Saturday, September 1, 2018

Around the MAC - Albright Football Downed by Salisbury in Season Opener

Photo courtesy of Albright Sports Information
SALISBURY, Md. – In a game that featured two weather delays, the Albright Lions football team was unable to overcome a strong rushing attack from Salisbury as they fell 48-14 to the Sea Gulls on the road in the season opener on Friday night.

With the loss, the Lions will start the season 0-1 and have now lost its last two season openers to the Sea Gulls that were played at Salisbury since the recent opening day series started in 2016. Meanwhile, the Sea Gulls will start the season 1-0 as they will begin NJAC play next week.

Junior quarterback Jimmy Lahay finished the night with 157 passing yards on 14-of-36 attempts with no touchdowns or interceptions. Freshman Kevin Zehner led the team in receiving with three catches for 53 yards, while senior wide receiver Kyle Dickerson finished with 59 total offensive yards and one rushing touchdown.

The game started in a lightning delay for an hour and 15 minutes after the initial start time of 7 p.m. Albright elected to receive after winning the coin toss and moved the ball to its own 46-yard line after Lahay found freshman tight end Jory Cole for 25 yards on third and long. The Lions would punt, but then grabbed the ball right back on the second play of the Sea Gull drive after senior defensive lineman David Sanchez forced and recovered a fumble on the Salisbury 33-yard line. The Lions would strike quick to open the scoring after Dickerson scampered 25 yards for a touchdown, giving Albright the early 7-0 lead. The Sea Gulls drove down to the Lions nine-yard line on the ensuing possession before once again fumbling the football and giving the ball back to Albright. Following a Lions three-and-out, Salisbury fumbled for the third-straight drive after the Sea Gull quarterback lost the ball and freshman linebacker Jason Smith recovered the ball to give Albright great position yet again. However, the Lions gave the ball back to Salisbury three plays later on a fumble following a reception. This time, the Sea Gulls held onto the ball and drove 76 yards in six plays to tie the game at seven on a two-yard touchdown run.

Salisbury took its first lead of the game on their initial drive of the second quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run with 12:51 left in the first half. Albright got good starting field position on a short punt after the next Sea Gull drive, and would cash in on a one-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Will Dogba. Starting at the Sea Gull 41, Lahay completed two passes to get down to the one-yard line to set up Dogba to tie the score at 14. Following another weather delay, the Sea Gulls got the ball back and scored what would be the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 48-yard run to take a 21-14 lead.

After a trio of three-and-outs to start the third quarter, the Lions drove down to the Sea Gull 10-yard line before having a holding penalty stall the drive. Following two incompletions, senior Kevin Goetz attempted a 37-yard field goal that was blocked by the Sea Gulls to kill any momentum the Lions picked up during the 11-play drive. In the fourth quarter, Salisbury would put the game away with a 27-point outburst. The Sea Gulls used two big runs to score its first touchdown of the quarter and extend the lead out to 28-14. Salisbury would score again on an 80-yard touchdown run on its next drive to make it a 34-14 game before using a six-play 76-yard drive to extend its lead to 41-14 with just over eight minutes in the game. The Lions did not gain any first downs and managed just five yards in the entire fourth quarter.

On defense, junior cornerback Robert Terrell led the team with 10 tackles (seven solo) while sophomore Nate Steffen added eight tackles (four solo) with 2.5 of them being for loss, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Sanchez finished with five tackles (two solo) and two fumble recoveries.

The Sea Gulls amassed 654 rushing yards as a team and averaged 10.5 yards a run. 237 of those yards came from Michael Mofor, whole also scored two touchdowns. Kaddarius Campbell added 108 yards on the ground and Jacob Philip scored two touchdowns.

Albright will return to action on Saturday, September 8th when they will host defending national runner-up Mary Hardin-Baylor in the home opener at 1 p.m.