Minerva Lions at Louisville Leopards 2014 Football Preview
/Minerva Lions (2-4, 2-1) at Louisville Leopards (5-1, 3-0)
SPREAD: Louisville By 21 (According to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50)
WHEN: Friday, October 10 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 61-20-5, which includes a 29-11-2 record at home.
LAST MEETING: The Leopards won 31-7 at Minerva back on October 11, 2013.
LAST MEETING AT LOUISVILLE: The Leopards won 35-14 back on September 21, 2012.
|Louisville Schedule||Minerva Schedule|
|1||at Canfield||W 24-7||Field||L 21-28|
|2||at Hoover||L 14-17||St. Thomas Aquinas||L 28-35|
|3||Ravenna||W 40-6||at Central Catholic||L 0-31|
|4||at Salem||W 49-6||Alliance||W 14-0|
|5||at Carrollton||W 37-22||at Marlington||L 21-37|
|6||West Branch||W 51-0||Salem||W 37-0|
|8||at Marlington||10/17||at Canton South||10/17|
|10||Canton South||10/31||at Carrollton||10/31|
Both teams are coming off impressive Week 6 performances that produced shutout victories. Minerva began the season by losing all three of their out of conference games, but since then has picked up shutout victories over Alliance and Salem. However, both of these wins came at home and on the road this year they have been outscored 68-21. Meanwhile, Louisville has outscored opponents 215-58 this season which includes a 91-7 advantage in the second quarter and a 49-0 advantage in the third quarter. It appears the Leopards will be a tough team to slow down throughout the rest of the conference schedule, but this is the 87th meeting between these arch-rivals. With that being the case, you can throw out any records, stats, and heck even this preview when these two squads play.
The balanced Louisville Offense has averaged 363 Yards (181 Rushing, 182 Passing) and 36 points per game so far this season. Quarterback Connor Zwick has lit up defenses with a team-leading 471 yards on 70 rushes (6.7 Avg.) and 5 touchdowns on the ground to go along with a passing performance of 69 for 101 (68.3%) for 966 yards and 14 touchdowns against 4 interceptions.
The Leopards receiving core includes five different players with 200 yards or more. They are Kyle Woost (23 Catches, 217 Yards, 2 Touchdowns), Alec Jones (14 Catches, 207 Yards, 7 Touchdowns), Ryan Lautner (14 Catches, 203 Yards, 3 Touchdowns), Tyler Adams (9 Catches, 209 Yards, 4 Touchdowns), and Josh Swanson (9 Catches, 207 Yards, 1 Touchdown). With so many weapons to choose from, opposing defenses are going to have to pick their poison when it comes to defending Louisville’s air attack.
In addition, Runningback Walter Schrock is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and has scored 5 touchdowns on the ground this season. He did not play last week against West Branch, but has run for 410 yards on 58 carries thus far this season. If he returns he will be looking to run between the holes created by the Leopards sizable offensive line: Terry Gooch (5’11, 259), Alex Hall (6’6, 244), Jarrod Moran (5’9, 226), Nick Nappi (5’7, 210), and Austin Shaheen (6’0, 217).
The Louisville Defense has held opponents to 192 Yards (95 Rushing, 98 Passing) and 10 points per contest this season. The Leopards have captured 12 turnovers this year led by takeaway machine Casey Nau (25 Tackles, 3 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 Fumble Recoveries, 1 Interception). Other takeaways have been generated by Stephen Kerzan (23.5 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 Interception, 2 Pass Breakups), Daichi Castles (17 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble 1 Fumble Recovery), Joe Crank (12.5 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 Interceptions, 3 Pass Breakups), Marco Buccasso (11.5 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery), Swanson (1 Interception), and Cade Stertzbach (3 Tackles for Loss, 2 Fumble Recoveries).
