By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
Dominico Spataro consistently providing running and passing to the Lakeland offense Friday night.
And, when the Chiefs needed it most, Spataro took away the Lackawanna Trail running and passing game.
The well-rounded effort by the junior led Lakeland to a 27-14 road victory in a non-league meeting between Small School teams ranked in the Gaughan Auto Store Super Six Power Rankings on NEPAFootball.com.
Both Lackawanna Football Conference teams had won their openers. Lakeland, the defending LFC Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A champion, came in ranked fifth in the Super Six, which rates LFC and Wyoming Valley Conference teams. Lackawanna Trail was sixth.
Spataro did a little bit of everything.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound quarterback/free safety was 13-for-22 for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns passing while carrying 12 times for a team-high 68 yards and 2 more scores.
Spataro’s two second-quarter rushing touchdowns gave Lakeland a 21-7 halftime lead.
When Lackawanna Trail moved into Lakeland territory two plays into the second half, Spataro came up with an interception at the 12 and returned it 41 yards to set up the last Lakeland touchdown.
Before the third quarter was over, Spataro and Evan Pochas combined to stop the Lions for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
Spataro’s efforts helped Lakeland overcome a 258-yard rushing effort by Lackawanna Trail.
Lions sophomore fullback Hunter Patterson ran for 124 yards and a touchdown with all but 2 of his 14 carries coming in the first half.
The teams combined to march for touchdowns on the first three drives of the game.
Lakeland went 69 yards in 8 plays with the opening kickoff. Spataro was 3-for-3 for 48 yards on the drive.
The Chiefs were forced into fourth-and-seven at the 27, but Spataro found Kevin Snyder deep down the left side. Snyder then lunged forward, reaching the end zone just inside the corner flag for the first touchdown.
Lackawanna Trail came back to tie the game with a nine-play, 66-yard drive in which it converted third-and-six, then scored on Patterson’s 12-yard run off the right side on third-and-seven.
Lakeland broke the tie after Snyder faked a reverse and returned the kickoff 50 yards to set up the next score.
Spataro was 2-for-2 for 12 yards passing and carried 4 times for 24 yards in the drive that continued into the second play of the second quarter. He scored on a 4-yard run to put the Chiefs ahead to stay.
Lakeland held on downs at its 28, then took over in Lackawanna Trail territory on a fumble to add to its lead midway through the quarter.
Spataro scrambled for a 28-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-nine to make it 21-7 at halftime.
After his third-quarter interception, Spataro kept it simple. He hit three shovel passes in the backfield for 46 yards on the ensuing drive. On third-and-six, Jon Seamans took one of the shovel passes 19 yards and got to the left corner for the final Lakeland touchdown.
The Chiefs held on downs at their 2 and 29 while protecting the 20-point lead.
Lackawanna Trail did not score again until the final two minutes when Kody Cresswell went in from the 3 to complete a 70-yard drive in which he carried 4 times for 46 yards.
Spataro is off to a big start this season. In last week’s 41-12 romp over Lake-Lehman in a rematch of last season’s district championship game, Spataro was 10-for-18 for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns passing and ran 6 times for 37 more yards and another touchdown.
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