WILKES-BARRE — Dunmore running back Daiqwon Buckley took the handoff, darted up the middle, cut left and sifted through several GAR defenders for a 35-yard touchdown and the 4,000th rushing yard of his career.
Then he started working his way toward 5,000.
GAR couldn’t stop the star runner as Buckley carried 17 times for 271 yards and four touchdowns in Dunmore’s 48-7 victory Saturday night at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.
What made Buckley’s numbers even more impressive is that GAR (0-2) actually shut him down on his first three carries. Those rushes yielded just 4 yards. But the Grenadiers knew it was going to be difficult to keep that up.
“They ended up getting to the outside, and we weren’t wrapping and tackling like we should have,” GAR coach Paul Wiedlich Jr. said. “We saw a great back tonight, a heck of a runner. Played his rear end off. That’s why he’s one of the best running backs in the state.”
Buckley had a 14-yard TD run late in the first quarter. He added his record-setting 35-yard touchdown run at 8:06 of the second quarter before racing 73 yards for a score to close out the first half and give Dunmore (2-0) a 28-7 lead.
“Week 1, we came out a little sloppy and I wasn’t really feeling myself,” said Buckley, who has made official visits to UConn and Rutgers. “In Week 2, I knew I had to step it up.
“To be honest with you, (the record) wasn’t even in my head. I had no idea, and it shocked me when they announced it on the loud speaker.”
While Buckley was running for 200 yards in the first half, GAR was able to move the ball with some success as well. But three turnovers hampered any momentum, and the Grenadiers’ only touchdown came on an 87-yard punt return by Anthony Maurent early in the second quarter. Even that came with some anxiety as Maurent initially mishandled the ball.
“We can’t put the ball on the ground,” Wiedlich said. “In the first half, we had a couple nice drives and we ended up putting the ball on the ground two times. We can’t do that. We have to get back to basics on Monday, and it all starts with ball security.”
GAR had less success in the second half, managing just 32 of its 151 total yards. The Grenadiers also had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown.
Maurent paced GAR’s running game with 51 yards on 14 carries. Rashaun Mathis threw for 65 more.
Dunmore finally reached the 35-point mercy rule with 7:07 to play on Tyaire Quiller’s 1-yard run. The Bucks piled up 446 yards rushing on 37 carries.
Dunmore 48, GAR 7
DUN — Josh Sawka 33 run (Kyle Dougherty kick), 5:11
DUN — Daiqwon Buckley 14 run (Dougherty kick), 1:41
GAR — Anthony Maurent 87 punt return (Dawin Reyes kick), 10:11
DUN — Buckley 35 run (Dougherty kick), 8:06
DUN — Buckley 73 run (Dougherty kick), 1:47
DUN — Buckley 5 run (Dougherty kick), 5:19
DUN — Joe Maceyko 12 blocked punt return (kick failed), 3:38
DUN — Tyaire Quiller 1 run (Dougherty kick), 7:07
RUSHING — Dunmore, Buckley 17-271, Sawka 4-70, Colin Holmes 5-16, Rocco Cordaro 1-(minus-5), Justin Rogan 4-43, Quiller 3-42, Pat Reese 1-2, team 1-(minus-1). GAR, Rich Sickler 7-23, Rashaun Mathis 6-(minus-3), Maurent 14-51, Keyes 1-(minus-8), Lamont Gray-Dates 1-1, Marquhan Kemp 1-5, Tyler Monzon 4-11, Garry Kroll 1-6.
PASSING — Dunmore, Brandon Kujawski 2-7-0-49. GAR, Mathis 7-21-0-65, Kroll 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING — Dunmore, Cordaro 1-10, Josh Zilla 1-39. GAR, Maurent 2-41, Sicker 4-19, Rashaun Jackson 1-5.
MISSED FGs — GAR, 32WL.