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Springdale falls to Laurel in defensive struggle

| Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, 12:14 a.m.

Laurel scored twice in the second half and rallied to beat host Springdale, 14-9, in a Class A nonconference game Friday night at Veterans Memorial Field.

Laurel trailed, 3-0, at halftime but surged ahead with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to beat the Dynamos (2-2).

Running back Sean Dugan led Springdale with 165 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. His 13-yard scoring run with 5 minutes, 52 seconds left closed the gap to 14-9.

However, Laurel (3-1) held the ball for the rest of the game.

“(Laurel) is a good football team,” Springdale coach Dave Leasure said. “That's a WPIAL playoff football team, and we were right there with them.

“I told the kids after the game, I don't want to see a disappointed group. I want to see a determined group. I know that's what I'm going to get.”

The Dynamos got a 33-yard field goal from Adam Winklmann to grab the early edge.

Springdale moved the ball well at times but had trouble finishing drives. In the first half, the Dynamos started three drives in or near Laurel territory, thanks to a fumble recovery and two punt returns. But the Dynamos failed to find the end zone.

“It might sound strange, but we were much better this week than we were last week,” Leasure said. “We put in an entire new offense in three days. I'm really proud of our kids.”

Springdale's defense held Laurel to about 100 yards in the first half, but halftime adjustments allowed the Spartans to break out in the second half.

“Our assignments weren't working in the first half,” Laurel coach Jerry Holzhauser said. “We weren't blocking they way we should have.”

The Spartans finished with 283 yards, including 184 on the ground. Matt Conway gained 68 yards on 18 carries and scored once, and Dalton Rosta picked up 68 yards on 13 carries.

Conway scored on a 3-yard run to put Laurel ahead, and Josh Dando hit wide-open tight end Conor Melichar for an 85-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to make the score 14-3. Dando threw for 99 yards on 4-for-6 passing.

The Spartans fumbled six snaps but recovered all of them.

“I don't know what happened. We'll have to take a real, hard look at it,” Holzhauser said. “Those were at critical times in the game. We can't have that.”

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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