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Meyers seeking to bring Lehman back to pack


February 17. 2013 4:05AM
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Meyers' goal on Saturday afternoon is simple. Throw more dirt into an already muddied pool of District 2 Class 2A playoff contenders.


It won't be an easy task as the Mohawks (2-2) head to Lake-Lehman (3-1) for a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2A-A game. Kickoff is at a unique time – 4 p.m. – because of Lehman's homecoming festivities.


Lehman currently leads the race for four playoff spots with 350 state points. Behind the Black Knights are a pack of seven 2-2 teams, with Carbondale (240) leading that group and Mid Valley (180) at the end.


"At first, we looked like a team that would try to get the fourth seed," Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. "But right now, wow that win (over Wyoming Area) gave us a lot of points because you know Wyoming Area is going to win games."


Meyers resides just south of the middle with 200 state points. But a victory Saturday would be worth 130 more. And with a few of the 2-2 bunch favored to win, the Mohawks need to bring Lehman back to the pack, as well as keep pace with the others.


"It's at Lehman and it's their homecoming," Meyers coach Corry Hanson said. "Coach (Jerry) Gilsky will have those boys ready to play. They're on a winning streak, but we're excited and looking forward to it."


Hanson answered his major concern with Lehman in two words.


"Dustin Jones," the second-year coach said.


Jones and his Meyers backfield counterpart, Parrish Bennett, are two of the WVC's top backs. They are a contrast in styles as well – a bulldozer versus a sports car.


At 235-240 pounds, Jones is a basher who more often than not takes a straight line between two points. He is fourth in the division in rushing with 453 yards, averages 4.4 per carry and his six rushing TDs are tie with three others for second in the conference.


Bennett is a 5-foot-8, 160-pound slashing speedster who led the entire WVC in rushing last season with 1,715 yards while at Hanover Area. He is off the pace this year with 468 yards, but Nanticoke made a concerted effort to stop him last week. He finished with 40 yards on 12 carries – both season lows – in the 45-16 victory.


While Jones and Bennett are difference makers, the biggest difference in both teams' recent success has been the quarterback position.


Meyers' senior Teaguen Labatch enters Saturday's contest off a career game where he threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns. His seven TD passes have him tied with Berwick's C.J. Curry for the conference lead. His 611 yards are the fourth most.


"He really committed himself in the offseason," Hanson said. "He was in the weight room every day getting stronger. He went to camps all over the state and out of state. He just really committed to his senior year to be a better quarterback."


Meanwhile, Lehman signal-caller Bill Hillman has rebounded from a poor debut as the starter in a 50-14 season-opening loss to Old Forge. Since then, he is 13-of-25 for 293 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.


Hillman has plenty of pass catchers available. But guys like Tom Donovan, Josh Sayre and John Van Scoy will also run the ball at times. The trio averages about the same number of carries per game as Jones.


A big factor for Lehman has been turnovers. The Black Knights have one after committing four against Old Forge, a team Meyers lost to 42-7.


"You look at the Old Forge game and it's 10-7 at the half," Gilsky said. "Old Forge is a very good team, but when you have turnovers like we had in the second half to start out, that kind of took the wind out of our sails."


Meyers' other main threat is receiver Matt DeMarco, who leads the WVC with six touchdown catches among his 16 receptions. His 28.3 yards-per-catch average leads all receivers with at least 10 grabs. He is coming off his best game of his career with 210 reception yards and three TDs.



Week 5 Schedule


Today's Games



(7 p.m.)


Berwick at Selinsgrove


Crestwood at Tunkhannock


Dallas at Williamsport


Hanover Area at Northwest


Hazleton Area at Pittston Area


Wyoming Area at Nanticoke


Wyoming Valley West at Coughlin



Saturday's Games


Meyers at Lake-Lehman, 4 p.m.


GAR at Holy Redeemer, 7 p.m.





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