Gigler leads Burrell to second victory
Last year, John Gigler thought about giving up football. His teammates are glad he gave it another try.
Pardon Deer Lakes' football players if they don't feel the same way.
Gigler, a running back and linebacker, scored three touchdowns -- including a 35-yard interception return -- to help Burrell coast by Deer Lakes, 42-6, Friday night in a Class AA Allegheny Conference game at Lancer Stadium in West Deer.
Unlike last year, when Deer Lakes rallied for two scores in the final four minutes to win, 21-20, Burrell (2-0, 2-0) made sure there was no comeback.
Spurred by defensive coordinator Ray "Whizzer" White's unit, the Bucs stifled the Lancers' running game, forced five turnovers and didn't allow a score until a 1-yard run by Cody Fleming with 2:36 left -- the first touchdown the Bucs have allowed in two games.
Buccaneers senior Jesse Burton also returned an interception 20 yards for a score with 2:16 left in the third quarter.
"Our defensive coaches are doing a great job," Burrell coach Tom Henderson said. "The kids are playing hard and believing. Deer Lakes has a lot of weapons. I was a nervous wreck tonight."
Burrell has outscored the opposition, 105-6.
"It makes life a lot easier when you play defense like that," Henderson said.
Deer Lakes (1-1, 1-1), plagued by penalties and turnovers, got 48 late rushing yards from Fleming.
Lancers quarterback Geoff Landry was 9 for 19 for 124 yards and three interceptions.
"Burrell gets outside and downhill so fast on you," Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett said. "You can't hesitate and try to shake and bake moves on them.
"We just couldn't string anything together and penalties killed us."
Burrell took a 21-0 lead into halftime, boosted by Gigler's interception return.
Gigler added scoring runs of 2 and 4 yards in the third and the Bucs pushed the lead to 42-0.
"John is having fun out there," Henderson said. "He's running around and enjoying the game again."
Burrell quarterback Camren Nelson had a stellar night. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for an 11-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
He was Burrell's top rusher with 54 yards on eight carries.
Burrell standout wide receiver Dave Yakopec had a big game against a smaller secondary, snaring six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown, all in the first half.
Chris Linden also had an interception for the Bucs. Deer Lakes' Mark Wesolek also picked off a pass.
Burrell's Colten Staley picked up a fumble in the third and ran it back 45 yards to set up Gigler's 4-yard run. Jon Novak also scooped up a fumble for the Bucs late in the third, with the mercy rule in effect.
"The kids set a goal to pitch a shutout," Henderson said. "Against an offense like Deer Lakes', we didn't think that was going to happen."
Burrell plays host to Summit Academy next Friday, while Deer Lakes travels to Ford City.