NANTICOKE — Nanticoke started its season on a great note.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, there were still 47 minutes, 19 seconds left in the opening game.
A touchdown on its first play from scrimmage in 2013 couldn’t hold up for Nanticoke, and not much went right for the team after that. Lackawanna Trail scored 39 unanswered points to hand the Trojans a 39-7 loss.
Pat Hempel got the game started exceptionally well for the Trojans taking a handoff from quarterback J.T. Levandowski and rumbled 65 yards on the first play of the game to put Nanticoke up 7-0 over the Lions, who qualified for the District 2 Class A playoffs last season.
“We were very concerned because Pat Hempel is a great back, and then he breaks that first one for a long run,” Trail coach Steve Jervis said.
But the clock only read 11:41 in the first quarter. The lead was short-lived.
Right after the Lions got the ball back, they scored on their second play of the game when Cooper Rosiak hauled in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Vic Mallory for the first of Mallory’s three passing touchdowns of the first half. A two-point conversion put the Lions ahead 8-7 with 10:44 left in the first.
That was also the first of four long scoring plays Trail racked up on the night. Another bomb came later in the first when Mallory hooked up with Jonathon Zedar for a 73-yard strike, giving Trail a 14-7 lead.
The Trojans defense also allowed rushing touchdowns of 34 yards to Jared Phillips to start the second half and a 90-yard run by Rosiak in the fourth quarter.
It was just one of those nights for Nanticoke. Even when the Trojans got good field position taking over on Trail’s 19 after a bad snap on a punt attempt, they only moved the ball six yards before attempting a field goal and coming away empty-handed.
“We just couldn’t put anything together. We’d have two good plays then a bobbled snap. We just weren’t jelling tonight,” Nanticoke coach Ron Bruza said. “It wasn’t a good night for the Trojans.”
Hempel, who had 65 yards on his first run and totaled 82 in the first half, did so on just three carries. And he didn’t get his number called again until late in the third quarter. He picked up another 45 yards the rest of the game to end with a team-high 127 yards on just 10 carries.
“I couldn’t give him carries (because) we were on defense for two quarters,” Bruza said. “What are you gonna do? I think we had one offensive possession in the second quarter and then we just couldn’t get it going. Coach Jervis’ offense did a great job controlling the clock and moving the ball.”
Rosiak had a huge game for the Lions piling up 152 rushing yards, 65 receiving and picked off a Levandowski pass late in the second quarter.
Lackawanna Trail 39, Nanticoke 7
NAN— Pat Hempel 65 run (Alec Norton kick) 11:41
LT – Cooper Rosiak 55 pass from Vic Mallory (Jared Phillips pass from Jonathon Zedar) 10:44
LT – Jonathon Zedar 73 pass from Vic Mallory (kick failed) 7:29
LT— Ross Fauquier 9 pass from Vic Mallory (Jared Phillips kick)
LT— Jared Phillips 34 run (kick blocked) 9:01
LT – Cooper Rosiak 10 run (pass failed) 1:49
LT— Cooper Rosiak 90 run (kick failed) 4:45
RUSHING — LT, Jared Phillips 11-94, Jonathon Zedar 9-66, Cooper Rosiak 13-152, Vic Mallory 4-(minus-1), TEAM 1-(minus-1), Josh Brown 1-3, Kyle McHugh 1-11, Bryan Tuft 1-6. NAN, Pat Hempel 10-127, Blake Balderrama 1-(minus-3), Tyler Hanna 2-2, Ron Kotz 6-13, J.T. Levandowski 1-(minus-10), Alec Norton 2-9, Brad Yanus 2-0, Jules Beckhorn 2-19, TEAM 1-(minus-17).
PASSING — LT, Vic Mallory 7-11-0-183. NAN, J.T. Levandowski 6-15-1-78.
RECEIVING — LT, Cooper Rosiak 2-65, Jonathon Zedar 2-74, Matt Harris 1-17, Ross Fauquier 2-27. NAN, Ron Kotz 1-6, Pat Hempel 1-3, Kyle Gavrish 3-32, Tyler Hanna 1-3.
INTERCEPTIONS — LT, Cooper Rosiak. NAN, none
MISSED FGs — LT none. NAN, Alec Norton (30, WL)