Takeaways Propel Lehighton Past Schuylkill Haven
By: Matt Freiler, Schuylkill League Reporter
It was a party for the Lehighton defense under the lights at Rotary Field in Schuylkill Haven on Friday night. The Indians racked up five takeaways, including three interceptions and two fumbles, defeating Schuylkill Haven 30-14.
“Our defense played the way we used to play,” said Tom McCarroll, Lehighton head coach. “Schuylkill Haven is too good of a team to go scoreless, and we got everything we could handle from them in the second half.”
The Indians went into the locker room up 14-0, after a three-yard touchdown run by Philly-area transfer Taquan Chambers and a pick-six by Chris Whiteman.
The Hurricanes responded on the first drive of the second half, marching down the field and cutting the deficit to 14-7 after Kobe Brish’s three-yard touchdown run. While this was the sophomore’s lone touchdown of the night, he rushed for a total of 220 yards on 30 carries.
Lehighton answered back immediately. Indian quarterback Cody Scherer found a wide-open Ben Schatz down the middle for a huge gain to the one-yard line. From there, Scherer punched it in. Lehighton converted the two-point conversion and made it a 22-7 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter.
Schuylkill Haven countered with Brandon Koch’s 55-yard dash to the end zone that electrified the stadium and the Hurricane sideline. The score put Haven within one possession, down 22-14 at the end of the third.
The turning point of the game came early in the 4th quarter. Schuylkill Haven was faced with a 4th & 6 from the Indian 16. Quarterback Josh Kalyan tossed it up to the back corner of the end zone, but the pass was broken up and Lehighton took over on downs. Kalyan threw three interceptions on the night, including one that was returned for a touchdown in the first half.
On Schuylkill Haven’s next drive, the quarterback-center exchanged was muffed, and Lehighton pounced on the ball for a fumble recovery. Scherer led his team down the field, and Chambers scored his second rushing touchdown of the night from 19 yards out. Lehighton extended the lead to 30-14 with the two-point conversion. The Indians would play conservative the rest of the way and improve to 2-0 on the season. Schuylkill Haven dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 2012.
“These kinds of games can be momentum builders,” said McCaroll. “Schuylkill Haven is a quality opponent, and I hope we can use this momentum to catapult us through the rest of the season.”
Matt Freiler is a Penn State junior who covers Schuylkill League Football games for EasternPAFootball.com. You can contact Matt by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
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