WILKES-BARRE — In Week 1 of the Wyoming Valley Conference football season GAR was hit with a tough loss to Susquehanna.
As Week 2 kicked off on Thursday night at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium, the Grenadiers weren’t going to take another hard setback.
The first time GAR touched the ball resulted in a punt return for a touchdown, and the team kept rolling from there with a 43-0 win over Holy Redeemer.
“We continue to improve week in, week out,” GAR coach Paul Wiedlich Jr. said. “A lot of mental miscues, a lot of things we need to work on to get better for a big, strong Hanover Area team (next) Friday.”
After the Royals threatened to reach Grenadiers (1-1) territory on the first drive of the game but failed, Malachai Williams received the punt and took it 60 yards to the house for a 7-0 lead with 8:10 left in the first quarter.
Redeemer (0-2) picked up 13 yards on the first drive of the game and for its longest drive of the first half. The farthest the offense reached in the first 24 minutes of the game was the 50 when a GAR punt landed there.
The GAR first-team defense swarmed around every Redeemer player with the ball, not allowing the Royals to cross midfield while giving up just 14 more yards on six drives in the first half.
“Big time,” Wiedlich said when asked how big of a jolt that punt return was. “Any time you have a big play like that it’s going to boost everything.”
Meanwhile, the offense started to roll rushing for 140 yards in the first half and totaling 239 before the break. Rodsheen Ayer’s 5-yard TD score put the team up 14-0 in the first quarter. Quarterback Kam Taylor accounted for the next two scores in the second quarter, hitting running back Justice Lomas on a 21-yard screen pass for a TD before connecting with Will Johnson on a 7-yard flag pattern in the end zone to go up 28-0.
Just before the break with 7 seconds left, Lomas crossed the goal line from 3 yards out for a 35-0 lead. Lomas started the second half with 64 rushing yards on the team’s opening-half drive which ended with a 1-yard plunge by Lomas for a 43-0 lead to put the exclamation point on the win.
Wiedlich said he was trying to test his offense’s inside run. It worked well as GAR piled up 235 yards on the ground.
“We still gotta get our backs to remain disciplined, let the holes develop,” he added. “As the game progressed, they started finding a little more discipline there. We have team speed and so teams are going to play us against the perimeter. So today’s goal was to establish inside run game, which I think we did well.”
The only other highlight of the game for the Royals was when Peter Shay recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter with GAR driving inside the red zone. The Royals were held to just 27 total yards of offense and were pushed around then lost a handful of players to an already small roster.
Coach Dwayne Downing had a stern message for his team after the loss.
“Is this the kind of football we want to play,” Downing said about the message to his team. “I know we’re young and certainly we got some growing pains as a football team, but I think we’re better than this.”
In Week 3, the Royals travel out of conference to take on Mahanoy Area.
GAR 43, Holy Redeemer 0
Holy Redeemer`0`0`0`0 — 0
GAR `14`21`8`0 — 43
GAR – Williams 60 punt return (Amigon kick) 8:10
GAR – Ayer 5 run (Amigon kick) 4:58
GAR – Lomas 21 pass from Taylor (Amigon kick) 8:41
GAR – Johnson 7 pass from Taylor (Amigon kick) 3:15
GAR – Lomas 3 run (Amigon kick) :07
GAR – Lomas 1 run (Genao pass from Qualls) 7:26
Sacks by-yards lost`0-0`1-6
PASSING – HR, Conway 2-4-0-6. GAR, Taylor 7-10-0-99.
RUSHING— HR, Williams 9-17, Conway 4-0, Colavitti 1-3, Leon 4-8, Mayhue 1-3, Shay 1-1, TEAM 2-(minus-15). GAR, Lomas 14-144, Ayer 3-40, Taylor 3-34, Hernandez 1-5, Gonzalez 8-21, Qualls 3-36, TEAM 3-(minus-45).
RECEIVING— HR, Williams 1-3, Colavitti 1-3. GAR, Williams 3-46, Lomas 2-18, Qualls 1-28, Johnson 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS – none
MISSED FG’S – none