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Johnson Motors - 877-816-0659
Purchase Line tripped up by Marion Center
Saturday, September 24, 2011
By Adam Reale Sports Writer
MARION CENTER - Purchase Line head football coach Dave Small said that last week's practices were some of the best he had seen from his team all season.
For three quarters, it looked like the hard work might pay off for the Red Dragons.
But two late Marion Center scores and a drive stalling at the Stinger 4-yard line sank Purchase Line, 28-7.
"The score doesn't indicate the game it went in," Small said. "We just came out with the bad end of it.
"We get in from the 4, and I think we start believing we got a real good shot of coming out of here with a ‘W.' But the football gods weren't smiling on us."
The Red Dragons churned out 267 yards on the ground - 190 of which came in the second half - and the defense and special teams forced three turnovers.
Down 14-0 after the half, Purchase Line and Marion Center traded punts to start the third quarter.
Purchase Line then took the ball to the Stinger 16, but the drive stalled when the offense could not convert a fourth-and-6.
Two plays later, Dalton Patterson recovered his second fumble of the game to give the Dragons advantageous field position on the Stinger 13-yard line.
Josh Huey and Luke Stolitza each ran the ball to get down to the 3-yard line, and Josh Pierce pounded the ball twice for the score. Patterson's kick was good to bring Purchase Line within a touchdown at the 11:17 mark of the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Dragons put themselves in ideal position to tie the game.
The ball came loose on the return and Westley Bennett came up with Purchase Line's third turnover of the game at the Marion Center 17-yard line.
The three fumble recoveries were Purchase Line's first of the season, a trend Small hopes continues.
"We were very happy to see that. We talked about it at halftime, we finally got a turnover because it hasn't happened," he said.
"Up to that point, we were doing a lot of arm tackling and things, but our kids came tonight to play and they hit people. That's how you get separation from the ball. You can see how the momentum changes when you get that turnover. I thought we had it."
Huey and Pierce carried the ball to give the Dragons a first-and-goal on Marion Center's 4-yard line, but that was as far as Purchase Line got.
After a fumbled snap and two penalties, the Dragons offense was moved back to the 26-yard line, and passes on third and fourth down were incomplete.
"I thought we were right there, we're ready to play and we're ready to win this game," Small said about being four yards from the tie.
"If we punch this in, I think we got the momentum and I think it's our night. But it didn't happen."
Marion Center scored on its next two possessions to make the score 28-7. Purchase Line's final drive stalled at the Stinger 17-yard line to end the game.
In the first half, the Dragons struggled to move the ball until their final drive of the half.
After totaling 12 plays on its first three possessions, Purchase Line compiled a 12-play drive with Huey, Pierce and Troy Klingensmith leading the charge. The drive went down to the Marion Center 24-yard line before the half ended.
"We were seeing where they were overplaying us to our flanker side early in the game," Small explained. "Our O-line came up and said, ‘Coach, we can go right at these guys.' I said, ‘OK, that's what we're doing.' Offensively, my O-line was doing a great job and my backs were running hard.
"If you get Josh Huey out in the open field, he can break it. He almost broke two tonight. Troy came in and did a nice job. And Josh Pierce did a nice job running the ball tonight."
Pierce led the team with 91 yards on the ground. Huey was right behind him with 89 and Klingensmith added 87.
The run defense was also effective for much of the night. A week after allowing nearly 400 yards to United, the Dragons allowed 190 to the Stingers triple-threat of Brodey Thompson, Nick Lamantia and quarterback Mike Cavazza.
"I was happy with our run defense tonight," Small said. "They weren't getting the trap, which is where United had success against us. We shut that down. Now we need to work on the next phase, which is shutting the outside down.
"We're moving in the right direction; it's just a matter of putting everything together and coming together on a 48-minute Friday night and playing."
Coming off consecutive big losses, Small said the loss to Marion Center was a game to build on.
"We definitely take some positives away from this game," he said. "I told my guys that we played as well as you're going to play for three quarters, we just didn't put together 48 minutes yet.
"If we take this and go into practice next week and come out ready to play like we did tonight, we'll be fine next Friday."
Purchase Line (0-4) hosts Northern Cambria on Friday.

Marion Center 28
Purchase Line 7

Score By Quarters
Purchase Line ÁÀ0 ÁÀ0 ÁÀ0 ÁÀ7-À7
Marion Center ÁÀ7 ÁÀ7 ÁÀ0 Á14-28

First Quarter
MC-Thompson 4 run, (Coon kick), 2:01.
Second Quarter
MC-Cavazza 2 run, (Coon kick), 8:25.
Fourth Quarter
PL-Pierce 1 run, (Patterson kick), 11:17.
MC-Thompson 46 pass from Cavazza, (Coon kick), 6:52.
MC-Lamantia 12 run, (Coon kick), 1:58.

Total First Downs 15 15
Rushes-Yards 52-267 38-190
Comp-Att-Int 0-6-0 4-8-0
Passing Yards 0 130
Total Plays-Yards 58-267 46-320
Fumbles-Lost 4-0 3-3
Punts-Avg 3-32.0 2-33.5
Penalties-Yards 4-45 2-10

Purchase Line-Pierce 16-91, Huey 19-89, Klingensmith 9-87, Stolitza 5-17, Buterbaugh 1-(-3), Team 2-(-14).
Marion Center-Lamantia 15-104, Cavazza 7-50, Thompson 14-41, Team 1-(-1), Goss 1-(-4).
Purchase Line-Stolitza 0-of-6.
Marion Center-Cavazza 4-of-8, 130 yds., 1 TD.
Marion Center-Thompson 2-82, Lamantia 1-25, Hoover 1-23.

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