By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
TURBOTVILLE — There were two very simple reasons that Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn wanted to take the ball with the Green Dragons winning the toss before Friday night’s kickoff with Warrior Run in a Heartland Athletic Conference-inter divisional matchup.
“I was afraid we might have a let down after last week’s loss (a 27-20 setback to undefeated Montoursville), but we came out focused and played to our capabilities,” Winn said. “We haven’t scored on our first drive all year and we wanted to make sure to do that and not give them a chance to build any momentum.”
The Green Dragons scored on their first two possessions, netting 296 yards on the ground, while quarterback Nick Costagliola threw three touchdown passes in a 49-0 win over the Defenders.
Lewisburg (5-2) wanted to establish its running game against the Defenders, especially after running for just 21 yards last week. The 296 yards is a season-high for the Green Dragons, besting the 272 yards they had against Hughesville in Week 3.
“(The running game) was the focus of what we saw on film and what we wanted to do (tonight),” Winn said. “It was a good job by our offensive line and our running backs ran hard.”
Lewisburg wasted little time getting on the board as Drew Newcomb 26-yard kickoff return set the Green Dragons’ seven-play, 49-yard drive. Kyle Palmer punched it from a yard out with 8:39 left in the first quarter and Max Reed hit the first of his seven extra-point kicks of the evening to give Lewisburg a 7-0 lead.
The Green Dragons made it 14-0 on their second possession with another 49-yard drive. After Newcomb’s 20-yard run on the first play of the drive, Lewisburg faced a fourth-and-eight from the Warrior Run 27. Costagliola threw the first of his touchdown passes, rolling to his left and hitting Luke Smith for scoring strike with 4:17 left in the first quarter.
The teams exchanged punts, before Lewisburg 21-0 with 5:15 left in the second quarter. Lewisburg marched 62 yards in 10 plays, capped by Aikey’s 28-yard catch-and-run off a screen, keyed by 6-foot-5, 260-pound tackle Reese Persing blocking out front, for the touchdown.
The Green Dragons were to get one more touchdown before halftime. Aikey (13 carries, 93 yards) capped a five-play, 53-yard drive with a one-yard TD plunge with 45 seconds left in the first half. All five plays came on the ground for Lewisburg.
Lewisburg’s defense was just as relentless as its offensive in the victory. The Green Dragons’ limited the Defenders (0-7) to just 88 yards of offense, 30 of which came on one pass play in the first half. Lewisburg forced two more turnovers, giving them 22 on the season. Newcomb picked off his eighth pass of the season.
Smith’s fumble recovery on Warrior Run’s opening drive of the second half set up the next Lewisburg touchdown. Costagliola was looking for Aikey on a second-and-15 play, but the ball hit off his hands, right to Ben Frankel, who went 20-yards for the touchdown and a 35-0 lead with 9:18 left in the third quarter.
Trent Henger completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Matt Fedorjaka with 3:26 left in the third quarter and Cyrus Perez had a nifty 32-yard touchdown run, including a reversal of field, with 11:12 left in the game to account for the other Green Dragon touchdowns.