Story and photo courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics
ANNVILLE, Pa. - Evan Fink's three touchdowns pushed Lebanon Valley past Wilkes, 21-13, in front of a standing-room-only Oktoberfest Weekend.
Wilkes' two missed two field goals and another blocked by Zach Wierman proved to be decisive as the Colonels (3-3, 2-3 MAC) outgained the Dutchmen (4-2, 3-2 MAC) 448 yards to 277 overall.
Fink ran just eight times, but three of them were scores as the fullback increased his MAC-leading season total to 11. Pete Panichi led the Dutchmen with 91 yards on the ground, while Leo Kyte was 10-for-18 for 149 yards.
Quarterback Tyler Berntsen started the second half for Alex George and ended up the game's leading rusher, running for 102 yards and both touchdowns, while throwing for 134.
LVC's defense was outstanding, led by Joey Scerbo's 13 tackles and a six-tackle, three-hurry game from Zach Halpin. Wierman had an early interception.
"There's no question that it was nice to win, but our offensive performance in the first half was disappointing," said Head Coach Jim Monos. "Our defense kept us in the game and gave us a chance, and we played more like a team in the second half."
The game was scoreless at the half as LVC managed just 51 yards overall and Wilkes missed two field goals, and Wierman blocked Jordan Fredo's attempt to open the third quarter. It was Fink that finally got on the scoreboard, finishing off a two-yard run after a 44-yard Joey Miller catch set the Dutchmen up.
"It was a great team win. Our offense came out flat, but we really picked it up in the second half," Fink said. "Coach came in [at halftime] and challenged our offense, and I think we responded to the challenge."
Fink scored again on the next drive, surging with a terrific second effort from 14 yards out, but Berntsen answered with a tricky play fake end-around to cut the lead to 14-7.
Fink's third came early in the fourth quarter, capping a 65-yard, 10-play drive with a two-yard plunge to go up 21-7. Berntsen's second came on the next series, but Fredo missed the PAT.
Wilkes threatened to tie it late, including a Tyler Schmitt touchdown called back on offensive pass interference, but pressure from David Kennedy on fourth down led Berntsen to throw it away, handing LVC victory with just over a minute to go.
LVC will visit FDU-Florham on Oct. 20.