LEHMAN TWP. – Lake-Lehman saw how quickly a close game could sour just after halftime in its season opener. It saw just the opposite Saturday afternoon during its homecoming game against Meyers.
The Black Knights scored 30 third-quarter points, erasing a halftime deficit and any hopes of a Meyers' upset in their 50-29 victory.
Lehman improved to 4-1 overall, maintaining its spots atop the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2A-A and District 2 Class 2A standings. Meyers fell to 2-3.
Back on Aug. 30, Lehman trailed Old Forge by three at halftime. The Black Knights lost 50-14 by allowing 29 third-quarter points.
Saturday's game followed a similar pattern but with Lehman as the beneficiary.
"Old Forge is a hell of a team … we knew that," Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. "To come out in the second half like we did against Old Forge, that's a team you can't make the mistakes we did."
Meyers led 14-13 going into halftime as Nate Mahalak returned an interception 37 yards for a score and Matt DeMarco added a 20-yard TD reception with 1:12 left in the second quarter.
"The team wasn't like ‘Here we go again' with that interceptions for the score," Gilsky said. "We kept our kids positive."
Lehman running back Dustin Jones was certainly a good way to create optimism. The 240-pound junior, who finished with 228 yards, scored on a 23-yard run at 8:00 of the third for a 21-14 lead. Josh Sayre returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown three plays later, boosting the advantage to 28-14.
Meyers' Zahir Dunell then capped a wild 69-second span of the quarter by returning the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown. But it was the last time the Mohawks would score until early in the fourth quarter.
That gap gave Lehman sufficient time to pull away. Or more precisely, smash away. Jones continued to bowl through the line for scores of 17 and 5 yards. Neither run, though, was as impressive as his 12-yard score in the second that left three Mohawks sprawled on the field.
"He's not the fastest kid in the world, but he's bruiser," Gilsky said. "He keeps his feet going. Every week, we still have to coach him up. You got to keep him low (when) he starts getting tired. But he's a luxury to have him in the backfield, don't get me wrong."
Prior to those two scores, Tom Donovan picked his way for a 12-yard TD run. The final toll of the third led to a 43-21 advantage entering the fourth.
Meanwhile, Meyers' time on the field was spent moving forward just a touch more than moving backward. The Mohawks totaled 126 yards of offense and 120 yards in penalties. They were flagged 16 times – now 27 times in their last two games.
"Penalties and turnovers, I don't know how many we had in the third quarter," Meyers coach Corry Hanson said, "but that first drive we had two penalties that put us in a first-and-20. It's tough, especially with a young team. But I'm not making excuses. Lake-Lehman played a great game. But with penalties and turnovers, it's tough to win games."
Lake-Lehman 50, Meyers 29
LL – Dustin Jones 4 run (Mike Symion kick), 7:58
MEY – Nate Mahalak 37 interception return (Cal Lisman kick), 0:29
LL – Jones 12 run (kick blocked), 4:08
MEY – Matt DeMarco 20 pass from Teaguen Labatch (Lisman kick), 1:12
LL – Jones 23 run (Jones run), 8:00
LL – Josh Sayre 38 interception return (Symion kick), 7:10
MEY – Zahir Dunell 81 kick return (Lisman kick), 6:51
LL – Tom Donovan 12 run (John Van Scoy run), 3:26
LL – Jones 17 run (Symion kick), 1:25
LL – Jones 5 run (Symion kick), 10:22
MEY – DeMarco 4 pass from Labatch (DeMarco from Labatch), 10:01
RUSHING –Meyers, Parrish Bennett 8-19, Labatch 3-12, DeMarco 3-17, Mahalak 1-0, Rudy Goodwn 2-5. Lehman, Jones 29-228, Bill Hillman 4-(minus-7), Donovan 7-57, Sayre 2-13, Van Scoy 9-13, Brady Butler 8-52, Zach Jayne 2-5, team 1-(minus-1).
PASSING – Meyers, Labatch 8-21-3-73. Lehman, Hillman 1-5-1-19.
RECEIVING –Meyers, DeMarco 3-30, Jacob Brominski 2-18, Bennett 3-25. Lehman, Donovan 1-19.
INTS – Meyers, Mahalak. Lehman, Josh Winters, Sayre, Derek Dragon.
MISSED FGS – none.