Steelhawks Win in Explosive Finish
Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks traveled west to Erie to take on the Explosion in each teams 2015 season opener. In an exciting game from the beginning, the Steelhawks held on to beat the Explosion in the teams' opening Sunday.
Erie started off the game on the right note when K Shon Rowser hit an uno on the opening kickoff. But that would be the only point on the board for much of the first quarter as both teams turned the ball over on downs on their first possessions. The Steelhawks got things going with just under five minutes remaining when QB Shane McSweeny (3 tds passing, 3 rushing) connected with WR Brandon Renford (3 tds, 140yds) on a beautiful 15 yard pitch and one-handed catch in the back of the endzone; giving Lehigh Valley a 7-1 lead. The defense would keep things going as on Erie's next possession, DB Chindy Ako-Agugua came up big with a pick six; returning an interception 15 yards for the touchdown. The Explosion would not be quiet for the entire quarter however. With about 30 seconds left, QB Mason Espinosa found WR Alfonso Hoggard for a long 40 yard touchdown completion. At the end of the quarter, the Steelhawks led 13-8.
The second quarter had more action, Lehigh Valley would work the ball down the field and get in the endzone on a McSweeny (3 tds rushing) keeper from the 1 yard line; pushing the lead to 20-8. After the ensuing kickoff hit the ceiling giving Erie a short field to work with, the Steelhawks defense came up big as DB Larry Ford got Lehigh Valley's second sack of the game, forcing Erie into a 4th and 17. Their long field goal attempt was short and DB/KR Jesse Cooper returned the ball out to midfield. But the Hawks couldn't get anything going and their field goal attempt was no good. With under three minutes on the clock, Erie would start driving and with 50 seconds left, Espinosa would hit WR Tony Green for a nine yard touchdown to cut Lehigh Valley's lead to five. The Steelhawks would get three points back when K Shawn Leo hit a 48 yard field goal. Going into halftime, Lehigh Valley led 23-15.
Erie tried to take control of the game in the third quarter. They wasted no time in tying the game; after the Steelhawks kickoff hit the ceiling, QB Jeff Sinclair found a wide open receiver for a 30 yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and then completed the 2 point conversion as well. The Steelhawks would get a touchdown of their own and retake the lead when McSweeny found Renford for another touchdown strike, this one from 20 yards out. Erie would control the rest of the quarter; scoring two touchdowns and forcing a fumble. The Steelhawks would be held scoreless for over 11 minutes and trailed by eight heading into the fourth.
Lehigh Valley would finally get going offensively on their first possession in the fourth when McSweeny converted the fourth down from inside the one to get the Hawks to within two on the scoreboard. After Erie scored another touchdown to go back up by 8, the teams would continue to trade possessions going into the one minute warning. On the last play before the warning, the Defensive Lineman Larry Ford would force a fumble and DL Amara Kamara (2 fumble recoveries, 2 sacks) won the battle in a scrum to recover the ball on Erie's 19 yard line. The McSweeny-Renford due would strike yet again for a score, followed by McSweeny finding WR Denzell Jones to complete the two point conversion; the score was tied at 43 with a long 55 seconds left on the clock. The defense would seal the game for the Hawks when Ford forced a fumble that Kamara picked up and took to the one yard line with 20 seconds left. McSweeny gave the Steelhawks the lead as he easily ran it in for the score. But with 11.9 seconds left on the clock Steelhawks' fans couldn't relax just yet. On first down, Erie attempted a pass over the middle that was tipped and DB David Castillo got underneath to give the Steelhawks the ball back and lock up the win! Final score: Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 50, Erie Explosion 43.
By scoring 50 points, the Steelhawks completed the Domino's 50 Point Challenge which means local Lehigh Valley Domino's will be offering 50% off ANY menu priced pizza for 3 days starting the day after the game with the use of promo code SH50! Offer not valid with any other offers, and only valid at participating locations.
The Steelhawks are on the road next weekend in Nashville in a rematch of last year's championship game. The game will be played Friday night at 8:30pm EST. The team will return to the Valley for their Home Opener the following week, Sunday, April 12th in an inter league game against the Marion Blue Racers. The game is presented by KALCO Resources, the Official Excavation Company of the Steelhawks; and the first 1,000 fans will get a FREE Steelhawks 5th Year t-shirt courtesy of KALCO Resources.
Tickets to individual Steelhawks games are now available, and now you can pick your exact seat when purchasing online! And season tickets are still available. We hope to everyone inside the PPL Center this season for the Steelhawks 5th season! 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! 2015 Season Ticket packages are now on sale! Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100.
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Lehigh Valley Steelhawks vs. Erie Explosion
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