Meyers is doing a balancing act. The Mohawks are looking straight ahead, where Lake-Lehman awaits at 7 p.m. today at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium. At the same time, they’re also trying not to look back too much.
A couple twists of fate have put Meyers (2-2) in a vulnerable spot as it faces the Black Knights (3-1). The Mohawks had the ability to control one of them but not the other.
The first came two weeks ago at Lackawanna Trail. Meyers led 21-7 at halftime and 21-14 entering the fourth quarter. The run defense — a culprit in a few losses in 2012 — was playing extremely well. Things went awry in the final 12 minutes and Meyers left on the wrong end of a 26-21 score.
Then last week, Lakeland (3-1) was awarded a forfeit victory over Valley View when it was determined Valley View used an ineligible player in its — and how’s this for irony — 26-21 victory.
The domino effect of both events put Meyers in a fourth-place tie in the District 2 Class 2A standings with Mid Valley instead of in third with a fairly comfortable lead. And Lakeland is in second instead of fourth.
“As a coach, I’ll look back at (the Trail) game for the rest of the season,” Meyers coach Corry Hanson said. “Trail is going to win a good amount of games. If we’re fortunate enough to get to the postseason, those points would have helped us.
“I’ll look back at that game all season long. However, I preach to my team it’s over and done with and there’s nothing we can do. You have to move on.”
Meyers can’t be sulking tonight. Lehman has steamrolled its last three opponents after a 13-7 season-opening loss at Class A power Old Forge. The Black Knights have done so with an impressive running game. Dustin Jones, a 240-pound fullback, is the power guy. Sophomore wingback Joey Vigil can turn the corner in an instant. Running back Brady Butler is a mixture of the two.
“When you’re running the football and you keep getting that bang and that bang and that bang over and over again, it wears teams down,” Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. “Give me a situation when we need to throw the ball and we’ll throw the ball.”
The Lehman trio has combined for six 100-yard rushing performance through four games. By comparison, nine Wyoming Valley Conference teams have had just one 100-yard rushing effort or none at all.
“I approach them like any other opponent,” Hanson said. “You look at their five best plays and you have to try to take away their five best plays and go from there. If they’re able to beat you with their sixth, seventh, eighth best plays then they are a better team.”
A noticably difference in Meyers this year is is run defense. The Mohawks have held three opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Last year, they held one. Hanson credits middle linebacker Jacob Brominski and the two big guys in front of him — defensive tackles Richard Assuah (340 pounds) and Carlo Telesco (285). He also pointed out the contributions of linebacker T.J. Cistrunk and defensive end Phillip Texidor.
Lehman’s defense will be trying to stop Meyers’ new read-option attack. Receiver-turned-quarterback Matt DeMarco has run it effectively. He leads the WVC with 10 rushing touchdowns and has 614 yards on 59 carries. Backs like Zahir Dunell, Nate Mahalak and Mark Robinson get enough carries to keep defenses honest.