Marlington Dukes at Louisville Leopards 2015 Football Preview
Marlington Dukes (3-2, 1-1) at Louisville Leopards (4-1, 2-0)
SPREAD: Louisville By 9 (According to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50)
WHEN: Friday, October 2 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Louisville Leopards Stadium
HIGHLIGHTS: Will be available following the game late Friday night or early Saturday morning right here on louisvilleleopards.org
ALL-TIME SERIES: Louisville leads the all-time series 42-5, which includes a 23-1 record at at Home.
LAST MEETING: The Leopards downed the Dukes 54-14 at Marlington Stadium on October 17, 2014.
LAST MEETING AT LOUISVILLE: The Leopards scored 38 unanswered points to defeat the visiting Dukes 41-20 back on October 18, 2013.
LAST MARLINGTON WIN: The Dukes defeated the Leopards 34-24 back on September 14, 2012.
We have passed the halfway mark of the regular season and both these teams are neck-and-neck in DIII, Region 7 looking to find a spot in the playoffs. The Leopards currently stand in 7th place and the Dukes are presently in the final 8th spot of the DIII, Region 7 Harbin computer rankings.
Marlington will be looking to get back on track after suffering a devastating home loss to undefeated Salem last week. Louisville rebounded from their only loss of the season at Austintown Fitch by dismantling NBC Opponents in road wins at Alliance 41-7 and at Minerva 48-0. The Leopards are eager to return home where they hold a 23-1 record over the Dukes all-time.
Despite Marlington’s loss to the Quakers, they can get right back in the NBC & Playoff race with a win over Louisville. The Leopards will look to bury the Dukes in the league race and almost certainly punch themselves a spot in the playoffs with a win. Will Louisville continue their NBC dominance or will Marlington exorcise their demons under they Eyes of the Leopard at Louisville Leopards Stadium? We find out Friday!
The Leopards have averaged 384 Yards (248 Passing, 136 Rushing) and 36 Points Per Contest this season, while surrendering 189 Yards (73 Passing, 115 Rushing) and 16 Points Per Game this year. Louisville is still -2 in the takeaway department, but did not turn the ball over at all last Friday at Minerva.
Quarterback Jake Adams (87 of 123 for 1,222 Yards, 16 Touchdowns Passing) is the nucleus of the Leopards high-scoring offense and has completed 71% of his passes this season. Tyler Adams leads the team in all receiving stat categories with 30 Catches for 444 Yards and 6 Touchdowns. Other top receivers include Alec Jones (26 Catches, 284 Yards, 5 Touchdowns), Conner Bast (13 Catches, 234 Yards, 3 Touchdowns), and Brock Haren (12 Catches, 175 Yards, 1 Touchdown).
Runningback Rahzul Young (84 Carries, 522 Yards, 6 Touchdowns) has struck fear into opposing defenses all year long in averaging over 100 rushing yards per game this season. The Offensive Line should be back to full strength this week for the Dukes and it includes the following players from right to left: Alex Hall, Terry Gooch, Chase Lautzenheiser, Issac Mathie, and Jarett Heater.
Defensive Back Casey Nau (20.5 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Pass Break-Up) has found his way into opposing backfields with a team-leading 4 sacks this season for Louisville. Linebacker Kyle Ashcraft (19 Tackles, 4 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack) also leads the team in tackles for a loss, Linebacker Frankie Falcone (30.5 Tackles, 3 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Interception) leads the team in tackles, and Defensive Lineman Daichi Castles (16 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks) has also given opponents fits upfront. Other playmakers on the Leopards Defense include: Stephen Kerzan (22.5 Tackles, 1 Force Fumble), Dalton Deckerd (17.5 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Pass Break-Up), Cade Stertzbach (17 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 2 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble), Jimmy Leonard (15 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Pass Break-Up), Cody Allgood (10.5 Tackles, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Interception, 1 Pass Break-Up), Reis Rankin (8.5 Tackles, 0.5 Tackles for Loss, 1 Pass Break-Up), Justin Vanover (7.5 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Fumble Recovery), and Dillon Deckerd (5 Tackles, 0.5 Sacks, 2 Pass Break-Ups).
You can roll the dice and see where it lands when it comes to what the Leopards decide to do on Point After Attempts. The past two weeks we have seen two-point conversion attempts out of the Swinging Gate formation and two separate players have booted extra point attempts: Trevor Burk (11 of 17) and Young (2 of 2). In the punting game, Jake Adams has averaged 35.2 yards on 9 attempts. Tyler Adams has emerged as the leader in the return game averaging 17.6 yards on 8 kick returns and 12.4 yards on 5 punt returns. Brody Hahn, who suffered an injury last week at Minerva, has also averaged 15.7 yards on 3 kick returns and 4.4 yards on 5 punt returns.
The Dukes have averaged 393 Yards (221 Passing, 172 Rushing) and 28 Points Per Game this season, while allowing 301 Yards (92 Passing, 209 Rushing) and 24 Points Per Contest this year. Marlington is +3 in the Takeaway Department giving the ball up 10 times (4 Fumbles, 6 Interceptions) and taking it away 13 times (8 Fumbles, 5 Interceptions). The Dukes surrendered the ball 5 times in their loss last week to the Quakers, while only recording 1 interception on defense. Oppositely, Marlington was +5 in takeaways recording 8 on defense during their three-game winning streak. Hanging on to the ball will be key if the Dukes are to hang with the 2-Time NBC Champion Leopards Friday.
The Marlington Offense centers around Junior Quarterback Chris Pennell (70 of 130 for 1,091 Yards and 8 Touchdowns), Junior Runningback Jaquiez Sampson (126 Carries, 592 Yards, 7 Touchdowns Rushing & 18 Catches, 183 Yards, 1 Touchdown Receiving), and Senior Wide Receiver Garrett Floyd (22 Catches, 533 Yards, 5 Touchdowns). Sean Cooley (13 Catches, 136 Yards, 1 Touchdown) has also made an impact in the receiving game along with Tight Ends Drew Adams (6 Catches, 73 Yards) and Andrew Brady (5 Catches, 73 Yards). The versatile Justin Allen (39 Carries, 234 Yards, 2 Touchdowns Rushing & 7 Catches, 96 Yards, 1 Touchdown Receiving) can be used as a threat to carry or catch the ball at any time.
On Defense, Senior Linebacker Tyler Tokos (33 Tackles, 6 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack) leads the team in tackles. Others in the Dukes Linebacking Core include Corey Hicks (22 Tackles, 6 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 1 Fumble Recovery), Allen (17 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss), Trent Davis (10 Tackles, 4 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery), Garrett Pierce (9 Tackles, 1 Fumble Recovery), and Travis Wainuskis (8 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks). The Marlington ball-hawking secondary is led by Floyd (17 Tackles, 2 Interceptions), but also includes Cooley (16 Tackles, 1 Interception Returned for Touchdown, 1 Fumble Recovery), Drew Anderson (11 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss), and Brock Himmelheber (9 Tackles, 2 Interceptions). Austin Carper (16 Tackles, 3 Tackles for Loss, 1 Fumble Recovery) anchors the Defensive Front with the following teammates Chayse Middleton (8 Tackles, 1 Fumble Recovery) and Mar Mason (4 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Fumble Recovery).
On Special Teams, multi-dimensional Floyd has booted through 15 of 17 extra point attempts and made 3 of 6 field goal attempts. He hit from 27 twice against Crestwood and also made his long of 33 yards in the game against St. Thomas Aquinas. No other special teams information was submitted by Marlington, but they did block a punt for a safety against Crestwood in Week 2 as well.