WEEK 9 PREVIEW: Salem Quakers at Louisville Leopards
Salem Quakers (4-4, 2-3) at Louisville Leopards (4-4, 3-2)
SPREAD: Louisville By 20 (According to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50)
WHEN: Friday, October 21 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 holds a 3-2 all-time record over Salem.
LAST MEETING: Louisville won 39-20 in Week 3 of the 1993 season.
LAST SALEM WIN: Salem last defeated the Leopards in the opening game of the 1928 season 35-13
Schedule So Far:
Salem — Louisville
LaBrae L 7-21 — Walsh Jesuit L 26- 27
United Local W 24-7 — North Canton Hoover W 50-7
@Niles McKinley W 7-3 — @Ravenna L 6-31
@Carrollton W 34-17 — Marlington W 35-28
@Marlington L 7-42 — Minerva L 26-29
Canton South W 17-0 — Alliance W 43-14
@Alliance L 12-35 — Carrollton W 43-7
Minerva L 14-40 — @West Branch L 21-30
The Leopards will welcome in a new conference foe to Louisville Leopards Stadium Friday night when the Salem Quakers come to town for Senior Night in the final home game of the year. After a rollercoaster season, the Louisville Seniors will have a lot to prove against their newest foe. The 4-4 Leopards have only had one non-winning season in the last 12 years and haven’t had a losing season since before anyone wearing a uniform Friday was born…1989. With the playoff picture all but gone for both teams, how will the 2011 Louisville Leopards be remembered? Find out Friday night.
OFFENSE: Look for Sophomore quarterback Joey Duckworth to rebound Friday night. Although it will be cold and dreary, it shouldn’t be as windy Friday as it was in Beloit last week. Duckworth is 35 of 61 on the season for 471 yards and has 4 touchdowns vs. 6 interceptions. Duckworth has proven to be elusive behind center only being sacked twice this season for a loss of 4 yards. Louisville’s best drive of the game last week at West Branch came when Duckworth and runningback Lucas Poyser found success on the ground. Look for the Leps to get back to the style of offense they played earlier in the season with more quarterback runs and hand-offs to Poyser. Poyser has rushed for 720 yards on 126 carries and has scored 12 Touchdowns. Two big games out of him to close the season will likely give him 1000 yards for the year. Duckworth also has two rushing touchdowns on the ground this season. Wide receiver Trent Ohman leads the NBC in receptions with 54 and yards with 612. Opposite of Ohman, Gavin Lovejoy is tied for second in the conference with 5 receiving touchdowns and Dillon Stertzbach leads all Louisville receivers with an average of 18.5 yards per catch. The real key to the Leopards offense is to hold on to the ball. This year they have fumbled 14 times losing 5 to turnovers, while opposing defenses have picked off 12 Leopard passes. On a possible cold, rainy October night, hanging onto the football may determine the outcome.
DEFENSE: The Leopards are giving up 21.6 points per game and their Achilles Heal has been their run defense all season long. Opponents are averaging 187 yards on the ground per game against the Leopards verses only 93 passing yards per game. Penalties and the ability to stop the Warrior’s offense last week haunted Louisville as West Branch converted all 3 fourth down conversions and 4 of 11 conversions on third down. Salem is another run first opponent so if Louisville continues to give up yardage in the running game, it could be a long night. The Leps defense continues to be aware and ready to pounce on loose balls. Louisville recovered two more fumbles last week at West Branch giving them a total of 11 recoveries this season. Playing disciplined hard-nose run-stopping football and eliminating penalties should go a long way in getting the Leopards defense back to where it needs to be.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Merrick Storlie has made 21 of 26 extra points this season and made all three PAT’s last week. Louisville has yet to attempt a field goal on the year and won’t look to. With five seconds left until halftime at West Branch, the Leps were well into field goal range. However, Coach John Demarco elected to go for six instead and Louisville came up with nothing. Stertzbach has been Louisville’s main return man averaging 10 yards per punt return and 20.8 yards on kick returns. The Leopards have yet to punt since the Alliance game.
OFFENSE: Salem’s offense is only averaging 15.3 points per game and only 193.8 yards per game. The key to the Quakers success has been ball security, as they have only turned the ball over 6 times this season (3 fumbles, 3 INTs). Runningback Austin Noel has been the main weapon on the Salem offense as he has racked up 829 yards on 157 carries and 7 touchdowns this season. At quarterback, Jake Carner has completed 61 of 102 passes for 806 yards and 5 touchdowns verse 3 picks. His main target has been wide receiver Zack Penick who leads the team in receptions with 30 and yards with 357. Another target for Carner is Sophomore wideout Marcus Crittenden who has caught 22 passes for 257 yards this season. Both receivers are tied for the team lead with 2 touchdowns on the year. Look for Salem to pound the running game, play conservative football, and let their defense win the game for them.
DEFENSE: Salem’s defense has been stellar. They have held opponents to 20.6 points per game and 180.6 yards per contest this season. They are also the only NBC team to produce a shutout this season and they did it Week 6 against winless Canton South 17-0. Salem has forced 8 turnovers on defense with 6 of them being interceptions. Many of these turnovers can be attributed to their strong pass rush that has produced 10 sacks this season. Linebaker James Norkus along with defensive lineman John Tafe and Max Schuster have produced two sacks each. Schuster is also tied for the team lead in tackles with 33, Carner at defensive back has the same total. Both linebacker Austin Noel and defensive back Marcus Crittenden lead the team with two interceptions a piece. Gage Piatt has also been a force at linebacker recording 7 out of 30 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and recovering a fumble. The Quaker defensive attack is only allowing 1.5 yards per rush and if they shut down the struggling Leopards running game they will force Duckworth to put the ball in the air after last week’s meltdown. We all know how well things go when the Leopards become one dimensional, so Louisville is going to need to win the battle in the trenches if they are going to pull this one out.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Keaton O’brien has been a solid kicker for the Quakers making 7 of 9 extra points and a 27-yard field goal in NBC play this season. However, Senior Karsen Kuhns assumed duties last week against Minerva making his only extra point kick and also running in a two-point conversion. Salem’s kick coverage has been excellent as NBC opponents have yet to score a touchdown on either a punt or kick. However, the Quakers have yet to return a kick or punt or a score either.
Number of Shutouts: Louisville-0, Salem-1
Leopards Highest Margin of Victory: 1992 they won 27-8 and 1993 they won 39-20
Salem’s Highest Margin of Victory: 1928 they won 35-13
Highest Combined Score: 59 Points – 1993 – Louisville 39, Salem 20
Lowest Combined Score: 12 Points – 1926 – Salem 12, Louisville 0
Longest Winning Streak: Louisville – 2 Games – 1992-93
Total Points Scored: Louisville-88, Salem-81
Average Score: Louisville-18, Salem 16