By Todd Hummel
The Daily Item
As the 2012 high school football season nears the postseason, the Lewisburg football team needed to put together four full quarters against a tough opponent before the District 4 Class AA playoffs.
Friday night on the road against Loyalsock, the Green Dragons did exactly that.
Brandon Smith scored five touchdowns and the Lewisburg offense was held without scoring just twice on the night, once by a missed field goal and once when the final gun sounded as the Green Dragons rolled to a 49-26 victory over the Lancers in Heartland Athletic Conference-Division II play.
“We tried to be a little more diverse in our play calling early in the game to open up the offense,” Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. “And when our offensive line is dominant like it was (Friday), it allows us to run a lot different things with our offense.”
“It was huge for us not to get off to a slow start,” Smith, who had rushing touchdowns of 1, 2, 3 and 4 yards, plus a 73-yard interception return for his fifth and final score, said. “We’ve been having some troubles early in the games, but the offensive line did an excellent job. (Quarterback) Nick (Costagliola) got the passing game going early and it allowed us to be balanced.”
Winn said earlier this week that the Green Dragons (7-2 overall, 3-2 HAC-II) would be a bit more diverse from the get go. They were and it paid off.
Costagliola was 10-of-13 in a first half that the Green Dragons dominated. In the first 21 minutes of the first half, Lewisburg ran 19 more plays than the Lancers, outgained them by 183 yards and more importantly led 28-0.
Smith scored on a four-yard TD run to cap a 12-play 76-yard drive to open up the game. Costagliola missed his first pass of the game, but completed his next five on the drive. After a punt, the Green Dragons then went 71 yards in nine plays capped by Costagliola’s one-yard sneak.
Smith then recovered a Loyalsock fumble and four plays later scored from two yards out to give Lewisburg a 21-0 lead with 8:33 left in the first half. Another quick three-and-out by the Green Dragons’ defense led to another scoring drive.
Lewisburg marched 57 yards in 11 plays capped by Smith’s three-yard TD run with 2:52 left in the second quarter for a 28-0 advantage. By this time in the game, the Lancers had just 40 total yards of offense and quarterback Kyle Datres was just 0-of-2 passing.
However, the Green Dragons were never able to get the game into the mercy-rule thanks to the legs and arm of Datres, the Lancers’ incredibly athletic sophomore quarterback.
Datres finished the game with 110 yards rushing with one touchdown and 161 passing yards and two scores as the Loyalsock (5-4, 2-2) crawled within two scores in the fourth quarter after recovering an onside kick.
But the Lancers’ defense never solved the Lewisburg offense and the Green Dragons behind Smith’s 156 yards on the ground were able to keep them at bay.
Datres scrambled 15 yards to cut the Lewisburg lead to 35-14 with 10 minutes left before the Lancers recovered an onside kick. Datres then hit Phil Krizan with seven-yard TD pass, but Datres missed the extra point with 7:59 left making it 35-20.
This time Luke Smith recovered the onside kick at midfield and Costagliola hit Joey Gardner with a seven-yard scoring pass to push the lead back to 42-20.
The Lancers began to put together another drive, but Smith picked off a Datres pass and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown with 3:34 left in the game. To make matters worse, Datres was hit as he threw the ball and injured his ankle. He was carried from the field and later taken from bench area in a cart.