Lampeter-Strasburg’s football team proved it can take a punch. It can deliver one too.
Shaking off Tyler Angstadt’s 79-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game, the Pioneers pulled together to defeat Cocalico 23-14 in a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Four football game Friday night in Lampeter.
On a night when the late Ryan Smith was inducted into the L-S Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pioneers (2-0 league, 4-1 overall) were as relentless as Smith — who battled cancer to the last — in securing the victory.
Quarterback Trent Wagner completed 10-of-15 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and Carson Coleman rushed 27 times for 86 hard yards and a score to pace the victory. Hunter Hildenbrand caught four passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, a 79-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
Getting the better of the field position game in the first half, the Pioneers put together a three-play, 46-yard possession — capped by Jackson Heeter’s 8-yard TD catch — and a six-play, 38-yard drive — Carson Coleman with 33 of those yards, including a 1-yard TD — to lead 14-7 after a quarter.
The Eagles (1-1, 2-3) couldn’t get untracked in the half and surrendered a safety in the second quarter when Bryce Nash’s fumble rolled into the end zone, covered by the Eagles’ Sam Steffy.
Cocalico figured things out at the half and took a short field 39 yards in six plays, Josh Myer tossing a 21-yard TD to Aaryn Longenecker. But penalties and turnovers were the Eagles’ second-half nemesis. Myer fumbled away at the L-S 28 on one possession. After an L-S turnover, on the next possession, Longenecker’s 21-yard run to the L-S 7 was called back on a holding penalty. The Eagles eventually surrendered the ball on downs.
Hildenbrand’s TD catch broke a series of wandering-in-the-wilderness second-half possessions for the Pioneers.
The holding penalty. With the ball at the 7, down 16-14, the Eagles were in position to turn their fortunes around.
Star of the game
Certainly, the L-S defense. Its first-half efforts made the victory possible. And, Hildenbrand, with the fourth-quarter dagger.
Throw out Angstadt’s touchdown run, the Eagles had just 24 total yards on 22 plays in the first half.
“We thought we could do some things, but they certainly countered it,” Eagles coach Bryan Strohl said of the first-half woes. “They had a solid scheme and we just couldn’t find ways to move the ball like we needed to.”
Hildenbrand on the TD catch: “I went to (Trent) Wagner and told him, ‘Stop and go. Pump fake the Stop and throw the Go as far as you can and let me go get it.’ It was kind of what the words are. It was a perfect time call.”
Cocalico returns home to host Elco next Friday. The Pioneers will travel to Octorara.