Susquehanna ended nearly two decades of frustration against Lakeland by dominating the line of scrimmage in a 28-7 Homecoming Day victory over the visiting Chiefs Saturday afternoon.
The Sabers last defeated a Lakeland team when they upset the state-ranked Chiefs in the 1994 District 2-12 Class A championship game on the way to a state semifinal appearance.
Susquehanna used an interior ground game to outrush Lakeland, 277-117. Quarterback Austin White ran 21 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns while fullback Brett Hepler ran up the middle 10 times for 83 yards and another score.
“Offensively, they’re tough to defend,” Lakeland coach Jeff Wasilchak said. “The bottom line is it all starts with the dive. The dive starts going, then all of a sudden the quarterback’s going.
“You concentrate on the quarterback and the dive is going again. That’s what option football does to you.”
The Chiefs struggled with that combination while falling behind 20-0 at halftime.
Lakeland put together a strong third quarter, cutting the deficit to 13 points and moving to the Susquehanna 33 with a chance to close within a score.
Susquehanna held on downs, with the help of an unsportsmanlike penalty against Lakeland, then scored on the second play of the fourth quarter to regain command.
“They beat us up in all phases of the game,” Wasilchak said.
Chet Anuszewski passed 28 yards to Josh Natale for the only Lakeland touchdown. Anuszewski went 12-for-28 passing for 152 yards.
Chris Roche led the Chiefs in rushing with 81 yards on nine carries and also caught two passes for 36 yards.
Gavin O’Donnell led the defense with seven tackles, including one for a loss, and seven assists. He also caught three passes for 24 yards.
The loss was the second straight for Lakeland, which had started 3-0 to take the lead in the race for four District 2 Class AA playoff berths.
Susquehanna is 2-3 under first-year coach Kyle Cook.