 48 yard touchdown on the Leopards first drive, Ryan Lautner for a 45 yard score on a 1 play drive, and Alec Jones on a 5 yard touchdown pass all in the first quarter. Louisville scored two more times through the air in the second quarter when Zwick hit Lautner again for a 46 yard strike and after that threw a perfectly timed pass to Tyler Adams in the endzone from 36 yards out.
Meanwhile the Leopards defense produced four takeaways throughout the game, two of which led to immediate touchdowns in the first quarter. Jake Mathie returned an interception 33 yards for a score and Daichi Castles picked up a loose ball and returned it 25 yards for another touchdown. The fumble was forced by Mathie and Cade Stertzbach who sandwiched the ball carrier, jarring the ball out. Later on, Tanner Brahler and Jimmy Leonard helped forced another Aviator fumble that was picked up by Casey Nau who recorded his fifth takeaway of the season. Justin Vanover also recovered an Alliance fumble in the second half.
Louisville’s defense also produced five sacks on the night. Castles, Frankie Falcone, Stertzbach, and Cole Weston all recorded solo sacks. Brahler, Marco Buccasso, and Castles also combined to bring down the Aviator quarterback on another occasion.
Brock Haren led all Leopards rushers with 7 carries for 49 yards. He broke free for a 39 yard run to the Aviators 1 yard line with under a minute to go in the first half. In an act of sportsmanship, Louisville let the clock run out rather than scoring their ninth touchdown of the half.
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Even without that score, the Leopards set the known team mark for points in a single half with 56. That eighth touchdown came on a 3 yard run by Schrock after he had gained 43 yards on a catch and run the play before. Lautner and Schrock finished as Louisville’s leading receivers each with 2 catches for 91 yards.
Alliance’s only scores came on two breakaway runs. Duce Johnson scored from 75 yards out and Aeyron Williams scored on a 71 yard run. With the victory, the Leopards are now 13-4-1 against the Aviators all-time which includes a 6-2-1 record at Louisville. The 56 points are the most scored by either team in the all-time series and the Leopards have taken the last 8 meetings overall. 56 Points is also the most the Leopards have scored in a contest since they defeated Columbus Independence in the 2008 Regional Quarterfinals 60-24. In that game, Louisville scored 53 in the opening half.
For Louisville, the NBC Title is their 12th since joining the league in 1990 and this is their 33rd league title in school history. They can clinch their 8th Outright NBC Title with a win next week over Canton South. This is also the 15th time the Leopards have qualified for the playoffs since 1991.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next host the Canton South Wildcats on Friday, October 31 at 7:00 PM for Senior Night.