West Branch Warriors at Louisville Leopards 1996 Football Highlights
Louisville 18, West Branch 13
“I told the kids they were already in the playoffs tonight,” Louisville Head Coach Rick Crislip talked of his pre-game speech. The Leopards responded by forcing six West Branch turnovers in an 18-13 victory at Louisville Stadium on October 25, 1996.
Louisville got into the endzone twice in the first two quarters in taking a 12-0 lead. Before the first score, Defensive Back Bob Bollas stripped the ball causing a fumble and Doug Neff recovered it on the West Branch 27 yard line. On the ensuing drive, Quarterback Matt Gulling hit Wide Receiver Ryan Reinford for a 25 yard touchdown pass. Gulling would finish the contest completing 10 of 24 passes for 144 yards.
The Warriors next drive stalled at the Louisville 48 when the Leopards Rob Pochubay brought down Warriors runningback Kim Nezbeth for no gain on 4th-and-1. Louisville marched the ball 52 yards ending the drive with a Zak Avdul 2 yard touchdown run.
West Branch responded with a pair of touchdown runs f 34 and 21 by Jason Candle in the second and third quarters to take a 13-12 advantage. Later on, Leopards punter Brian Parker pinned the Warriors on their own one yard line. “That was a heck of a good punt,” Parker spoke of the play. “It’s the best one I’ve had in my career. It just stopped dead at the one.”
As a result of the field position, Louisville would start their next drive on the West Branch 29. Three plays later Leif Erickson broke free for a 19 yard touchdown run to give the Leopards an 18-13 lead.
The defense took over throughout the game and also closed the game. Bob Allison recorded an interception, Anthony Volpe picked off a screen pass, Brian Ramsey fell on a muffed punt, and defensive back Matt Dimmerling recovered a fumble and made the final interception. “This win is enormous,” Dimmerling said after his team won. “The turnovers picked us up and put us over the top. We were pumped.”
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West Branch 0-7-6-0–13
Louisville – Ryan Reinford 25 Yard Pass from Matt Gulling (Kick Failed), 6-0
Louisville – Zak Avdul 2 Yard Run (Pass Failed), 12-0
West Branch – Jason Candle 34 Yard Pass from Mark Eberling (Bandy Kick), 12-7
West Branch – Jason Candle 21 Yard Pass from Mark Eberling (Pass Failed), 12-13
Louisville – Leif Erickson 19 Yard Run (Run Failed), 18-13
Rushing: Louisville 34-101, West Branch 26-94
Passing: Louisville 10-24-144-1, West Branch 13-25-139-3
First Downs: Louisville 11, West Branch 10
Fumbles-Lost: Louisville 1-0, West Branch 4-3
Records: Louisville 7-2, 4-2; West Branch 7-2, 4-2