Marlington Dukes at Louisville Leopards 2011 Football Highlights
Louisville 35, Marlington 28
This was supposed to be the Dukes spotlight, but it was the Leopards story. Louisville showed heart, they showed guts, and they showed the state what Leopards football is all about during a 35-28 win over Marlington Thursday night at Louisville Leopards Stadium. Chad Neff finished the game with 28 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns rushing and was 15-of-22 for 200 yards passing with 2 more touchdowns through the air. Neff also led Louisville on an unforgettable drive.
With 4:17 remaining, a single digit on the scoreboard and 73 yards stood in the way of Louisville’s possible playoff dream and possible NBC crown. It started ugly too, with runningback Lucas Poyser being stuffed at the line of scrimmage. But a 23-yard pass to Dillon Stertzbach followed and appeared to end in a fumble recovered by Marlington ending Louisville’s dreams. But, the ref ruled Stertzbach down and the drive continued. A 7-yard strike to Trent Ohman and a 5-yard run by Neff put the Leopards across midfield.
Then the trip for six went in reverse when Neff was stopped for a 2-yard loss. But Louisville rebound immediately when Neff again found Ohman who juked two defenders on his way to a 22-yard gain. Ohman finished leading all receivers with 9 Catches for 116 yards on the evening.
From the Leopards 18 Neff fought for 9 more yards. On the next play, he sacrificed his body again for 5 additional yards. Then, on a night when three Division I college prospects were in the spotlight on statewide television coverage, it was Neff that rolled out and threw his body into the air and across the plane to give Louisville the go-ahead 33-28 lead with 44.9 seconds remaining.
Louisville converted the two-point attempt when Neff found Stertzbach in the back of the endzone. The defense did the rest forcing two incompletions and stuffing Alden Hill in the backfield. A 4th-and-14 pass bounced off the fingertips of Dukes wide receiver Alex Williamson and the Dukes 14 game regular season winning streak snapped at the same address where it had restarted before.
A Knee preluded a celebration by players and fans. The mystery of the 2011 Leopards team was answered by the count of 35-28.
Marlington looked like the defending Division III AP Poll Champions on the opening drive the game. Going 67 Yards on 8 Plays before Jesse Carpenter ran in a quarterback draw from 3 yards out.
On the Dukes next drive Louisville stopped them deep in Leopards territory when a 4th-and-7 pass fell incomplete. The Leopards took the ball and marched back into Duke territory before facing a 4th-and-10 on the 27-yard-line. Neff found Ohman who made the grab and hung on to move the chains. But, three plays later Neff’s 3rd-and-10 pass near the endzone was picked off by defensive back Austin Hoover giving Marlington the ball back.
They didn’t waste any time moving it back into Leopard territory either as Alden Hill carried the ball 47 yards to the Leopards 43-yard-line on the first play of the drive. Hill finished the evening with 18 carries for 132 yards. A few plays later the Dukes caught the Leopards keying in on the run with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Carpenter to Clayton Staib. It was 14-0 Dukes.
But then a spark was lit under the Leopards and it started on their next drive. After a four plays, Neff found a wide open Gavin Lovejoy who took it to the house for a 50-yard touchdown that cut the Dukes lead in half.
Louisville forced Marlington to punt on their next drive, but turned the ball back over to the Dukes when a pass tipped off Lovejoy’s hands and into the outstretched arms of defensive back Shawn Kirk giving Marlington the ball on the Louisville 13. Then things got crazy. The Leopards stuffed Hill on third down forcing a 4th-and-1 play. With the clock ticking and no timeouts remaining, Marlington rushed their field goal unit onto the field. Kicker Mike McDermont blasted the kick through the uprights, but a yellow hanky had been thrown. An illegal procedure against the Dukes backed the ball up five yards with 0:00 left on the clock. After a long debate as to whether the half was to end or not and two timeouts taken by the Leopards, McDermont once again lined up for the kick. But this time Louisville blocked it and took the momentum into the half.
Marlington seemed to tilt the momentum tide back to their side forcing Louisville into a three-and-out to start the second half, but this turned out to ignite the Leopards even more. Neff’s punt was muffed by Williamson and Stertzbach was right there to recover the fumble flip-flopping field position simultaneously. Seven plays later Neff rolled out to his right and found Billy Lairson literally on top of the “D” in the north endzone for a 9-yard touchdown strike to make it a new ball game at 14-14.
Louisville created another break when Corey Neff stripped the ball from Hill at midfield. Jake Sluss picked it up and rolled to the Marlington 44-yard-line. Soon after that, a facemask penalty inched Louisville 15 yards closer to the lead. A couple more scrappy plays by the Leopards set them up at the 5-yard-line where the questionable ankle sprained Poyser worked his magic to give the Leopards the touchdown advantage. Poyser finished with 13 carries for 33 yards in his return.
