DUNMORE – Nothing could stop Lackawanna Trail in the first half Saturday afternoon – not the timekeeper’s improvisations, not the officials’ loose interpretation of the sideline, not Lions coach Steve Jervis’ good will and certainly not the Holy Cross Crusaders.
The Lions piled up 49 points in the half and coasted to a 55-0 Lackawanna Football Conference Division 3 rout of the host Crusaders.
Jeffrey Resto ran for two touchdowns and Nathan Rolka hit Noah Coleman with two touchdown passes as the Lions scored seven times in the first half.
The Lions opened leads of 28-0 after one quarter and 49-0 at halftime even with the official clock operator arbitrarily running off extra time of anywhere between 2 and 18 seconds after touchdowns and at other times when it would normally have stopped.
The clock also continued to count down time when officials seemed to interpret every play as having ended in-bounds, regardless of where players – or even the ball – wound up.
Jervis began going deep into his bench when the Lions scored their fifth touchdown in just 10 plays for a 35-0 lead with 10:17 left in the half.
Even when they went to younger and smaller players, the Lions continued to dominate and unload with a series of hard hits from a defense that held the Crusaders to minus-33 yards rushing and minus-26 yards total offense.
Dillon Moyle, Thomas Kohinsky and Owen Hivner each made two tackles for losses to lead a defense that also got a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown from Nico Berrios to conclude the first-half scoring.
“We wanted to have a better showing on offense,” Jervis said of his team, which was held scoreless for the first three quarters of last week’s loss to unbeaten Dunmore. “There were times last Friday where we weren’t playing to our abilities.
“Offensively, getting off to a fast start, and then our younger kids making some good runs as well, that was good to see.”
Lackawanna Trail finished with a 14-1 lead in first downs while averaging more than 10 yards per play with 396 yards on 39 plays.
The troubles started immediately for Holy Cross in its 18th straight loss.
The Crusaders lost five yards on each of their first three plays as they lined up in the wrong formation twice, had a mix-up in the backfield and a fumble.
Lackawanna Trail then scored on its first play when Rolka hit Coleman for 35 yards on a post pattern.
The Lions nearly made it 2-for-2 after Holy Cross punted.
Resto went 45 yards on the first play before being stopped at the 12. He scored from the 6 two plays later.
Cody Moyle also scored from the 6 later in the first quarter and, when Holy Cross was unable to get off a punt, Resto went in from the 5 on Lackawanna Trail’s next offensive play.
The Lions wound up scoring on the last three plays with the starting offense on the field. Rolka hit Coleman deep off play action for a 61-yard score before sitting out the remainder of the game.
Quinn Jagoe ran 42 yards for a touchdown four minutes before halftime.
Holy Cross picked up its only first down on the next possession and the Crusaders got as far as the Lions’ 46 early in the fourth quarter, the closest they came to scoring.
Freshman Ray Melnikoff ran 8 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
After advancing to the Holy Cross 16 late in the fourth quarter, Lackawanna Trail took a knee with its reserves rather than attempt to score again.
The Lions head to Northwest Friday in a rematch of last year’s District 2 Class A championship game that they won.