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Topment #2A Leopards Dethrone Defending Champs in Classic Win

Louisville Vs. Marlington Football Highlights

2A. Leopards Dethrone Defending Champion Dukes

Three Division I Recruits, Defending AP Poll Champions, State Semifinalists, Defending NBC Champions, and favorites by nearly all the experts.  That’s the Marlington Dukes football team that the Louisville Leopards went up against on September 15, 2011.  In front of a Statewide television audience and a packed Louisville Leopards Stadium, the decided underdog Leopards pulled off a thrilling upset in a game for the ages.

After Louisville took a 27-20 lead, the Marlington Dukes came back with a 47 yard touchdown run that involved quarterback Jesse Carpenter lateraling to Michigan bound Dymonte Thomas who scampered the final 35 yards for the score.  Marlington’s Dan Krupko caught the two-point conversion attempt next to put the Dukes up 28-27 with 4:17 remaining.

Then the legacy of Senior Quarterback Chad Neff and the 2011 Louisville Leopards came to
Beatty's 2012 Football Shirtfruition.  A 9 play 73 yard drive that was filled with plenty of controversy left just 0:44 remaining when Neff leaped and plowed into the endzone for the winning touchdown.  Neff would finish the night 15 of 22 for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns passing and have 28 carries for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing.

Two key plays surged the Leopards on their game-winning drive.  The first was a 23 yard pass completion to Dillon Stertzbach.  The referees ruled Stertzbach down at the end of the play, but a different television angle proved the disaster Louisville avoided.  The second key play was a 22 yard pass completion to Trent Ohman who made the orange and black defenders look silly.  Ohman would be instrumental in the victory catching 9 passes for 116 yards.

While the drive was epic, it was the fight earlier that kept the Leopards in the contest.  Marlington stormed down the field in championship fashion to start the contest and went on to take a 14-0 lead.  In fact, other than a 50 yard Neff to Gavin Lovejoy touchdown pass, the Leopards had little momentum at all.  But the Leopards defense stiffened and their special teams took over.  Minus two explosive plays by Thomas, the Louisville defense shut down the Dukes the rest of the majority of the night.

Stertzbach’s special teams presence played a huge role in the game’s momentum.  First, before halftime he blocked a field goal attempt that would have made it 17-7 Marlington at the half.  Then the turning point in the ball game came when Marlington muffed a punt that Stertzbach quickly fell on during the third quarter.  In that moment the Dukes not only lost control of the ball, but the game as well.  With their momentum after a defensive stop, the Dukes could have easily taken a 21-7 lead.

Instead, Louisville scored 7 plays later when Neff found Billy Lairson for a 9 yard touchdown. Then on the Dukes following drive, they fumbled again.  This led to a 5 yard touchdown run by Lucas Poyser, who was injured at Ravenna a week before.  Instead of the Dukes in the driver’s seat, it was the Leopards.

Leopards Football 2011 Results

Pre-28/19at OrrvilleL720
18/26Walsh JesuitL2627
29/2North Canton HooverW507
39/9at RavennaL631
59/23at MinervaL2629
69/30at AllianceW4314
810/14at West BranchL2130
1010/28at Canton SouthW276

Top 12 Leopards Sports Moments of 2011-12

Honorable Mention Moments

12. Girls Soccer Scores 24 Goals in 2 Games, Records Fall

11. Poyser Wins Back-To-Back District Wrestling Titles

10. Girls Golf Wins Inaugural NBC Title

9. Girls Tennis Wins 2nd Straight NBC

8. Undefeated Girls Track & Gentry Wins Regional

7. X-Country NBC Domination, Rankin Wins Regional

6. Hoover’s Late Victory Leads to NBC Crown

5. Win at McKinley Leads to Undefeated Season

4. Softball Finishes Perfect in NBC, Sets School Wins Record

2B. Volleyball Comes All the Way Back to Win Sectional

2A. Leopards Dethrone Defending Champs in Classic Win

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Check back on Leopard Nation to see which 2011-12 moments were the greatest…

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