7 p.m. today
District 2 Class 2A Semifinal
The Coaches: GAR's Paul Wiedlich Jr. (29-7, 3rd year); Lakeland's Jeff Wasilchak (136-57, 17th year)
Last Meeting: Lakeland 34-7 on Aug. 31
All-Time Series: Lakeland leads 6-5
Quick Fact: This is the fourth consecutive year the teams will meet in the D2-2A playoffs. GAR has won the last two of those games.
What's At Stake: The winner plays the Lake-Lehman at Wyoming Area winner for the district title. The winner will be on the road if Wyoming Area wins or host the title game if Lehman wins.
Scouting GAR: Forget the loss to Lakeland in the opener. GAR needed some time to get its young skill players all on the same page and the Grenadiers have since then.
Aside from a flat performance in a 48-15 loss to Wyoming Area, GAR has clicked on offense since opening the year 0-2. QB Corey Moore and WR/RB Lucas Benton have meshed throughout the season for the most part. Expect Lakeland to use Joey Natale, who has five picks, to cover the elusive Benton. The running game has been inconsistent, but Moore had 84 yards in last Friday's 50-12 victory over Meyers and RB A.J. Mouzone has added a speed element lately.
The defense has also improved, save the Wyoming Area game, and has six interceptions in its last five games. GAR has a plus-5 turnover margin in those contests.
Scouting Lakeland: RB Tyler Brady was the star of the first meeting, running for 108 yards and two TDs. However, GAR will have another back to worry about – Chris Roche. The junior missed the opener, but since then has rushed for 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns. He had 164 in last Saturday's 28-21 win over Western Wayne that clinched the home game.
Lakeland, though, could be missing a big piece. Veteran QB Kyle Kiehart was knocked out of the Western Wayne game with an injury. He brings a pass-run threat to the offense and had two second-quarter TD pass vs. GAR.
The Chiefs have a pair of five-point losses – to Valley View and Dunmore – and a six-point loss to Carbondale. The latter is considered an upset.
What To Expect: A better game than the first time around with possibly a different outcome. Should be a good game as GAR, the two-time defending D2-2A champ, is much better now than in August.
-- John Erzar