Deer Lakes loses close contest to Charleroi
Moments after Charleroi ended four weeks of futility with a 21-13 nonconference win over Deer Lakes, the bell beyond the end zone at Charleroi Stadium rang long and loud.
Afterward, Charleroi coach Ed Jenkins said he was among the people who rang the bell.
“You know I did,” Jenkins said. “It was a long time coming, and it sure felt good. We had some tough times, and these kids didn't quit. They came out to work this week, and their hard work paid off.”
Things didn't start well for the Cougars (1-4). Deer Lakes (0-5) drove 62 yards on the opening drive and took a 7-0 lead when Josh Plocki hit Brandon Newmaster with a 36-yard scoring strike.
Charleroi didn't take long to respond. Dakota Moorer returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to knot the score.
It was the beginning of a productive night for Moorer. The Charleroi senior caught seven passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. He also returned three kickoffs for 153 yards and two punts for 59 yards. He had an interception nullified by a penalty.
“Dakota did it all tonight, and the kid battles through so much to do what he does for us,” Jenkins said. “He was amazing, and really, that's kind of what he does for us all of the time. He is a bright spot.”
Things didn't go as well for Plocki, Deer Lakes' top offensive threat. The Lancers' quarterback took a hard hit in the third quarter and did not return.
“He's a warrior, but he had concussion-like symptoms,” Deer Lakes coach T.J. Wiley said of Plocki. “Losing him hurt us. He wanted to go back in. But this is one game, and Josh Plocki has a long life to live. It wasn't worth putting him back in.”
Trailing 21-7, Deer Lakes pulled within 21-13 in the fourth quarter. Hunter Burns dived across the goal line for a 1-yard TD with 7:04 to play. The score capped a 17-play, 74-yard drive.
The Lancers had one last chance to at least force a tie, but their final drive stalled near midfield in the final minute.
Burns had 101 yards on 20 carries. Plocki completed 4 of 8 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown, and he also rushed for 41 yards on eight carries.
Matthews completed 9 of 19 passes for 169 yards for Charleroi.
Jeff Oliver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.