Top tacklers for the Leopards include Kyle Ashcraft (36 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack) and Jake Mathie (29.5 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 2 Pass Breakups). Dalton Deckerd (17 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Sack), Frankie Falcone (15.5 Tackles, 3 Sacks), and Tanner Brahler (12.5 Tackles, 1.5 Tackles for Loss, 2 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble) have also been key playmakers for the Louisville Defense.
On Special Teams, Kicker Austin Terra returned early from a Soccer injury with possibly his best kickoff performance of the season as he drove 4 kicks into the endzone for touchbacks. He also booted through 5 of 5 extra points to up his total points to 31 on the season (25 of 27 PAT, 2 of 4 Field Goals). Zwick has averaged 32.7 yards on 11 punts this season with a long of 53 and 5 boots have landed inside the 20. Tyler Adams has emerged as the Leopards top kick returner averaging 30.4 yards on 5 returns with a long of 59. Crank has also averaged 12.5 yards per punt return with a long of 61 coming at Carrollton. It is seemingly only a matter of time before Louisville springs one to the house.
The Minerva rush-heavy offense has averaged 310 Yards (227 Rushing, 83 Passing) and 20 points per contest this season. The Lions will only have 33 players dressed come Friday and do not field a JV squad this year. Nevertheless, a Senior-laden backfield will lead the way for Minerva. Runningback Dalton Hartshorn leads the Lions offense with 124 carries for 1,043 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Hartshorn has also caught 5 passes for 107 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Feeding him the ball is Minerva Quarterback Storm Angione who has completed 39 of 94 (41%) passes for 496 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air this season. Angione has also used his feet 28 times to gain 136 yards on the ground. Angione’s top target is Senior Tight End Billy Eyer who has caught a team-leading 16 passes for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. Other receivers include Joey Gill (10 Catches, 83 Yards) and Tight End Mitch Croston (3 Catches, 23 Yards).
The Lions defense has allowed 295 Yards (120 Rushing, 175 Passing) and 22 Points per game this year so far. Despite a thin roster, 27 different Minerva players have recorded a defensive statistic this season. Leading the team in tackles for the Lions is Linebacker Lucas Van Meter (92 Tackles, 65 Solo, 11 Tackles for Loss, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble). Alongside him in the Linebacking core are Joe Arnold (45 Tackles, 1 Tackle for a Loss, 1 Sack), Eyer (43 Tackles, 2 Tackles for Loss, 1 Interception, 3 Pass Breakups), Croston (29 Tackles), Dylan Stoffer (21 Tackles), and Hartshorn (16 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 5 Pass Breakups).
4 of Minerva’s 7 Takeaways have come from interceptions by their secondary this season. Angione (2 Interceptions, 7 Pass Breakups) proves to be a shutdown corner for the Lions in this department. Also making plays in the secondary are Joe Lettrich (37 Tackles, 1 Pass Breakups), Joe Gill (26 Tackles, 1 Interception, 4 Pass Breakups), and Kyle Gulling (15 Tackles, 1 Interception, 6 Pass Breakups). The Lions defensive line includes Wylie Brown (25 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Tackles for Loss), Luke Walter (25 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 2 Tackles for Loss), Jake Preston (21 Tackles, 1 Sack), Tristian Keller (1 Fumble Recovery), Drew Soliday (1 Sack), and Dominic Crowe (1 Fumble Recovery).
Shem Haas has contributed on Special Teams for the Lions through both kicking and punting. He has averaged 36.7 yards on 14 punts this season, made a 31 yard field to make him 1 of 2 on the year, and has also booted through 15 of 16 extra point kicks. Hartshorn has also lined up in the backfield as a punter averaging 37.5 yards on 14 punts this season. Adam Gross leads the return game averaging 20.1 yards on 7 kick returns this season, Coy Mullins has also averaged 15.6 yards on 5 kick returns this year, and Gill 22.3 yards on 3 kick returns. Minerva has only taken back 2 punts this season for a total of 7 yards.