Deer Lakes posts 1st victory
Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett was conflicted heading into Friday night’s Allegheny Conference matchup with West Shamokin at Lancer Field.
Hazlett’s Lancers had yet to win this season, but the visiting Wolves last tasted victory in 2007.
“I told (West Shamokin coach Josh Gilliland), ‘I’m really at the middle of the road here for you. I don’t want to see you hit that 40th loss and set that unfortunate mark, but at the same time, I don’t want it to be me,’ ” he said.
Deer Lakes won, 40-14, to hand West Shamokin its 40th consecutive loss. It’s the longest losing streak in WPIAL history, eclipsing Geibel’s mark of 39 in a row.
“The boys are down, depressed — 40 losses in a row (stinks),” Gilliland said. “There’s not much beating around the bush. What the answer is, I’m not real sure. But I told the kids, ‘We’ve got to pick our heads up, work hard and go after Ford City next week.’ ”
Deer Lakes (1-5, 1-3) relied on a rejuvenated aerial attack to subdue the Wolves (0-6, 0-4). In his return to the lineup, senior receiver Jordan Fragapane caught five passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
“Jordan Fragapane coming back tonight was huge,” Hazlett said. “He’d been out since our second game of the season. He truly proved that he’s a playmaker.”
Fragapane notched his first score on Deer Lakes’ first play, hauling in a pass from sophomore Josh Plocki and going 71 yards to give the Lancers a 7-0 lead. Plocki finished 8 of 14 for 241 yards and two touchdowns.
After two Deer Lakes field goals, West Shamokin junior running back Blake Copenhaver gave the Wolves a boost when he burst through the defense on a 35-yard run. He lead the Wolves’ ground-heavy attack with 133 yards on 30 carries. Six plays later, senior running back Andrew Sabula punched the ball in from 2 yards, cutting the Lancers’ lead to 13-7.
But Deer Lakes again struck back quickly by way of the Plocki-to-Fragapane connection. This time it was a 74-yard score that gave the Lancers a 20-7 lead heading into halftime.
Deer Lakes gradually took control in the second half, and two long touchdown runs from sophomore running back Cody Keenan, who had 146 rushing yards on six carries, helped the Lancers lock up their first victory.