Offense Productive in Monday Afternoon Scrimmage

Go Leopards! Brad Maurer crosses the goal line as Anthony D'Urso trails the play on the first drive of Lafayette's scrimmage Monday afternoon.
Brad Maurer crosses the goal line as Anthony D'Urso trails the play on the first drive of Lafayette's scrimmage Monday afternoon.

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    Aug. 22, 2005

    EASTON, Pa. ( - Lafayette went through a two-hour, up-tempo scrimmage on Monday afternoon, running approximately 100 plays in the Leopards' first extensive live contact drills to date.

    "We got to see some great plays on both sides of the ball," head coach Frank Tavani said. "I liked our enthusiasm, intensity and energy out there. We gave our guys Sunday off and had a walk through and extended meeting times instead, and I think it helped with the fresh legs that we had on the field today."

    Junior Brad Maurer quarterbacked the first-team offense, minus some key parts, to a 65-yard scoring drive on the first possession after the Leopards started the session with an abbreviated passing skeleton. Maurer converted a third-and-three with an eight-yard pass to Chad Walker, and hit Brandon Hall for a similar gain on the next play.

    Following a five-yard plunge by David Nelson to set the offense up with a first down at the 37-yard line, Alfred Belton took an option pitch from Maurer and scampered for 25 yards, to the 12-yard line. Belton carried twice for seven yards, and Maurer went the rest of the way, keeping an option around left end for a touchdown.

    Lafayette was without the services of wide receivers Archie Fisher and Joe Ort (both are nursing hamstring injuries), starting tailback Jonathan Hurt (shoulder), and offensive lineman Drew Buettner (knee).

    Freshman linebacker Chris Bacon closes on a ball carrier.

    "Each of those guys would have been out there if we were lining up in week one against Marist," Tavani explained. "Instead of pushing them, we were able to send out a lot of talented players who want to earn some time. I think we have a quality set of wide receivers, and all of our backs really laid it in there and ran hard. The freshmen, Tim Watson and Maurice White, got a chance to show what they're able to do, and I thought Chris Williams ran really well. I feel good giving the ball to any one of our backs."

    After being stopped on each of their first two drives, the second offense was given three plays to produce from their own 35-yard line. On the third snap, Michael Bernhard connected with James Dixon for a 54-yard touchdown strike. A penalty flag for illegal formation nullified the score, but Bernhard and Dixon hooked up again later in the scrimmage for a 25-yard score on the first play of a red zone offense series.

    The first-team offense, with senior Pat Davis under center, started at midfield and picked up three first downs before the drive stalled at the 20. With Davis snapping to Maurer, junior Rick Ziska came on to drill a 39-yard field goal. Ziska made 7-of-12 field goal attempts as a sophomore.

    Sophomore Michael DiPaola led the second offense to three first downs as well, with Watson, White and Joe Russo carrying most of the load.

    Duaeno Dorsey lays out for a long completion from Michael DiPaola.

    Tavani ran the offense through three sets of third-down conversion situations, and the defense held on all but three. In the next segment, the ball was placed on the one-yard line coming out of the end zone. The battle between the first offense and defense was a stalemate, but the second offense was impressive with a pair of big plays on consecutive snaps. First, Russo rumbled for nearly 30 yards before being knocked out of bounds. On the next play, DiPaola hit Duaeno Dorsey for a 35-yard gain, laying the ball between defenders and into Dorsey's outstretched hands on a post pattern.

    "We accomplished what we wanted to in our situational sets," Tavani said. "We sustained some drives, worked on converting third downs and getting the ball out of the end zone. We also got six punts off and had a couple of field goal attempts."

    Sophomore David Yankovich got off a number of high, spiraling punts that forced the return man to retreat, while Ziska also had a chance to punt the football and drove a kick nearly 50 yards. Aside from making his first field goal attempt, Ziska had good distance on a 41-yard effort but the ball was just right of the plane of the goalpost.

    In other action, Michael Conte caught a 22-yard pass from DiPaola and Kevin Logan drew a pass interference call on an out-and-up route as the second offense moved the ball against a mixed defensive unit.

    When the one's went at each other from the 25-yard line, Brandon Stanford made a 14-yard gain out of a broken screen play before an illegal block set up first-and-13. Maurer hit Belton for 16 yards on a screen pass, and Belton went the final 12 yards in three plays, finishing with a five-yard scoring burst.

    "We'll go back and review the film tonight as a coaching staff," Tavani mentioned. "We got through the scrimmage reasonably healthy, and we'll start our double sessions again tomorrow. Game prep with a pure scout team for Marist will start next week, but for the next couple days we'll be right back at it."

    The season gets underway in 11 days as the Leopards head to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. for a 7 p.m. kick-off on Sept. 3.



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