NEPA Sports Nation

Dippre takes 3 routes to end zone

By Tom Robinson,

DUNMORE – Lacota Dippre secured his football future weeks before the start of the season.

That decision has done nothing to reduce the vigor with which the Holy Cross-committed, two-way end has approached each week of his senior season.

If last week’s effort was not the best of his season, then perhaps Friday night was when another strong two-way effort by Dippre was a big reason why Lakeland was able to run over host Dunmore, 55-14, in what had shaped up in advance as a key Lackawanna Football Conference Division 2 game.

“My father (Chris) is always hollering on me, ‘just because you chose your school, it doesn’t mean your high school career is over, you have to still work as hard as you can for your other brothers on the team; for your family’,” Dippre said. “Every day, I buckle this chin strap, I go to work.

“I love it.”

Just don’t ask him, which he loves more – offense or defense?

“You’re going to hate my answer, but I just love football,” he said.

It shows.

When he wasn’t setting up shop in the Dunmore offensive backfield, Dippre was finding three different paths to end zone.

Lining up at the back of a straight I-formation of three running backs stacked behind quarterback Dominico Spataro, Dippre crashed in from the 1 in the final minute of the first quarter to open the scoring.

In the middle of a 42-point third quarter – 28 by the Chiefs, 14 by the Bucks – Dippre caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Spataro.

Dippre capped the scoring – and an incredible stretch in which Lakeland put up 48 points in a span of 16:53 – by returning an interception 74 yards for a touchdown. He picked off the pass in the backfield, where he also had a fumble recovery, two sacks and two pass rushes that forced incompletions.

“We just performed as well as we could,” Dippre said. “Coach P (Dave Piwowarczyk) gave us the plays that we needed and players just took advantage of it.”

None more than Dippre, who a week earlier had a touchdown reception and touchdown run, along with an interception and four tackles for losses in a 42-2 rout of Honesdale.

“He’s really taken it to another level,” Piwowarczyk said. “He’s a kid who’s relentless.

“He had a couple weeks where I wouldn’t say they were down weeks, but he made a few mistakes. He said, ‘I’m going to do better,’ and he has.”

When Dippre is not in the spotlight for Lakeland, which emerged from Friday night as the last unbeaten team in District 2, then Spataro, the quarterback and another two-way standout, is.

Spataro went 10-for-17 for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns passing while carrying 14 times for 67 yards and another score and chipping in with occasional defensive contributions.

Their skillsets combine with the Chiefs’ formidable team speed to pile up the big plays.

Dippre’s long interception return was 1 of 4 Lakeland touchdowns and 6 total plays of at least 58 yards.

Spataro, Kevin Snyder and Evan Pochas each accounted for two.

Spataro found Jon Seamans with a 60-yard touchdown pass and had a 64-yard completion to Snyder to set up a 4-yard Pochas touchdown.

Snyder also had a 75-yard punt return for a score, the middle of three touchdowns by Lakeland in a span of 4:08 after Dunmore had closed the gap to 20-7 on the first play of the second half.

Pochas turned 3 third-quarter carries into 140 yards. He broke off a 75-yard run, leading to the Spataro-to-Dippre touchdown pass, then scored on a 58-yard run to finish with 156 yards on 8 carries.

Lakeland got rolling after Dunmore’s defense stopped it on two of the first three possessions. Domenic DeSando recovered to pick off a pass in the end zone and an Evan Makowski sack helped lead to a punt, keeping Dunmore within 7-0 until the Snyder pass reception and Pochas touchdown with 3:38 left in the half.

“That’s a testament to our team,” Piwowarczyk said. “Once we get our offense rolling and these kids start going, it’s a tough train to stop.”

Christopher Conte got open deep for Dunmore for a 61-yard touchdown pass from Thomas Bowen to open the second half.

Spataro stopped the momentum. He ran 12 yards, passed 29 yards to Dippre on second-and-12, then ran 21 yards for a touchdown just 1:42 later.

Nico Ruggiero added an 8-yard touchdown run for Dunmore during a third quarter in which there was never more than 2:53 between touchdowns.

It was not nearly enough to keep up with Lakeland, which improved to 7-0 while Dallas and Scranton were each suffering their first defeats. The Chiefs also made it to 2-0 for the division, tying Western Wayne for the lead.

The news of the last-unbeaten status was pleasing to Piwowarczyk, but he said the Chiefs can’t pay too much attention to that.

“The kids have really worked hard and really worked for this,” Piwowarczyk said, “but we’re more worried about our next week’s opponent and staying healthy.

“That’s the key to our season.”

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