LEHMAN TWP. — David Piestrak and Northwest knew the perfect way to knock out years of misfortune.
They came out swinging.
Piestrak finished Northwest’s opening drive with a 19-yard touchdown run, Jack Wessler kicked three field goals and the Rangers won for the first time in four tries this decade at Lake-Lehman by posting a 25-7 victory.
“We haven’t beaten them at Lehman since 2009,” Piestrak said. “We didn’t underestimate them. We really wanted to come out and punch them in the mouth.”
The shot connected.
Northwest marched 60 yards with its opening possession and Piestrak capped it by scampering 19 yards into the end zone with a quarterback keeper that put the Rangers ahead to stay.
Lehman never recovered.
The Black Knights snapped the ball out of the end zone on a punt attempt later in the first quarter as Northwest took a 9-0 lead. And after Lake-Lehman running back Zack Kojadinovich closed the gap to 9-7 with a 15-yard scoring burst in the second quarter, the Rangers ended the first half with a one-two combination that proved to be a knockout punch.
Jake Anderson blasted across the goal line from a yard out to restore Northwest’s nine-point lead, and after the Rangers recoevered an onside kick, Wessler nailed a 23-yard field goal to send Northwest into halftime with a 19-7 advantage.
Wessler booted two more field goals in the second half, a 35-yarder in the third quarter and a 22-yarder in the fourth to set the final score.
“Oh my gosh, it’s nice having a kicker who is consistent, especially at the high school level,” Piestrak said. “The safety really helped us, too. We had lot of plays on special teams.”
The Northwest defense limited Lehman to just 60 rushing yards and 88 total offensive yards for the game.
“Our defense played well,” Piestrak said. “Defense does win championships.”
Piestrak finished with 107 rushing yards on 15 carries and hit for 126 passing yards on eight completions.
“David’s just a tremendous athlete, just a tremendous player,” Northwest coach Lon Hazlet said. “He’s a winner, and you win with winners. We haven’t won here since 2009. To come up here to what they call the Black Turf and get a win is big.”
Northwest 25, Lake-Lehman 7
NW — David Piestrak 19 run (Jack Wessler kick), 7:48
NW — Lehman punt snap out of end zone for safety, 3:00
LL — Zack Kojadinovich 15 run (Henry Selingo kick), 10:02
NW — Jake Anderson 1 run (Wessler kick) 0:36
NW — Wessler 23 FG, 0:00
NW — Wessler 35 FG, 3:41
NW — Wessler 22 FG, 7:00
RUSHING — NW, David Piestrak 15-107, Jake Anderson 22-66, Beau Getz 2-5, Tyler Stevens 3-2, Brandon Hardiman 1- (minus 4). LL, Zack Kojadinovich 10-37, Trey Borger 10-35, Matt Kurtz 1-3, Nate LaBar 1-2, Jake Ferguson 1- (minus 1), Nate O’Donnell 2- (minus 1), TEAM 1- (minus 15).
PASSING — NW, Piestrak 8-20-1-126, Hardiman 0-1-0. LL, O’Donnell 2-9-0-28, Ferguson 0-1-1.
RECEIVING — NW, Connor Hazlet 4-65, Adam Bukavich 2-23, Zach Carr 1-15, Hardiman 1-7, Anderson 0-16. LL, Tyler Billotti 1-21, Borger 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS — NW, Hazlet 1-0. LL, Casey Kaminski 1-0.
Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski