Deer Lakes outlasts Farrell
WEST DEER -- Deer Lakes coach Denny Fedigan took one look at Farrell on film and knew what his team needed to do to be successful against the Steelers.
"They're a big play team, so we wanted to keep the ball out of the hands of their big-play people as much as possible," Fedigan said. "To do that, we needed to control the football and eat up the clock."
Relying on a punishing rushing attack and a smothering defense, the Lancers overcame an early two-touchdown deficit to defeat Farrell, 20-14, Friday night in a non-conference game at Lancer Stadium.
"The game plan played out the way we expected it to," Fedigan said. "Our defense pretty much dominated, and our offense controlled the line of scrimmage all night long."
Deer Lakes, which lost its first four games of the season, won its second straight to improve to 2-4 overall.
Farrell, which left the WPIAL and is in its first season in District 10, fell to 1-5.
Steelers coach Lou Falconi said his team couldn't match up with Deer Lakes physically.
"It was what we feared, and they did the smart thing," Falconi said. "They pounded us and wore us down. They beat us up and out-physicaled us."
The Lancers rushed for 301 yards and scored all three of their touchdowns on the ground. Paving the way was the offensive line of center Vinnie Palmiere, guards George Matthews and D. J. Vasil, tackles Buck Ferber and Rich Wise and tight ends Adam Fromherz and Hunter Waits.
"Those guys up front deserve a lot of credit," Fedigan said.
Running from a power-I set, tailback Zach Guerrieri carried 31 times for 158 yards and one touchdown, and quarterback Matt Latronica rushed for 67 yards and scored twice. Fullbacks Ben Plocki and Mike Carrigan plowed through the middle for a combined 76 yards.
Two Deer Lakes turnovers helped the Steelers build an early lead.
Farrell's Dan Odem picked up a Deer Lakes fumble and raced 32 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Jake Hartley picked off a Lancers pass at his own 6-yard line, and on Farrell's first play following the interception, Terrell Jackson broke loose and sprinted 89 yards for a 14-0 lead.
"In the past, something like that would have affected us mentally," Fedigan said. "But we were able to put it behind us, stick with the game plan and do what we wanted to do."
Guerrieri's 13-yard touchdown run pulled the Lancers within a touchdown, and a 16-play, 80-yard drive that ate up 8:20 of the third quarter ended with Latronica's 1-yard touchdown plunge to tie it at 14-all.
The winning score came on Latronica's 17-yard keeper, capping a 14-play, 74-yard drive -- all runs -- that consumed 7:21 of the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Vasil recovered a short kick by Latronica at Farrell's 44-yard line with 4:12 remaining. The Lancers rushed for two first downs, effectively putting the game away.
The Steelers were held to 131 total yards and just four first downs.
"The first four weeks of the season were frustrating, but the kids' attitude was great and their work ethic was fantastic," Fedigan said. "They stayed the course and kept their focus. We knew were weren't that far away."