ALLENTOWN — For one half of football, Line Mountain was trending upward.
Not only were the Eagles moving the ball — as well as the sticks — but they also were in position to cash in several times while keeping their pass-happy opponents off the scoreboard. Hardly the willing victim for the first-year program that scheduled the Mid-Penn Liberty program … on Thursday.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the second half hardly mirrored the first as Executive Education started bringing numbers defensively while ringing up a different kind of numbers every time the Raptors had the ball.
Quarterback Darmel Lopez passed for 371 yards and four touchdowns Saturday night as Executive Education used a second-half eruption to beat the visiting Eagles 29-0 at Muhlenberg College’s breezy Scotty Wood Stadium.
Lopez completed 20 of his 31 pass attempts — he was picked off in the first half by Quinn Dunkelberger while several second-half throws were dropped by Line Mountain defenders — and fired a pair of touchdown passes to Dontae Oquendo, and one apiece to Damaurian Jones and Zamir Perkins.
Line Mountain (0-6) also provided the Raptors (4-3) with plenty of opportunities as the Eagles turned the ball over six times. Quarterbacks Blake Readinger and Nick Snyder were intercepted four times, while the Eagles also fumbled twice.
Despite the offensive fireworks from Lopez & Co. after the halftime break, no one scored in the opening half.
The Eagles — who were originally scheduled to play Halifax, which had to cancel the game because of injuries — had chances, driving to the Raptors' 23, 20 and 9 before a turnover or the inability to convert on fourth down gave the ball back to the athletic Raptors.
“Obviously, in the first half, I thought we played pretty well,” said Line Mountain coach Brandon Carson, who admitted he was second-guessing himself on some play calls. “We were moving the football, and we should have scored at least twice there.
“For us not to get in there both those times, that really hurts.”
Line Mountain actually outgained the Raptors 173-149 before the break, but managed just 8 offensive yards once the Raptors started bringing numbers defensively that the Eagles just could not handle. Eventually, the prevent scheme that Line Mountain tossed at the Raptors eventually began to leak as Lopez was rarely challenged by a 3-man front.
“We saw four of their games on film, and I’m not sure I actually saw their quarterback get tackled one time,” Carson said. “I thought we had a pretty good game plan, dropping eight men in coverage, but we can’t get any pressure and we can’t cover forever. That kid’s just a really good athlete.”
So are his receivers.
Once Lopez hooked up with Oquendo on a 3-yard fade midway through the third quarter (6:01) that snapped the scoreless tie, he added a 14-yard toss to Jones just over two minutes later. Meanwhile, the Eagles countered with a punt, a lost fumble and a fourth-down pass that came up short of moving the sticks.
Lopez crafted his third scoring pass — a 27-yarder to Oquendo — with 8:51 remaining in a game that suddenly tilted in one direction. Then, with 3:49 showing on the scoreboard clock, Perkins hauled in a 22-yarder to punctuate a second-half explosion.
Now, after one lengthy bus ride to the Lehigh Valley, the Eagles will board another bus next weekend for a date at North Penn-Mansfield.
“I keep telling these kids to not give up,” Carson said. “We just need to try to get better. I believe in these kids and I know they’re going to keep fighting.”
EXECUTIVE EDUCATION 26, LINE MOUNTAIN 0
Line Mountain;0;0;0;0 — 0
Executive Education;0;0;14;12 — 26
EE-Dontae Oquendo 3 pass from Darmel Lopez (Oquendo pass from Lopez), 6:01
EE-Damaurian Jones 14 pass from Lopez (pass failed), 3:56
EE-Oquendo 27 pass from Lopez (kick failed)
EE-Zamir Perkins 22 pass from Lopez (kick failed)
RUSHING — Line Mountain: Beau Keim 13-49; Blake Readinger 13-44; Chandon Maurer 1-9; Nick Snyder 4-4; Nolan Baumert 1-(-3); Max Bingaman 1-(-3); Team 2-(-25). Executive Education: Sylis Styles 5-9; Darmel Lopez 1-5; Dorian Thomas 5-2; Team 3-(-35).
PASSING — Line Mountain: Snyder 5-11-1, 77 yards; Readinger 5-15-3, 29 yards. Executive Education: Lopez 20-31-1, 371 yards, 4 TDs; Kris Cruz 2-4-0, 26 yards.
RECEIVING — Line Mountain: Aidan Kritzer 4-24; Connor Finlan 3-29; Aidan Herb 1-41; Baumert 1-7; Ian Bates 1-5. Executive Education: Emery Plummer 8-115; Dontae Oquendo 6-137, 2 TDs; Damaurian Jones 6-94, TD; Zamir Perkins 2-48, TD.