Leopards Down 14-0 in 4th, Roar Back to Beat Tallmadge – Freshman Football
Louisville 16, Tallmadge 14
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The Louisville Leopards Freshman Football Team rallied in the fourth quarter to down the visiting Tallmadge Blue Devils 16-14 Thursday Evening at Louisville Leopards Stadium. With the victory, Louisville improves to 2-1 on the season.
Stoffer Runs in Two Touchdowns in Final 6:16
Down 14-0 and starting from their own 20, the Leopards marched 80 yards on 13 plays to get on the scoreboard. Quarterback Gabe Stoffer ran for a first down on 3rd-and-1 on the first series of the drive and later scrambled free for a 25 yard gain on 4th-and-5 to setup Louisville 1st-and-goal. Two plays later, Stoffer juked a charging Tallmadge lineman and scored from a yard away with 6:16 remaining in the game. On the conversion try, Stoffer threaded the needle on a quick pass to his left that found the sure hands of Colten Norris to get the Leopards to within 14-8.
The Blue Devils got the ball back and marched past midfield looking to mount a game winning drive. Instead they fumbled the ball on an exchange in the backfield and Louisville’s Massimo Roberts pounced on it at the midfield stripe.
The Leopards faced a 3rd-and-5 just three plays later. Stoffer took the snap, rolled to his right, and then cut back left into open turf sprung by blocks from Micah Bricker and Norris. Stoffer side stepped a defender near the left sideline at the 25 and plunged his way into the left side of the endzone as a Blue Devil defender tackled him from the right. Showing great sportsmanship, Stoffer celebrated his score and then helped the defender he just scored on back up. That touchdown tied the game at 14-14 with 3:20 to play.
After a timeout, Stoffer threw to Norris in the left flat for the two-point conversion to give Louisville its first lead of the contest at 16-14.
Leopards Defense Seals the Game
The defense did the rest. Owen DiMarzio came charging in on the first play of Tallmadge’s next drive forcing a pass behind the line of scrimmage. Anderson Kandel drove the ball carrier out of bounds for a two yard loss. On second down, Bryce Johnson and Bricker blew up a screen pass in the backfield that forced a fumble and another three yard loss. The Blue Devils 3rd-and-15 pass fell incomplete and Stoffer broke up Tallmadge’s 4th-and-15 pass in the Leopard secondary.
Louisville was able to run out most of the game clock on their next drive before the Blue Devils got the ball back for one last play. Johnson ended any chance of Tallmadge heroics by wrapping up the Blue Devil receiver at the THS 42 yard line to conclude the game.
Louisville Defense Records 5 Takeaways
Tallmadge took a 14-0 lead via touchdown passes of 10 and 47 yards from quarterback Anthony Bontempo to wide receiver Caleb Kendrick. Runningback Logan Miles also ran in a two-point conversion and was paramount in moving the ball downfield for the Blue Devils offense.
Tallmadge had multiple chances to turn the game into a rout early, but the timely Leopard defense produced five takeaways on the day. On the Blue Devils opening drive, a big run by Miles was negated by a fumble that was forced by Norris and recovered by Stoffer at the Louisville 20.
Later in the second quarter, DiMarzio launched unblocked into the Blue Devil backfield twice to strip the quarterback before he could attempt a handoff. DiMarzio also recovered both of his strip fumbles at the Leopard 29 and later at the Louisville 23. Tallmadge had dominated field position to that point marching the ball inside the LHS 30 three times, yet the contest remained scoreless courtesy of three timely Leopard takeaways.
The Blue Devils seized momentum by scoring a touchdown with 23 seconds to go in the opening half. They got the ball first to begin the second half as well looking poised to increase their advantage. Instead, Luke Seaman intercepted a pass on the first play of the third quarter to give Louisville its best starting field position of the day at the Tallmadge 37.
The Leopard offense would not break through until the fourth quarter as they were plagued by a pair of turnovers. Following Seaman’s interception, a Louisville exchange was fumbled and bounced a few times on a pile of players near the line of scrimmage. Nate Hunter-Heller plucked the ball out of the air and went to the ground at the Tallmadge 26. Harry Jividen also recorded an interception for the Blue Devils earlier in the second quarter at the THS 35. Tallmadge would turn that takeaway into their first scoring drive which was keyed by a 45 yard pass reception from Bontempto to Miles sprung by a Hunter-Heller block.
In the end, the Leopards would win the turnover battle and the game. Roberts fourth quarter fumble recovery would turn the tide and lead to Louisville’s game-winning scoring drive.
UP NEXT: The Louisville Leopards Freshman Football Team will next host the North Canton Hoover Vikings on Thursday, September 8. Game time is set for 5:00 PM from Louisville Leopards Stadium.
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Tallmadge at Louisville Freshman Game Statistics
LEOPARDS 16, BLUE DEVILS 14
TALLMADGE – Caleb Kendrick 10 Yard Pass from Anthony Bontempo (Logan Miles Run) | LHS 0, THS 8, 0:23
TALLMADGE – Caleb Kendrick 47 Yard Pass from Anthony Bontempo (Kick Failed) | LHS 0, THS 14, 6:22
LOUISVILLE – Gabe Stoffer 1 Yard Run (Colten Norris Pass from Gabe Stoffer) | LHS 8, THS 14, 6:16
LOUISVILLE – Gabe Stoffer 49 Yard Run (Colten Norris Pass from Gabe Stoffer) | LHS 16, THS 14, 3:20
Records: Louisville 2-1