LEHMAN TWP. — One of Northwest’s strengths was expected to be its defense.
With the way the Rangers swarm to the football and bring pressure up the field, the idea was to limit the amount of time the quarterback has in the pocket, while at the same time plug the holes in the line of scrimmage and eliminate the amount of open space the running backs have to work with.
Friday night the Rangers executed that plan to near perfection. They identified who had the ball and where. They also won the battle of field position in the first half and that combination led to a 25-7 victory Friday night over Lake-Lehman.
“We really thought coming into the year we would be a good team defensively,” Northwest coach Lon Hazlet said. “We rotated a lot of guys in to try and stay fresh. Everyone did their job. We swarmed to the football and good things happened.”
Northwest quarterback David Piestrak ran for 108 yards and a touchdown, and was able to keep several plays alive with his legs and getting the ball up field. The Rangers only had five of their 43 rushing attempts go for negative yards.
“We tried different alignments and adjustments,” Lake-Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. “We are just going to have to watch the film and evaluate our guys. Last week against Meyers we knew their quarterback’s legs could hurt us. “Tonight, the quarterback’s legs hurt us. It was the total opposite.”
Piestrak put the Rangers (1-1) on the board in the first quarter with a 19-yard touchdown run. Northwest followed that up with a safety after forcing a punt on defense and the snap sailed out of the end zone.
Lake-Lehman responded when Zack Kojadinovich capped Lake-Lehman’s best offensive series of the night with a 15-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 9-7 at the 10:02 mark of the second quarter.
From there, both defenses began to take control and limit the offensive production.
However, near the end of the first half, the Rangers stole the momentum and never gave it back.
Jake Anderson scored from 1-yard out with 36 seconds left. The Rangers went with a high pooch kick following the score and recovered the ball at the Lake-Lehman 42. Jack Wessler came on to kick a 24-yard field goal, his first of three on the night, as the half expired as the Rangers were able to score 10 points in a matter of 36 seconds.
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