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Tribe loses

Published September 07. 2013 09:00AM

One week after relying heavily on its offense, Stroudsburg showed its defense isn't too shabby either.

The Mountaineers needed a big performance from its defense to hold off Lehighton, 13-6, in the Mountain Valley Conference opener for both teams on Friday night.

Stroudsburg, which put up 49 points in its opener against Northampton, was held in check as Lehighton turned in its second straight impressive defensive showing.

But thanks to a defense which limited Lehighton to just 36 yards of offense and no points in the second half, the Mountaineers escaped with the victory.

"This loss is on me," said Lehighton head coach Tom McCarroll, who also handles the play calling for his team. "I need to do a better job of putting our kids in a position to win.

"I can't say enough about the job our defensive coaches and our players did. But I'm upset at myself. I got away from our game plan and didn't stick with the things I planned on doing. I stress to our players all the time that they have to stay disciplined and tonight I didn't do that myself. This loss falls on my shoulders."

After seeing his defense surrender 26 points in the opener, Stroudsburg coach James Miller was pleased with the improvement he witnessed last night.

"Our defense really stepped it up tonight, especially in the second half," said Miller. "We needed that too, because our offense was a little flat."

Lehighton controlled the ball and the clock for a good part of the first half, putting together drives of 11 plays and 10 plays. Neither of the possessions results in points, however.

Stroudsburg broke the scoreless tie when Dillon Dunne intercepted a pass and returned it 27 yards to the Indian 38-yard line. Gerald Douglas carried five of the next six plays, eventually scoring on a nine-yard run with 5:19 left in the half.

Lehighton answered back after Nick Schaeffer recovered a fumbled punt at the Stroudsburg 45-yard line. It took just five plays for the Indians to covert the turnover into points.

Tyler Cann completed passes of nine and 13 yards in the drive before Tom Ruzicka raced 20 yards for the score. The extra point was partially blocked, allowing the Mountaineers to maintain a 7-6 lead.

"We were worried about Lehighton coming into this game,"said Miller. "They are a good football team. They gave us a heck of a battle.

"Fortunately, our kids did a nice job in the second half of controlling the ball and winning the battle of field position. It took us a little while to take advantage of that, but eventually we did."

Lehighton started its first two drives of the second half inside its 10-yard line and was never able to flip the field position.

Stroudsburg took advantage of it, taking over on the Indian 34-yard line with just over nine minutes left in the game.

After converting a fourth-and-seven play on a 12-yard pass from Mike Nikorak to Joel Ozoemena, the same pair hooked up two plays later on a 23-yard touchdown to make it 13-6 with 5:41 remaining.

Lehighton had one more possession and gained a pair of first downs, but a penalty and a sack ended its comeback hopes as Stroudsburg took over on the Indian 27 and ran out the clock.

"Their are a lot of positives we can take away from this," said McCarroll. "We got another lights out performance from our defense and all our kids played with effort, emotion and enthusiasm from the first quarter through the fourth quarter.

"But the bottom line is finding a way to win and we didn't do that. We're not into moral victories. We did some really nice things, but we're disappointed that we couldn't convert those things in a win."

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