SHARON HILL — Academy Park running back Jerry Lanier showed no ill-effects of the shot he took to his ribs two weeks ago.
A bye week can help alleviate the pain.
The county's leading rusher was back to his normal, dominant form Friday night at Knight Park. Lanier rushed for 178 yards and one touchdown to help lead the Knights to a 38-14 throttling of Interboro in the Del Val League opener for both teams.
"No problems,' Lanier said. "I got two bandages on my ribs.'
Everything seemed to hold up quite nicely for the Knights (4-1, 1-0), who avenged last season's District One Class AAA semifinal loss to the Bucs. In that game, the Bucs made adjustments at halftime and rallied from a double-digit deficit to stun the Knights. The Knights lived and learned, showing again why they are considered one of the top-three teams in Delaware County.
Lanier had nothing but positive things to say about the Bucs afterward. There's a mutual respect, which stems from some memorable battles over the last two seasons.
The Knights held a 26-14 advantage at halftime, but after Naim Bey recorded an interception to end the first half, there was sense that Interboro was very much alive, just a few plays away from assuming control. The Knights, a quick-strike high school offense if there ever was one, needed just two plays to extend their lead to 18 points, 58 seconds into the third quarter.
"They're a second-half team and they are dangerous,' he said. "The first half doesn't mean nothing to a football game, you got to come out and play a whole four quarters. One half's not gonna do it. They're a good, good team. They have a power offense, a nice fullback in Sonny (Armstrong). So we knew we had to be focused in that second half.'
While Lanier had another huge performance, this win, more than any other this season for the Knights, was a combined effort. Whether it was defensive end Khyree Thomas making a big play to snuff out an Interboro sweep, or Marlin Jackson gobbling huge chunks of yardage on punt returns, or the groove quarterback Brian Ingram and wide receiver Jamar Dembry had going on, the Knights played a complete game.
"They came at us hard, especially in the second half, but our line and linebackers — Shaun (Green), Tremaine (Lewis), Osman (Toure), Jamar — all of us came out strong,' Thomas said. "We really wanted this win. It was hard, because they beat us our field last year. This was a big win in the Del Val.'
Two weeks ago, the Knights led at halftime against a Pennridge team considered one of the tops dogs in District One Class AAAA. But the Knights flailed in the third and fourth quarters en route to their first loss of the year.
Another lesson that was lived and learned.
"My halftime speech to them was just finish. Finish this game,' coach Jason Vosheski said. "Tonight was the first time we've actually finished a game, both offensively and defensively.'
Ingram isn't your prototype drop back and pass quarterback. He's a threat with both his arm and legs, and displayed his versatility Friday night. On three occasions he hooked up with Dembry for long touchdown passes of 53, 51 and 52 yards. The last TD strike was the proverbial nail in the coffin for the Bucs.
Ingram recorded five touchdowns on the night, including scoring runs of nine and 15 yards. He finished 6-for-11 for 227 yards. Academy Park had 437 yards of offense.
"He's only going to get better as a quarterback,' coach Jason Vosheski said. "He's one of the best athletes on our team if not in the area. Once he starts figuring out — like how he got it tonight — he's going to get better.'
Junior wide receiver Mark Everton had his best game of the year in the losing cause. He grabbed nine Pat Cashin passes and racked up 179 yards. He darted down the sideline on a wide receiver screen 67 yards to the end zone to pull the Bucs within 12 points in the second quarter.
Armstrong churned out 93 yards on nine carries.
Bucs coach Steve Lennox summed up the Bucs' evening this way: "You have to give (Academy Park) credit.'