By Cory Nidoh
The East Stroudsburg University Warriors didn’t disappoint their old faithful that flooded Eiler-Martin Stadium Saturday as the Warriors routed the Lock Haven Bald Eagles 48-21 to highlight Family Weekend while head coach Denny Douds moved into the top 10 on the NCAA’s all-division list of games coached.
Douds, in his forty-first year with ESU, is now tied with former Delaware coach Tubby Raymond for tenth all-time in games coached with 422.
In game 422, Douds saw his team dominate on both sides of the ball as redshirt junior quarterback Matt Soltes and redshirt sophomore tailback Robert Healy paced the offense while senior linebacker Cody Simcox and redshirt senior defensive tackle Bryan Thomson anchored the defense.
The game didn’t start off to the liking of the Warriors or their fans that formed a sea of red and black in Eiler-Martin Stadium.
Soltes, who was coming off an Offensive Player of the Week performance with 532 total yards and six total touchdowns last week, had his first pass tipped and intercepted to set up the Bald Eagles with prime field position.
Lock Haven’s quarterback Caleb Walton found tight end Matt Luebbers for a five-yard strike to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead, which stood for just over eight minutes.
ESU’s offense wouldn’t falter afterwards scoring six touchdowns in their first eight possessions.
Redshirt senior tight end Steven Jones scored his first of two touchdown of the afternoon with a one-yard pass from Soltes to make it 7-6 after a blocked PAT.
Later in the first quarter, Soltes tossed his second touchdown pass to Ray Dominguez, a ten-yard pass and catch, to make it 13-7 in favor of ESU.
The second quarter was dominated by the Warriors as the offense scored four touchdowns to run away with the game.
Senior tailback Derrick Dyer ignited the scoring brigade culminating a 12-play, 88-yard drive to make it 20-7.
Senior wide receiver Dusty Reed was the third different receiver to catch a touchdown pass from Soltes extending the lead 27-7 with 6:31 left in the first half.
Healy and Soltes each added rushing touchdowns of their own later in the quarter to break the game open making it 41 unanswered points before Walton connected with wide receiver David Cook to make it a 41-14 halftime score.
In the second half, ESU maintained their lead scoring just once in the second half with Jones’ second touchdown catch to make it 48-7.
Lock Haven tacked on a touchdown early in the fourth quarter as Walton found his third touchdown target in Bernard Smack to give the game its final score of 48-21.
“I thought they played well in the first half and maintained the second half. Thought we had balance with our offense in running and throwing. The defense, I think we are getting better,” said head coach Denny Douds.
Soltes finished 21-for-32 for 301 yards with three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground.
With the three touchdowns, Soltes moved into second all-time in career passing touchdowns with 70.
Healy led all rushers, racking up 117 yards on 15 carries and had the one scoring run.
Jones led the way in the receiving game for ESU hauling in seven passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Warriors, amidst a change in scheme, had their best overall performance holding the Bald Eagles under 300 total yards of offense, the first time ESU has accomplished the feat this season.
“We aren’t there defensively yet, but we are getting closer and getting better. The will kids keep working, it will be exciting,” Douds said.
The Warriors (3-1, 2-1) will travel to Shippensburg (2-2, 1-2) this Saturday to take on the Raiders.
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