HANOVER TWP. – Dustin Jones started off the evening with a crystal clean white No. 35 jersey.
The Lake-Lehman junior back ended it with a shirt caked in mud, and holding the game ball securely in his right arm.
Jones broke the 1,000-yard barrier and the Black Knights' defense held Hanover Area to less than 150 yards of total offense, slowing pull away to a 22-0 Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2A-A victory Friday night.
The victory clinches Lehman (6-3) a spot in the District 2 Class 2A bracket that begins in two weeks, while Hanover Area (0-9) is still searching for its first win.
Our game plan always is to control the line and run the football, Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. I think we got a little sloppy in the second half, and we were only able to score six points in the second half. We did a nice job of eating the clock because Hanover wanted to run the ball too. My philosophy is that when we go against a team that wants to run the ball, I want to control the possessions.
Jones got fed the ball early and often.
He carried the rock 18 times in the first half alone, and eclipsed the mark on his 11th carry from scrimmage. He needed around 66 yards entering the contest. Jones finished with a game-high 111 yards on 26 touches.
It means a lot to me, Jones said. Last year, we got close in my sophomore year. It means a lot to get it this year. I really didn't think about it. You have to go into every game with the same mind set. You can't be nervous because you won't run as hard and you won't hit those holes hard.
While Lehman used its big size differential up front to push around the Hawkeyes, its defense was even more impressive.
The Knights sacked Hanover Area sophomore quarterback Casey O'Mack five times and applied constant pressure up the middle on seven other pass attempts.
And with Jones and backfield teammates John Van Scoy, Brady Butler and Tom Donovan gashing the Hawkeyes for 5 yards at a clip, possessions would be sacred.
Need an example?
Lake-Lehman (6-3) ran 24 plays in the first quarter. Hanover had one – and it wasn't the prettiest either as Mack was intercepted by Zach Chabala.
They stunted a lot and we missed the blocks, Hanover Area coach Ron Hummer said. We had some nice running plays. But it was rough in the passing game, and we've struggled with that this year. When you run pass patterns and linebackers that rush up the middle aren't blocked, you won't be successful. I was proud, though, because this was the first game that I thought we played for four quarters.
The Knights killed almost the entire clock in the opening quarter on their opening drive, stringing together 11 plays for 58 yards – capped off by a 7-yard score by Van Scoy.
Lehman added a Jones' 2-yard TD for a 16-0 lead at halftime and quarterback Bill Hillman later crossed the goal line on a 15-yard keeper for a 22-0 advantage after three quarters.
The bright spot for Hanover Area was sophomore Ya'Sir Jones, who finished with 99 yards on the ground – showing some elusive ability and shifty cut-back moves.
For the game, the Hawkeyes only had 148 yards of offense.
I thought that we were very aggressive up front, Gilsky said. We are not really used to seeing an ‘I' team. Most of the teams we went against this year were the spread look. I thought, overall, the group did excellent. It was nice because we have sophomores and juniors up front on defense. It was nice to see them control Hanover like that.
LL – John VanScoy 7 run (Tom Donovan run), 6:44
LL – Dustin Jones 2 run (Bill Hillman pass from Brady Butler), 3:24
LL – Hillman 15 run (run failed), 3:08
|Team Statistics||Lehman||Han Area|
RUSHING – LEH, Dustin Jones 26-11, Bill Hillman 3-60, John VanScoy 9-29, Brady Butler 7-28, Tom Donovan 4-14 Josh Sayre 1-3, Jimmy Stuart 2-1; HAN, Ya'Sir Jones 10-99, Dillon Ropietski 4-163, Brian Belcher 4-16, Isaiah Taylor 2-(-1), Casey O'Mack 6-(-46)
PASSING – LEH, Hillman 4-10-0-68; HAN O'Mack 4-13-2-57, Jones 1-1-0-4
RECEIVING – LEH, Van Scoy 1-22, Kody Pachamovich 1-17, Butler 1-17, Jacob Yaple 1-12; HAN, Antonio Constantino 2-33, Michael Bierle 1-16, Chuckie Schmoll 1-8, Taylor 1-4
INTS – LEH, Zach Chabala, VanScoy
MISSED FGS – None