NANTICOKE — Lake-Lehman is becoming a second-half team.
For the second straight week, the Black Knights overpowered an opponent in the final 24 minutes en route to a victory.
On Friday night at Nanticoke, Lehman scored two touchdowns, forced three takeaways and held the Trojans to just 39 total yards in the second half of a 42-21 victory.
“Once again, the first half is an Achilles for us,” Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. “I’m gonna have to figure something as a coach to come out with more energy. Instead of trying to figure things out.
“Overall, I love my kids’ effort. They did their job. And they just kept grinding and fighting and fighting. …We were 21 better than them so I can’t be too sad. But I always want to try something new to coach my kids about every week to get them better.”
With the Black Knights (5-2) holding a 28-14 lead entering the third quarter, they got rejuvenated at the break thanks to a bruising running game led by Matt Kurtz, who rushed for a game-high 121 yards and two scores, including 62 yards in the second half. Zack Kojadinovich tacked on 66 rushing yards and a touchdown as the duo constantly broke off tacklers for extra yardage.
“It all comes down to the weight room. How many guys are willing to dedicate their time in the weight room as much as we do, and that formulates right to the field,” Gilsky said about his two backs.
Lehman broke open the game with two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a little more than 2 minutes. Quarterback Nate O’Donnell found Nate LaBar for their second scoring strike of the game with 8:45 left to push the lead to 35-14.
After the defense forced a fumble and recovered it on Nanticoke’s first play from scrimmage after the TD, O’Donnell found Kojadinovich for a 25-yard hook-up to push the lead to 42-14 with 6:43 to go.
“They gave us opportunities, especially throwing the ball,” Gilsky said. “They were flying up with safeties and we looked at our right-left scheme and started the throwing the ball a little bit. So we got a couple good deep passes in the end zone because their kids were flying up.”
Nanticoke fumbled the ball away two more times after that, but it got a late score when Travis Cheslaw ran a Lehman fumble 60 yards for a touchdown with 4:56 remaining.
Kojadinovich started the game’s scoring in the first quarter with a 12-yard touchdown run.
The Trojans (3-4) answered by tying the score on a quarterback sneak score from Colby Butczynski on the second play of the second quarter.
Kurtz’s two scores came in a 21-point second quarter with the first one capping a five-play, 50-yard drive where he carried the ball all five times.
A 56-yard scoring pass from Butczynski to Keanu Ammons with 1:40 left in the half pulled the Trojans within 21-14. But a kick return to the 25 gave the Knights another chance. They capitalized on their first play after on a 25-yard TD strike from O’Donnell to LaBar.