Dragons blanked by Rams
Saturday, September 01, 2012
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
PURCHASE LINE - Purchase Line head football coach Brandon Overdorff was one of the premier running backs in Dragon football history. It must've been tough in his coaching debut to see three running backs sustain injuries, all within three plays on Friday.
Josh Huey, Grant Syster and Alec Sunderlin all suffered injuries on consecutive plays in the first quarter. Syster and Sunderlin returned later in the game, but Huey did not return after being hit in the chest.
On the other side of the field, Ligonier Valley could not be stopped with the arm and the legs of quarterback Sean Fennell.
He was 2-for-2 with 71 yards and passed for two touchdowns, ran in two and picked off two passes to lead the Rams as they blanked Purchase Line in a Week 1 Heritage Conference contest, 47-0, on Friday evening at Barry T. Madill Memorial Field.
"He took a shot to the abdomen, and that's all I know," said Overdorff of Huey. "He was in some severe pain. We just send our prayers up to him."
"I've never seen that happen where you lose three running backs in three consecutive plays in all my years of football. That doesn't help at all."
Purchase Line won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. But the Dragons had trouble moving the ball on the first series.
On the first play from scrimmage, Purchase Line quarterback Luke Stolitza bobbled the snap and recovered his fumble. The Dragons sustained another loss on second down before picking up seven yards on a pass to Gavin Ewing from Stolitza.
The Rams' Connor Maust took Josh Pierce's punt all the way to the 37-yard line to set up shop for Ligonier's first drive.
After two speed runs from Maust and a power carry from fullback Ryan Torrance, Fennell ran in his first touchdown from eight yards out. Maddy Grimm's extra point was blocked to give the Rams an early 6-0 lead.
"That Ligonier football team is loaded with speed and great athletes," said Overdorff. "We were just outclassed."
Not even three minutes later, Fennell hit Maust on a 26-yard pass. Fennell found Maust out of the backfield and Maust outran the secondary to paydirt. Maust also ran in the 2-point conversion.
After Fennell picked off an errant Dragon pass, he hooked up with Maust again. This time, he hit Maust with a deep ball from 45 yards out to give Ligonier Valley a 20-0 lead.
"He's one of many athletes on the team," said Overdorff of Fennell. "They have athletes everywhere and they have speed everywhere. They can throw the ball. They can run the ball and they can block. That's tough to defend."
On the first play of the second quarter, the Dragons fumbled inside their own 10-yard line. Two plays later, Torrance bowled his way through the Purchase Line defensive front for a touchdown.
On the next drive, Stolitza found tight end Luke Barnett over the middle for 16 yards on a key third down play for the Dragons second first down of the game.
Later in the drive, Stolitza was brought down for a sack by Stuart Urch from his linebacker position to force the Dragons to punt. Stolitza was 5-of-9 for 38 yards in the game.
"I think he's one of the kids that is all-in in this program," said Overdorff. "He's going to lead us and there are going to be brighter days ahead for him."
The punt was partially blocked, and the Ram drive started at the 10-yard line. That is where Fennell rushed in his second touchdown. Torrance also ran in another touchdown from 40 yards to give Ligonier Valley a 40-0 advantage at the break.
The Rams opened the second half with a running clock due to the mercy rule.
They started with a six-minute drive that was capped off on a bizarre play. Dereck Croyle looked as if he would carry in a touchdown, but a Dragon put a hit on him at the 1-yard line that caused him to fumble. Tight end Justin Piper quickly picked up the ball and ran in for the touchdown to cap off the scoring.
However, there was no quit in the Dragons as they ran the ball effectively late in the fourth quarter.
Todd Greene sprinted for 38 yards and almost took it to the house, but he was caught at the 15-yard line. The Ram defense fought off the Dragon drive to keep them off the board.
"We kept fighting and we never quit. That's a credit to the kids. That's something we've been trying to get better at, to get tougher physically and mentally. We have to get better."
"We made mistakes, but we did do some good things. We just have to build on what we have now."
Purchase Line travels to Blairsville, a 43-20 winner over Marion Center last night, on Friday night while Ligonier Valley entertains United.
Ligonier Valley 47
Purchase Line 0
Score By Quarters
Ligonier Valley 20 20 7 0-47
Purchase Line 0 0 0 0- 0
LV-Fennell 8 run, (kick blocked), 8:16.
LV-Maust 26 pass from Fennell, (Maust run), 5:27.
LV-Maust 45 pass from Fennell, (kick failed), 3:37.
LV-Torrance 2 run, (Grimm kick), 11:12.
LV-Fennell 10 run, (pass failed), 6:38.
LV-Torrance 40 run, (Grimm kick), 3:47.
LV-Piper 1 fumble return, (Grimm kick), 6:10.
Total First Downs 6 6
Rushes-Yards 36-211 32-59
Comp-Att-Int 2-2-0 5-9-3
Passing Yards 71 38
Total Plays-Yards 38-282 41-97
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 4-2
Punts-Avg 1-32 4-24
Penalties-Yards 8-47 3-22
Ligonier Valley- Torrance 9-64, De. Croyle 3-58, Keller 8-33, Maust 3-27, Fennell 4-16, Da. Croyle 1-10, Jones 1-3, Frei 1-2, Caldwell 1-1, Payne 1-1, Waugh 1-(-1), Team 3-(-3).
Purchase Line- Greene 13-51, Ewing 5-10, Pierce 5-9, G. Syster 1-5, Huey 5-1, Stolitza 3-(-17).
Ligonier Valley-Fennell 2-of-2, 71 yds., 2 TD, 0 Int.
Purchase Line-Stolitza 5-of-9, 38 yds., 3 Int.
Ligonier Valley-Maust 2-71.
Purchase Line- Barnett 1-16, Ewing 2-12, Huey 1-8, Greene 1-2.