READING, Pa. - A 17-0 second-half swing by Lebanon Valley led them in a comeback win at Albright, 24-17, in the 91st meeting of the rivals on Saturday at Shirk Stadium.
Ben Guiles ran for 120 yards and a score while catching two passes for 83 yards - both for touchdowns - as the Dutchmen (4-1, 2-1 MAC) came back from a 17-7 third-quarter deficit with 17 unanswered points to end the game.
Colt Zarilla was an efficient 11-for-17 for 264 yards and two touchdowns, with Tim Picerno catching three passes for 137 yards. LVC's defense made two critical fourth-quarter stands, including a game-ending stop that finished with pass break-ups by Ryan Melley and Clay Chaney.
The expected offensive showcase between two of the MAC's top scoring teams never materialized as Albright (4-2, 2-2 MAC) led by a 10-7 score at halftime. Albright, which averaged 299 yards passing per game coming into the weekend, was held to 95 yards in the air by the LVC defense, which broke up eight passes.
"I told them at halftime I told them we started well, and then we started playing not to lose instead of to win," said head coach Jim Monos. "We finally made some big plays on offense and we won the game at the end with a heck of a defensive stand."
In the first half, Guiles had opened the scoring on a seven-yard run midway through the first quarter, and Albright's Jordan Loiodice hit a 42-yard field goal to end the quarter before Josan Holmes' 10-yard finisher gave the Lions a 10-7 halftime lead.
Zach Groff ran in from eight yards out in the third to extend the lead to 17-7, but LVC's rally began with Sean Fakete's career-long 35-yard field goal to make it a one-score game at the end of the quarter.
LVC's quick-strike offense hit twice in the fourth quarter to take the lead. Down 17-10 to start the fourth, the Dutchmen made a stand just outside their red zone to force a turnover on downs, and Zarilla completed a 67-yard bomb to Picerno on first down to set up a three-yard touchdown catch for Guiles on a broken play.
On their next possession, it took only one play as Zarilla hit Guiles for an 80-yard catch-and-run sprint, helped by a key sideline block from Picerno.
"We had that play in our back pocket for the whole game," Guiles said. "I saw Picerno on the sideline ready to make a block, so I set him up, he made the block, and it turned out to be six points."
LVC's defense had to dig in to end the game, repelling a 14-play Albright drive in the closing minutes as Melley and Chaney both had break-ups at the goal line to secure the win.
The Dutchmen host FDU-Florham next Saturday on Oktoberfest Weekend.
It is the first time since 1994 that LVC has beaten Albright in consecutive years ... LVC won 28-13 last year ... Tradition holds that if LVC beats Albright, students will march to the President's home, Kreiderheim, to request the day before Thanksgiving off from class ... Guiles moved into second on the all-time LVC yardage list, surpassing Rick Coleman '78 ... He now has 3,191 yards and 37 rushing touchdowns ... Excluding victory formation to end the game, LVC ran just five offensive plays in the fourth quarter ... LVC was held to just 100 net yards on the ground, a season low ... The Dutchmen had one turnover, a muffed punt return, and Albright was flawless ... LVC was penalized just once for five yards ... Albright dominated possession 37:09 to 22:51, and led 12:15 to 2:45 in the fourth quarter ... Lebanon Valley began the game with a trick backwards pass from Jake Zeigler to Pete Panichi on the kick-off, giving Panichi a 57-yard return ... LVC was held without a sack, but Jerome Duncan, Wes Rockwell, and Zach Halpin all had tackles for loss ... Jason Gigous led all tackles with 11, and Kevin Smith made 10 hits ... Chaney ended up with two break-ups to go with seven tackles ... The LVC defense was coordinated by secondary coach Corey Wenger in place of Vince Pantalone; Pantalone missed the game to be with his son Nick, an LVC freshman, as he underwent successful surgery to remove cancer on Friday ... An emotional Monos dedicated the game and game ball to the Pantalones.