WILKES-BARRE — Nanticoke’s game plan has been pretty basic this season — hand the ball to either tailback Eric Jeffries or fullback Dawson Hughes. Then just keep repeating it.
The formula was successful once again as Jeffries ran for 248 yards and four touchdowns and Hughes added 99 more on the ground in a 45-6 victory over GAR in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A-A game.
The contest was the first this season at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium. Four games scheduled for the first two weeks were moved due to structural concerns with the tunnel leading from the locker rooms to the field.
Jeffries, a senior who transferred from Holy Redeemer after his sophomore year, posted his second 200-yard rushing performance of the season. Hughes fell a yard shy of a second consecutive 100-yard game.
“They’ve been doing it all year,” said Nanticoke coach Ron Bruza, whose team improved to 3-0. “They worked hard in the offseason. You just look at them, they run hard. The line did a nice job up front. We’re definitely happy with our performance tonight.”
As for GAR (0-3), its performance left plenty of room for improvement.
Aside from a 56-yard TD run by Anthony Blake, the Grenadiers did little offensive for a third consecutive game. They scored once in a 38-8 season-opening loss to Honesdale and were blanked 34-0 by Western Wayne last week.
There were other problems for GAR. Gerson Peralta, the team’s second starting quarterback this season, left in the third quarter with an injury. Special teams had issues as an errant punt snap led to a safety followed by a 54-yard touchdown return by Nanticoke’s Darren Boseman on the ensuing free kick.
Added up, it led to Nanticoke’s biggest victory over GAR since a 42-0 win in 1990.
“We’re getting out-physicaled. We’re getting out-physicaled in all parts of the game,” GAR coach Paul Wiedlich Jr. said. “I’m not going to question our kids’ efforts. Our kids are trying their best and everything. It just comes down out-physicaled and it’s catching up.”
Nanticoke scored on its first possession, pounding Jeffries and Hughes at the GAR defense until Jeffries scored on a 3-yard run at 6:43 of the first quarter. Jeffries scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter and quarterback Matt Wrubel sneaked in from the 2-yard line just before halftime for a 22-0 lead.
Jeffries made it 29-0 midway through the third on a 72-yard touchdown run. The after Blake scored two plays later, Jeffries capped his four-TD night with a 6-yard run at 8:36 of the fourth quarter.
Nanticoke 45, GAR 6
NAN — Eric Jeffries 3 run (Ricky Klepadlo kick), 6:43
NAN — Jeffries 4 run (Klepadlo kick), 4:59
NAN — Matt Wrubel 2 eun (Jeffries from Mark Walters), 1:21
NAN — Jeffries 72 run (Klepadlo kick), 5:25
GAR — Anthony Blake 56 run (pass failed), 4:59
GAR — Jeffries 6 run (Klepadlo kick), 8:36
NAN — Safety, GAR punt snap out of end zone, 2:15
NAN — Darren Boseman 54 kick return (Klepadlo kick), 2:04
RUSHING — Nanticoke, Jeffries 25-248, Dawson Hughes 19-99, Wrubel 2-5, Colby Butczynski 1-(minus-5), Matt Bobeck 1-7. GAR, Malachai Williams 6-6, Gerson Peralta 7-2, Noah Taylor 1-1, Tyrone Qualls 6-38, Blake 5-63, Will Johnson 1-0, Ron Peguero 3-0, Justice Lomas 1-3, team 1-(minus-5).
PASSING — Nanticoke, Wrubel 0-2-0-0, Butczynski 0-1-0-0. GAR, Peralta 2-4-0-49, Peguero 3-9-0-18, Williams 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Nanticoke, none. GAR, Tai-Wan Bradley 1-37, Williams 1-12, Qualls 2-8, Johnson 1-10.
INTERCEPTIONS — none.
MISSED FGs — none.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar