NANTICOKE — Jerry Gilsky had not been happy with his special teams.
Coming off of a win over Northwest last week, the Lake-Lehman coach made it a priority to improve headed into Friday night’s game in Nanticoke.
“We worked on them all last week,” Gilsky said. “I was pissed off at them. … We decided to break it all down and we went to bare basics with them all week. And they did a hell of a job.”
The Black Knights scored touchdowns on a kickoff return and a punt return in the first half to blow the game wide open en route to a 62-13 win over the Trojans.
Lehman (7-1) led just 13-7 after some early hiccups as Nanticoke’s Pat Hempel broke free of a pile to score a 76-yard touchdown, putting the Knights in an ornery mood.
Fifteen seconds later, it was forgotten. Nick Eury had to backpedal to catch the ensuing kickoff, but that gave him plenty of room to build up steam and fly down the right sideline for a 93-yard score that Nanticoke never recovered from.
“It’s actually a good thing in a way because it’s adversity,” Gilsky said of Hempel’s long score. “How are you gonna handle it? I thought our guys handled it. Our leaders out there ripped into our guys. Kids reacted well.”
In the second quarter, Joey Vigil took a punt back 75 yards for a score and the Knights were right back in the end zone 11 seconds later when Antonio Ferrari took an interception 30 yards to paydirt.
When the first half was finally over, Lake-Lehman had run just 20 plays on offense but led 48-6. The Knights starters got to watch the second half from the sideline.
Vigil had a huge night, topping 200 all-purpose yards by adding a 78-yard touchdown run to open the scoring and then hauling in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Ferrari, all in the first half.
Lehman’s misdirection plays had Nanticoke (3-5) off guard most of the night. Vigil’s first touchdown came on a reverse and the reception came off of play-action.
“That’s the whole thing,” Gilsky said. “It puts our linemen at great advantage when it comes to blocking because you get more leverage when you do that. It’s actually like having an extra blocker when you do a lot of misdirection and they don’t know where the ball is.”
Leading rusher Dustin Jones had 121 total yards and two touchdowns. Eury added an 84-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Hempel led the Trojans with 87 yards on the ground. The offense tried to work the perimeter early on with several bubble screens.
“We knew we weren’t going to be able to run against their tackles,” Nanticoke coach Ron Bruza said. “I mean they outweighed us by about 400 pounds (across the line). I thought we had a solid gameplan coming in, we just didn’t execute.
“Lake-Lehman’s a well-coached team. Made the playoffs the last four years. They know how to win football games.”
Lake-Lehman 62, Nanticoke 13
LL — Joey Vigil 78 run (Mike Symion kick), 2:55
LL — Dustin Jones 59 pass from Antonio Ferrari (Symion kick), 1:43
NAN — Pat Hempel 76 run (kick failed), 1:23
LL — Nick Eury 93 kickoff return (Symion kick), 1:08
LL — Jones 8 run (run failed), 10:40
LL — Vigil 36 pass from Ferrari (Symion kick), 5:11
LL — Vigil 75 punt return (Symion kick), 3:15
LL — Ferrari 30 interception return (Symion kick), 3:04
NAN — Alec Norton 33 run (Norton kick), 10:08
LL — Eury 84 run (Symion kick), 3:10
LL — Jimmy Stuart 2 run (Symion kick), 9:46
RUSHING — LL, Joey Vigil 4-111, Nick Eury 4-84, Dustin Jones 5-62, Tyler Long 1-38, Bobby Wright 2-18, Jimmy Stuart 5-17, Brady Butler 3-9, Hunter Nice 1-1, Antonio Ferrari 1-(minus-1), TEAM 1-(minus-1). NAN, Pat Hempel 12-87, Alec Norton 5-61, Blake Balderrama 5-51, Jules Beckhorn 9-26, Ron Kotz 2-3, Tyler Hanna 1-(minus-1), Tom Day 4-(minus-1), J.T. Levandowski 3-(minus-19).
PASSING — LL, Ferrari 3-5-0-95. NAN, Levandowski 5-12-1-17, Tyler Myers 1-1-0-29.
RECEIVING — LL, Jones 2-59, Vigil 1-36. NAN, Kyle Gavrish 2-29, Myers 2-4, Hempel 1-9, Hanna 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS — LL, Ferrari.
MISSED FGs — None.