Louisville Whacks West Branch 38-21 – Varsity Football
Louisville 38, West Branch 21
The Louisville Leopards defeated the host West Branch Warriors 38-21 Friday Night at Clinton Heacock Stadium. With their third straight victory, Louisville improves to an even 4-4 overall and 4-1 in the NBC.
Max Hartline ran the ball 21 times for 174 yards and scored 3 total touchdowns to lead the Leopards. After West Branch scored on their opening drive, Hartline delivered an instant answer in taking back the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. On Louisville’s second play of offense, he broke loose again for a 52 yard touchdown run. Later on in the fourth quarter, Hartline took it in from 14 yards out to give the Leopards a commanding 35-21 lead with 10:27 left.
Quarterback Colton Jones finished 16 of 19 passing for 227 yards and scored 2 total touchdowns. Jones broke a 14-14 tie with a 14 yard touchdown run on the Leopards opening drive of the second half. On their next drive, Jones connected with a wide open Bryce Zuppe for a 72 yard touchdown sprint to make it 28-14 with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter. Zuppe would finish as Louisville’s leading receiver with 102 yards on 5 catches.
The Leopards balanced their 440 total yards of offense with 227 yards through the air and 213 yards on the ground. Logan Thomas led Louisville in receptions with 6 catches for 82 yards. Other receivers included Davis Burick with 3 catches for 29 yards and Ryan Pukys with 2 catches for 14 yards.
The Leopards defense slammed the door with 2 fourth down stops and recorded the game’s only takeaway en route to preserving their victory. After Louisville took a 21-14 lead, West Branch marched all the way inside the redzone to the Leopards 14. On first down, Cam Lingle blanketed the intended target in the right corner of the endzone to force an incompletion. On second down, Hartline swarmed into the backfield unblocked to bring down the Warrior Runningback for a 2 yard loss. On third down, Jack Davis tipped away a pass in the left corner of the endzone. Facing 4th-and-12, West Branch went to the air but Lingle stopped the receiver 5 yards short of a first down.
Later on in the fourth quarter, both Blake Robbins and Zach Thatcher charged into the backfield for a 4th down sack. The Warriors were facing a two touchdown deficit and went for it on their own side of the field. Thus, the sack resulted in Louisville taking over at the West Branch 34 yard line. The Leopards would add to their lead with a 23 yard field goal by Kicker Hannah Baughman to make it 38-21. Baughman finished with 8 points for the evening as she also split the uprights on 5 of 5 extra point attempts.
Th Warriors were again on the move on the ensuing possession all the way to the Leopard 31. However, the Louisville defense came up big again to halt the drive there. Zuppe put pressure on the Quarterback forcing him to tuck it away for a sack. Two plays later the ball was fumbled on a transfer and Riley Brendle fell on it for the Leopards on their Own 29. The Louisville offense pounded and pounded to run out the clock the rest of the way after that.
The Warriors were led on offense by Quarterback TJ DeShields who finished 25 of 34 passing for 233 yards through the air and was West Branch’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 69 yards and 3 touchdowns. Late in the first half, DeShields also set a new Warrior record for career completions by eclipsing the previous record of 433 set by Steve McNeely (2005-07).
DeShields top targets were Jesse Rastetter who made 9 catches for 82 yards and Kyle Linhart who had 8 catches for 96 yards. Linhart turned a short pass in the left flat into a 45 yard reception to help setup the final West Branch score. With that gain, he also set a new Warriors record for receiving yards in a single season surpassing Jeremiah James who had 951 yards back in 2007. Linhart now stands at 972 receiving yards for the year.
With the victory, the Leopards have now defeated the Warriors in 5 straight meetings and 17 out of the last 19 games in the series overall. Louisville now leads the all-time series 26-7, which includes a 13-3 mark in games played at West Branch. The Warriors drop to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the NBC with the loss. The Leopards are now 2-2 on the road this season.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next host the Salem Quakers on Friday, October 20 for Senior Night. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 PM from Louisville Leopards Stadium.
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Full Game Statistics
LEOPARDS 38, WARRIORS 21
West Branch 7-7-7-0–21
WB – 9:46 – T.J. Deshields 1 yd run
Jared Butler PAT
7 plays 68 yds
WB – 2:31 – T.J. Deshields 1 yd run
Jared Butler PAT
16 plays 81 yds
WB – 0:14 – T.J. Deshields 3 yd run
Jared Butler PAT
3 plays 59 yds
L – 7:21 – Hannah Baughman 23 yd Field Goal
5 plays 34 yds
West Branch: 18
Louisville: 30 carries for 213 yds 3 TD’s
West Branch: 22 carries for 107 yds 3 TD’s
Louisville: 16 of 19 for 227 yds 1 TD 0 INT
West Branch: 25 of 34 for 233 yds 0 TD’s 0 INT
Fumbles / Lost:
Louisville: 0 / 0
West Branch: 2 / 1
Penalties / Yds:
Louisville: 4 / 40
West Branch: 0 / 0
3rd Down Conversions:
Louisville: 2 / 6
West Branch: 6 / 12
4th Down Conversions:
West Branch: 0 / 2
Louisville: Max Hartline: 21 carries for 174 yds 2 TD’s
Colton Jones: 4 carries for 25 yds 1 TD
Nathan Guiley: 5 carries for 14 yds
West Branch: T.J. Deshields: 13 carries for 69 yds 3 TD’s
Louisville: Colton Jones: 16 of 19 for 227 yds 1 TD 0 INT
West Branch: T.J. Deshields: 25 of 34 for 233 yds 0 TD’s 0 INT
Louisville: Logan Thomas: 6 catches for 82 yds
Bryce Zuppe: 5 catches for 102 yds 1 TD
Davis Burick: 3 catches for 29 yds
Ryan Pukys: 2 catches for 14 yds
West Branch: Jesse Rastetter: 9 catches for 82 yds
Records: Louisville 4-4, 4-1; West Branch 3-5, 2-3