Rangers Get Much Needed Win Over Trojans
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
NANTICOKE- Northwest Area coach Lon Hazlet wasn’t going to sugar-coat what his Rangers were facing coming into their showdown with Nanticoke Area Friday night. “This game was huge, as all games going forward will be. But this game needs to be the catalyst for our second half of the season. I’d much rather be 2-3 than 1-4 at this point,” he concluded.
His team apparently got the message loud and clear, as the Rangers gutted out a 20-15 victory over the host Trojans at Nanticoke Stadium before a packed house. Behind the running of Jake Anderson and Beau Getz, the Rangers hope this game propels them to a winning streak, much like last year when they defeated Nanticoke which began a five-game winning streak to end the season.
Anderson got Northwest off to a quick start as he ripped off a 61-yard gallop on the Rangers first play from scrimmage. QB Dave Piestrak called his number and took it to the house from five yards out, giving his team a 7-0 lead with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
Nanticoke found moving the ball against a stout motivated defense was difficult at best in the first half. The Trojans did manage to take a 8-7 lead at intermission thanks to an electrifying 87 yard punt return by Keanu Ammons. Ammons scooped up the bouncing ball at his 13, avoided several would-be tacklers near the home sideline, cut back against the grain, picked up a few blockers and out-juked the last defender at the Ranger 35 and found paydirt with 6:14 left till half.
“We had seven mistakes in our special teams last week against Trail. We worked all week on special teams, to have that return happen it’s disappointing. Give that kid credit though, he made a great play,” Coach Hazlet stated.
Northwest was able to capture the lead back in the third quarter as Piestrak connected with Brandon Hardiman for a four-yard scoring pass to take a 13-8 lead. The Ranger defense stifled the Trojans again on a fourth down play to give the ball back to the offense. On the first play of the final stanza Piestrak hooked up with Hardiman for a 70-yard gain to set up shop inside the Trojan 5. Getz took it in from a yard out to make the score 20-8
Nanticoke was not about to go down without putting up a battle. The Trojans went on a 81 yard march QB Colby Butczynski scored from 2 yards out to cut the lead to 20-15 with 5:54 left in the contest. The Trojans had one more opportunity to pull out a victory as the got the ball back with about two-and half minutes to go, but the Rangers forced a fourth down incompletion and the visitors were able to run out the clock.
Anderson led the ground attack with 130 yards on 18 touches. Getz, who came to coach Hazlet during the week and asked for more carries, gained 74 yards on 12 carries. Piestrak completed seven of 12 passes for 114 yards and one score.
“We have got to win next week. We just have to keep moving forward. Right now we are just a 2-3 team. If we win next week we get to .500. We have to improve each week,” Coach Hazlet mentioned.
Northwest will try to get to 3-3 at home next week against Holy Redeemer, who is 1-3 on the season and is facing Wilkes-Barre Meyers Saturday afternoon. Nanticoke, who has dropped to games in a row after starting 3-0, will travel to Mountaintop to face the Comets of Crestwood (2-3)next Friday. The Comets coming off a tough 13-7 loss to Pottsville Friday night.
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