The Albright College football team rode a dominating defensive display in the first half and found the end zone after the break, opening the 2013 season with a 30-14 victory over visiting Kean University on Saturday night.
The Lions held their opponents to just 22 yards of offense, and -19 rushing yards, in the first half. The Cougars did not pick up a first down until 8:50 remaining in the second quarter.
Senior safety Drew Peterson intercepted two passes, his third career game with multiple picks. Cornerback Levi Myers had a game-high 12 tackles, two of which were behind the line of scrimmage.
On the defensive line, Don Guido and Matt Pattison each had a sack. Fellow senior Mark Capetola totaled six tackles and 1.5 TFLs.
After scoring three TDs against Kean last year, senior running back Ty Hughes (22 carries, 90 yards) found the end zone twice more in the second half. Senior wide receiver Devron Clark had six catches for 95 yards.
Sophomore kicker Daniel Sobolewski made 3-of-4 field goals, with his only miss coming from what would have been a school-record 48 yards. He booted one touchback and put several other kickoffs into the end zone.
Albright made several big first half plays to squash Kean drives. On the first Cougar possession, Capetola broke through the line for a four-yard loss on a run, and a Pattison sack led to a 4th-and-21 punt and great field position for the Lions. Sobolewski's 34-yarder opened the scoring.
On the next Kean drive, Capetola and Matt Filosa flushed the QB out of the pocket on third down for another stop. Then Peterson took an interception back for a touchdown, but the score was negated due to a holding penalty.
Myers and Filosa stopped Kean QB Christian Bailoni for a nine-yard loss on the first possession of the second quarter, with Albright getting the ball back and tacking on three more points. Albright's TJ Luddy was intercepted by defensive lineman Sage Kerrin deep in Red and White territory, but a sack by Sean Cunningham and Gould went for a 14-yard loss and pushed the Cougars out of field goal range.
The first Albright touchdown came with 9:11 remaining in the third quarter. The Lions stacked the right side on a 3rd-and-1 from the 20, and Luddy pitched left to sophomore Dwayne Randall for the score and a 13-0 lead.
After a great throw-and-catch from Bailoni to Eddie DeMarchi right up the seam set up Kean's first TD, Clark answered with catches of 27 and 30 yards. Hughes dove in from two yards out to make it 20-7 Lions.
Kean blew a punt snap in the fourth quarter that went for a 37-yard loss and Albright possession on downs. Hughes scored again, this time from the one-yard line, for a 27-7 lead.
Despite struggling in the first half and throwing a pair of picks, Bailoni finished an remarkable 29-of-35 (82.9%) and had one touchdown pass. Sean McKee caught eight balls for 51 yards while also carrying the ball eight times.
Albright (1-0) begins Middle Atlantic Conference play next Saturday, 1 p.m. at Stevenson University.