ANNVILLE, Pa. - The Stevenson football defense forced a program-high eight turnovers, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries, and recorded six sacks as the Mustangs defeated Lebanon Valley, 17-14, in a Middle Atlantic Conference contest Saturday afternoon at Arnold Field.
The Mustangs (3-0, 2-0 MAC) have started 3-0 for the second-straight season after starting the 2014 season with four consecutive victories. Stevenson also improved to 10-1 in the month of September since the start of the 2013 season.
Meanwhile, Stevenson has won six-straight games dating back to last season and is 11-3 in its last 14. It was also the 25th-consecutive game that the Mustangs have forced a turnover while also improving to 17-0 in program history when holding opponents to under 20 points.
Stevenson forced three turnovers in the opening 3:23 of the game, including a forced fumble and recovery by junior Jimmy Lauer. After a 23-yard pass and catch by sophomore Jeff Farrah to classmate Devin Salisbury, Farrah found junior Seth Jordan for an opening eight-yard touchdown pass. The Mustangs have scored on two of their three opening possessions this season.
Junior Austin Tennessee and senior Billy Lewis each recorded an interception on the Dutchmen's (1-2, 1-1 MAC) next two possessions but the Mustangs offense totaled just 14 yards following the turnovers.
After a three-and-out by Stevenson, its third of the game, junior Tim Sternfeld fumbled the snap on a punt attempt handing the ball back over to Lebanon Valley on the Mustangs 10-yard line.
The Dutchmen took advantage of the field position as Tim Pirrone tied the game at 7-7 with an eight-yard run. Pirrone finished with two rushing touchdowns and two interceptions as he went 9-for-21 for 124 yards throwing.
Following the score and a 53-yard run by freshman Kiandre Burrell, Farrah threw his first of three interceptions, marking the first Mustang turnover of the season. Stevenson had gone 160-consecutive snaps without a turnover before the interception.
Senior Razonte Dunn recovered a fumble by Pirrone on Lebanon Valley's ensuing possession, leading to a 21-yard field goal by Sternfeld, who is 4-for-4 this season.
The two teams combined for three interceptions in the second quarter, including two by Farrah, and 104 total yards. A week after throwing for a career-high 307 yards and four touchdowns, Farrah was limited to 97 yards and one touchdown.
Meanwhile, Burrell rushed for 103 yards in the opening half and finished the game with 118 becoming Stevenson's 23rd 100-yard rusher and first this season.
The Dutchmen took their first lead of the game after forcing a fumble to start the third quarter. Starting from its own 48-yard line, Lebanon Valley used a 43-yard pass from Pirrone to Travis Saylor on third and five to set up its 10th rushing touchdown of the season.
Junior Cory Pietrzyk totaled his third career fumble recovery after senior Resheed Lashley recorded his fourth career forced fumble, leading to a 37-yard touchdown return from Piretrzyk to give the Mustangs a 17-14 lead. It was the second-straight game the defense produced a touchdown.
Lebanon Valley had one more chance to tie or take the lead after its defense held the Mustangs on fourth and one from the Dutchmen's seven-yard line.
With Pirrone and the Dutchmen driving, Lashley recorded his second sack of the game, forcing Pirrone to lose the ball and allowing Kempa to recover the 11th combined turnover of the game.
Sophomore Antonio Johnson recorded a game-high nine tackles while recorded two interceptions for the second-straight game.
Stevenson looks to match its best start to a season when the Mustangs welcome Misericordia to Mustang Stadium for a Middle Atlantic Conference contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.