Steelhawks Soar over Defending Champs
Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks opened their 2016 regular season with a road win over the Central Penn Capitals. The defense continued their strong defensive presence and the offense started clicking early to get the 44-27 win.
Lehigh Valley started the game off on the right foot, the right foot of kicker Ken Parrish (14 points, 2-4 fgs,4-5 pats, 2 deuces), who drilled the opening kickoff through the uprights for a deuce and two points. On the ensuing possession the defense forced the Capitals to go three and out and turn the ball over on downs giving the Steelhawks offense great field possession to get started. Starting quarterback Jake Jablonski (4 passing tds, 1 rushing) would end up punching it into the endzone from a yard out to give Lehigh Valley six points. Midway through the first quarter, the 'Hawks held a nine to zero lead.
The Capitals would get on the board however on their next possession; QB Juice Williams scampered in from three yards out to give the Caps their first score. As the first quarter came to an end, the Steelhawks were struggling to put plays together. They started the second quarter with fourth and eleven from their own 23. Their long FG attempt was blocked, giving the Capitals the ball with good field possession. But the defense came up big. DL Tahir Basil brought pressure into the backfield, forcing Juice Williams to lob the ball towards the endzone and DB James Pitts came down with the ball for the interception. Set up by a great catch by WR Darius Prince, WR Brandon Renford would be on the receiving end of Jablonski's 10 yd touchdown strike to follow. The 'Hawks' defense would hold the Capitals to just a long field goal attempt on their next possession that would fall short. Parrish would connect on a 27 yard field goal on the ensuing possession and then hit another deuce on the kickoff to follow. The defense would have another great series, forcing a turnover on downs with enough time left on the clock for the offense to drive and set up another 27 yard field goal for Parrish. Lehigh Valley took a 23-7 lead into halftime.
The third quarter started with a bang - beginning with good field possession, Jablonski would find WR Jerrell Young for a seven yard td completion, extending the lead to 30-7. A great kickoff return by the Capitals set up a short rushing touchdown and a two point conversion for Central Penn. The Steelhawks offense hit a snag for the rest of the quarter however and the quarter would end with the score remaining 30-13.
The Capital's would mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, pulling to within ten points with just over six minutes left in the game. But the offense would answer and the defense, once again, late in the game, would hold. On the Capital's last drive, they forced a 4th and 14 after a LB Justin Shirk (two sacks) sack on third down. The pass would fall incomplete and the Hawks would take over and run off the last 26 seconds. Final score: Lehigh Valley 44, Central Penn 27.
While the defense had an overall great game, the Capitals were dangerous off the legs of Juice Williams and were able to convert short yardage pass plays. Lehigh Valley's coverage on kickoffs was lacking as well, allowing numerous drives starting with great field possession. Offensively, Jablonski proved a solid leader under center. Both Prince and WR Greg Edwards were the workhorses, setting up drives for final short touchdown passes.
Next week the Hawks have a bye, and then will be on the road in North Carolina when they take on the Triangle Torch on March 25th. The Steelhawks will be on the road for a month, before returning home to Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center for a Friday night matchup against the Winston Wildcats. Kickoff for that game will be at 7:30pm where the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Steelhawks hat courtesy of Service Electric. It's not too late to get 2016 flex packs either. Both they and individual game packages to watch the Steelhawks play inside the PPL Center are on sale now. Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks. For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news. Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100. The Steelhawks play all of their home games on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center.
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Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Celebrate a Win
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