After a seesaw battle, the Pioneers were able to edge the Buckskins, 35-26 on Friday, September 16, 2016. Video by John Buffone
LAMPETER TWP. — Following his Pioneers’ 35-26 victory over neighboring rival Conestoga Valley, Lampeter-Strasburg coach John Manion was initially at a loss to explain how his team was able to perform as well as it did in upending a talented Buckskins’ squad that was coming off a dominant performance only one week ago.
The short answer, however, was that his players made plays.
“I think none of this could have happened without our line,” said Pioneers’ fullback Shane Lawler, who rushed for a game-high 170 yards on 27 carries. “Our line was fantastic tonight, opening holes up everywhere. It was fantastic, and a great team effort.”
Good things started, per usual, with a defense that held Conestoga Valley (2-1) to several early three-and-outs to set up short scoring drives in the first half. It ended with the defense of the Pioneers (3-0) making drive-altering plays late in the fourth quarter to hold down the lead.
Gabe Frederick’s tackle of Buckskins’ receiver Jose Barbon at the one-yard line on a two-point conversion try, preserving the two-score advantage, for instance. Then consider Damian Rosa’s back-to-back sacks of CV quarterback Grant Stoltzfus inside the Pioneers’ 30-yard line with under two minutes to play, forcing a fumble on fourth down to hand the ball back to the offense one last time.
There was also L-S senior Chad Gaudino, who contributed all game long on offense, defense, and special teams, giving everything he had. No different than any of his teammates were doing.
“I’m pretty exhausted,” Gaudino said, referencing his tiresome effort on defense. “I was getting pretty banged up toward the end of the game but I knew I had to stay in there because I just had to keep covering Jose. He’s definitely the greatest receiver I’ve ever covered. I did stay in there for that to make sure we pulled out this win.
“(CV’s) was definitely not an easy offense to stop. We got the job done. It wasn’t pretty but we got the job done.”
Conestoga Valley got things started on Connor Brinton’s 34-yard burst on an option pitch for a 7-0 first quarter lead.
Lawler and backfield teammate Cam Niemeyer (11-71, two TDs) then tallied a touchdown run apiece before a 21-yard pass from Stoltzfus (14-28, 167 yards, 2 TDs) to Gavin Horning tied the score at the half, 14-all. Despite dominating statistically, three L-S turnovers including Eric Graff’s interception kept CV in the ball game to that point.
Defenders Xavier Lopez and Terrence Dunkley, meanwhile, started keying on Lawler up the middle after the half. No problem for L-S, however, as the Pioneers’ answered Stoltzfus’ 66-yard pass to Barbon — the majority of those yards coming after the catch, for a 20-14 Bucks’ lead less than a minute into the third quarter — with Niemeyer’s 11-yard scamper and Lawler’s nine-yarder before the third-quarter clock ran out.
L-S essentially put the game away with a 14-play, 68-yard drive that nearly totaled seven minutes off the clock. The drive ended on Todd Shelley’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Connor Rank on third-and-ten, giving L-S a 35-20 lead.
“It was fantastic,” Lawler said of the drive. “I don’t know how else to describe it. It was the whole team just pulling together, all eleven guys making it possible.”
In all, L-S ran 73 plays and had 23 first downs, compared to just 47 plays and eight first downs for Conestoga Valley.
Brinton (11-116) added an incredible 64-yard touchdown with 5:05 to play on what appeared to be the same option run as in the first quarter. Brinton leapt one would-be tackler before out-racing the Pioneers’ defense to cut the lead to nine. But that was as close as CV would get to ending the Pioneers’ six-year run owning the Lampeter Bowl title.
Titles which include a trophy, this one held proudly by Gaudino after the game.
“I forgot we get the trophy, I was so focused on the game,” said Gaudino. “A lot of my best friends go to CV. I definitely wanted to win this game more just because having so many good friends on the other side.”
_ Q1 _ Q2 _ Q3 _ Q4 _ — _ FINAL
CV _ 07 _ 07 _ 06 _ 06 _ — _ 26
LS _ 00 _ 14 _ 14 _ 07 _ — _ 35
CV, C. Brinton 34-yd run (T. Orner kick), 5:26
LS, C. Niemeyer 4-yd run (P. Denlinger kick), 7-7, 11:37
LS, S. Lawler 8-yd run (P. Denlinger kick), 7-14, 9:10
CV, G. Horning 21-yd pass from G. Stoltzfus (T. Orner kick), 14-14, 5:51
CV, J. Barbon 66-yd pass from G. Stoltzfus (kick failed), 11:06
LS, C. Niemeyer 11-yd run (P. Denlinger kick), 7:28
LS, S. Lawler 9-yd run (P. Denlinger kick), 3:19
LS, C. Ranck 25-yd pass from T. Shelley (P. Denlinger kick), 6:18
CV, C. Brinton 64-yd run (pass failed), 5:05
FIRST DOWNS 8 23
RUSHES / YARDS 16-123 54-287
COMP / ATT / INT 14-28-0 9-19-2
PASSING YARDS 167 125
TOTAL YARDS 278 412
SACKED / YDS LOST 3-12 0-0
PUNTS / AVG 8-26.5 3-34.3
FUMBLES / LOST 1-0 1-1
PENALTIES / YARDS 6-35 5-42
RUSHING — CV, C. Brinton 11-116, J. Stokes 2-2, J. Barbon 2-5, G. Stoltzfus 1-0. LS, S. Lawler 27-170, C. Niemeyer 11-71, T. Shelley 6-20, C. Lopez 4-15, D. Smith 2-10, C. Gaudino 1-3, N. Kreider 1-2, J. Edwards 2-(-4).
PASSING — CV, G. Stoltzfus 14-28-0-167. LS, T. Shelley 7-14-1-91, J. Edwards 2-5-1-34.
RECEIVING — CV, J. Barbon 10-142, G. Horning 2-22, Z. Mowrer 1-3, C. Brinton 1-0. LS, C. Gaudino 4-62, S. Lawler 2-23, C. Ranck 1-25, C. Lopez 1-7, B. Cardwell 1-8.