But the Leopards lead was trimmed down to a single point on just the second play of Marlington’s next drive when Thomas blazed past the Leopards defense on a pitch play from 67 yards out. Thomas led all rushers with 10 carries for 150 yards on the night. Stertzbach came around the left side of the line to block the extra point, leaving the score 21-20 Leps.
The fired up Dukes started the next drive by sacking Neff for a loss. However, the Leopards didn’t panic. A short pass to Stertzbach and a short run by Poyser would have left them punting, but Marlington hit the Leopards runningback after the whistle drawing the 15-yard penalty. A bunch of tough runs up the gut by Neff set the Leopards up inside the 10-yard-line before Neff rolled out for a 6-yard score. After a botched snap on the extra point Louisville led 27-20.
The Leopards stopped the Dukes on a 4th-and-4 play during the next possession when Sluss sacked Carpenter at midfield. But, just like the first half the Leopards gave Marlington a gift off the fingertips of Ohman and into the hands of Hoover for his second interception of the game. A fake one way and a run by Carpenter the other opened up a huge whole. Carpenter then lateraled the ball to Thomas on the 35-yard-line and he took it the rest of the way for the score.
After a timeout, Marlington decided to go for the lead. They got what they wanted because of great protection that provided Carpenter enough time to find an open Dan Krupko for the conversion. 28-27 Dukes led with 4:17 remaining. The rest is history, because this isn’t the 2010 story stuck on repeat, this is the fresh release of the 2011 chapter of Leopards football.
NEXT UP: The Leopards will travel to Minerva to take on the Lions on Friday, September 23 at 7:00 PM. Be sure to come back to Leopard Nation later in the week to get an in-depth preview on the game and series history.
LEOPARDS 35, DUKES 28
1 2 3 4 Final
Marlington 7 7 6 8 28
Louisville 0 7 14 14 35
M- 8:25 – Jesse Carpenter 4 yd run
Mike McDermott PAT
8 plays 67 yds
M – 4:41 – Clayton Staib 22 yd pass from Jesse Carpenter
Mike McDermott PAT
7 plays 88 yds
L – 2:44 – Gavin Lovejoy 50 yd pass from Chad Neff
Merrick Storlie PAT
5 plays 72 yds
L – 7:49 Billy Lairson 9 yd pass from Chad Neff
Merrick Storlie PAT
7 plays 28 yds
L – 2:46 – Lucas Poyser 5 yd run
Merrick Storlie PAT
6 plays 44 yds
M – 2:03 – Dymonte Thomas 67 yd run
2 plays 70 yds
L – 8:03 – Chad Neff 6 yd run
13 plays 72 yds
M- 4:17 – Dymonte Thomas 47 yd run
Dan Krupko pass from Jesse Carpenter 2pt Conversion
2 plays 48 yds
L – 0:44 – Chad Neff 4 yd run
Dillon Stertzbach pass from Chad Neff 2 pt Conversion
9 plays 73 yds
Marlington – 13
Louisville – 19
Marlington – 39 carries for 306 yds 3 TD’s
Louisville – 41 carries for 143 yds 3 TD’s
Marlington – 5 of 11 for 58 yds 1 TD 0 INT
Louisville – 15 of 22 for 200 yds 2 TD’s 3 INT’s
Marlington – 3/2
Louisville – 1/0
Marlington – 4 for 45
Louisville – 1 for 10
3rd Down Conversions:
Marlington – 5 of 10
Louisville – 5 of 10
4th Down Conversions:
Marlington – 0 for 2
Louisville – 2 for 2
Marlington – Dymonte Thomas – 10 carries for 150 yds 2 TD’s
Alden Hill – 18 carries for 132 yds 0 TD’s
Louisville – Chad Neff – 28 carries for 110 yds 2 TD’s
Lucas Poyser – 13 carries for 33 yds 1 TD
Marlington – Jesse Carpenter – 5 of 11 for 58 yds 1 TD 0 INT
Louisville – Chad Neff – 15 of 22 for 200 yds 2 TD’s 3 INT
Marlington – Clayton Staib – 2 catches for 33 yds 1 TD
Louisville – Trent Ohman – 9 catches for 116 yds
Dillon Stertzbach 3 catches for 27 yds
Gavin Lovejoy – 1 catch for 50 yds 1 TD
Billy Lairson – 1 catch for 9 yds 1 TD
Records: Louisville 2-2, Marlington 3-1
***STATS COURTESY OF MIKE BURK***