Dallas wins Old Shoe from Lehman
DALLAS – The game was in hand. Dallas had a 35-point lead and the clock was going to run non-stop for the final 24 minutes of the Old Shoe game with Lake-Lehman on Friday.
But Parker Bolesta still put a tidy little bow on the Mountaineers’ return to the win column in the Back Mountain rivalry. The senior tailback soft-stepped through the line, allowing his blockers to work in front of him. When he got one-on-one with a defensive back, he made one cut to the sideline and was gone. It was an 82-yard tidy little bow on Dallas’ 49-6 win over Lake-Lehman. It was Bolesta’s fifth touchdown of the night. They were the final 82 of his 334 rushing yards.
But most importantly, the Bolesta and his teammates were able to hoist the bronzed shoe above their head for the first time since 2019.
“Last time out was two years ago and they whooped us purple over there,” Dallas coach Rich Mannello said. “But we didn’t forget that and how that whole thing went about. Our kids have been waiting and they proved they were better tonight.”
Dallas finished the regular season 8-2 and secured the third seed in the District 2 Class AAAA playoffs. The Mountaineers unofficially host Wyoming Area in the quarterfinals next week.
Friday night’s win in which Dallas rolled up 574 yards of offense not only was a strong bounce-back performance following last week’s loss to Wilkes-Barre, but it also gave the Mountaineers a little positive momentum heading into the postseason. The performance eased Mannello’s mind a little bit as well. Dallas had lost two of its last three games before Friday’s win.
But the Mountaineers are finally healthy. And they finally clicked on all cylinders offensively and defensively.
“We came out here and played Dallas football,” said lineman Lucas Shultz, who recorded three sacks on defense and led the charge up front on offense. “We were in a slump and this got us back in our mojo.”
Dallas righted the ship from the start. It scored on all six of its first-half possessions, four of which came on Bolesta runs.
Bolesta covered 55 of the 66 yards on a game-opening touchdown drive. Dylan Geskey did the brunt of the work on a 63-yard catch and run to push the Mountaineers’ lead to 14-6. Bolesta took advantage of a short field to score from 7 yards out to close the first quarter.
Dallas then forced three consecutive turnovers, all of which turned into Mountaineer points. Bolesta scored on runs of 9 and 45 yards. And Zapoticky found Nick Farrell for a 15-yard scoring strike.
It was a sublime performance from an offense which was shut out after scoring on its first possession a week ago. Bolesta had 252 yards by halftime on just 15 carries.
“We’ve got a physical group up front,” Bolesta said. “They work their butts off in the weight room all year long and it showed when we snapped the ball and I’d see nothing but open field tonight.”
“I know some folks like to question Parker’s speed, but I see him run away from people every single week,” Mannello said. “He’s a glider. He’ll run you over, but when he goes he can really stride.”
It wasn’t that Lake-Lehman didn’t move the ball in the first half. After Dallas opened the game with a touchdown, the Black Knights (3-7) got a 47-yard catch and run from Gavin Paraschak to cut the deficit to 7-6. But trailing by two scores to end the first quarter, the Knights fell apart offensively.
Lucas Tirpak’s interception inside the 20-yard line led to a Dallas TD drive. A fumble inside the 10-yard line led to a 95-yard Dallas touchdown drive. And a strip sack by Shultz led to the Mountaineers’ final touchdown of the half.
“Turnovers are a big momentum gainer,” Shultz said. “Once we force a fumble or get a pick, it gets us rolling and gets us scoring a bunch.”
“Getting a turnover changes the momentum,” Bolesta said. “And being able to score off it really puts the odds in our favor.”
And now Dallas goes into the postseason feeling good about where it is. Recent losses to Berwick and Wilkes-Barre mean little. The key is the Mountaineers will be the third seed and have an opportunity to make a run at a district title beginning next week.
“This eases my mind. We got some of our momentum back,” Mannello said. “Since Hazleton we’ve been sputtering for a lot of different reasons. But you are what you are and we had lost two out of three. But this helps get that taste out of our mouth.”
Dallas 49, Lake-Lehman 6
Lake-Lehman 6 0 0 0 — 6
Dallas 21 21 7 0 — 49
D – Parker Bolesta 14 run (Jace Chopyak kick), 10:41
LL – Gavin Paraschak 47 pass from Landon Shuckers (kick blocked), 5:27
D – Dylan Geskey 63 pass from Brady Zapoticky (Chopyak kick), 4:40
D – Bolesta 7 run (Chopyak kick), :02
D – Bolesta 9 run (Chopyak kick), 7:01
D – Bolesta 45 run (Chopyak kick), 3:08
D – Nick Farrell 15 pass from Zapoticky (Chopyak kick), :36
D – Bolesta 82 run (Chopyak kick), 9:05
First Downs 12 18
Rushes-Yards 32-104 30-422
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-1 7-9-0
Passing 171 152
Total Yards 275 574
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-0
Penalties-Yards 6-47 11-121
Rushing: Lake-Lehman — Landon Shuckers, 13-62; Gavin Wallace, 3-29; Gavin Paraschak, 2-6; Josh Ryan, 6-5; Chris Yetter, 3-5; Javon Borger, 2-1; Hunter Lee, 3-(-4). Dallas — Parker Bolesta, 16-334, 5 TDs; Sam Kelley, 6-41; Nico Wilk, 3-30; Zach Paczewski, 1-11; Dylan Geskey, 1-8; Bob Booth, 2-3; Brady Zapoticky, 1-(-5).
Passing: Lake-Lehman — Landon Shuckers, 8-12-1, 156 yds., TD; Gavin Wallace, 2-5-0, 15 yds. Dallas — Brady Zapoticky, 7-8-0, 152 yds., 2 TDs; Travis Cheskiewitz, 0-1-0.
Receiving: Lake-Lehman — Gavin Paraschak, 3-106, TD; Chris Sholtis, 3-22; Brandon Ritinski, 2-28; Jakob Daum, 1-8; Mason Lee, 1-7. Dallas — Joe Peters, 3-35; Zach Paczewski, 2-39; Dylan Geskey, 1-63, TD; Nick Farrell, 1-15, TD.
INTERCEPTIONS — Dallas, Lucas Tirpak.
Records: Dallas (8-2); Lake-Lehman (3-7).
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