By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
HUGHESVILLE — Before kickoff on Friday night at Hughesville, the Lewisburg football team had a lot of questions about itself.
An inexperienced offensive line struggled at the Silver Bowl at week ago and felt a need to redeem itself in a Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game.
"We worked our butts off our all week, we didn’t stop. Hard practices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," right tackle Jamison Bond said. "We got it done. We shored some things up in the line and we got it done."
The Green Dragons ran for 272 yards on the ground, including a career-high 158 yards and three scores from Logan Aikey, as Lewisburg rolled to a 42-7 win over Hughesville.
"Going into this game, that is one of the things that we wanted to do was establish the run game and get more physical up front," Lewisburg coach Jeremy Winn said. "That was key for us. We watched film (after Mount Carmel) and that was the biggest thing we saw. We needed to get more physical up front."
Aikey had carried the ball just five times in the first two games, but broke out in a big way, including a 50-yard run to set up the first Lewisburg touchdown of the second half, along with his three TD runs.
"We weren’t sure what was going to happen (coming into the game). We were just going to see what worked," Aikey said. "Our line did a great job. The blocking was impeccable."
"Logan ran hard tonight and we had great blocking from our offensive line," Winn added. "We got some good work out of our tight end (in the run game) and we moved Luke (Smith) back to the wing and he did a nice job blocking as well."
The teams exchanged punts to open the game, before Lewisburg got on the board first with a 10-play, 55-yard drive, capped by Nick Costagliola’s 8-yard TD pass to Thomas Brouse with 4:26 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
With a steady breeze blowing, Lewisburg (2-1) took a timeout with 16 seconds left in the opening quarter to force the Spartans to punt into the wind from deep in their own territory. The strategy worked perfectly, setting up a short 20-yard field for the Green Dragons to open up a 14-0 lead after Aikey scored on an 11-yard TD run on a fourth-and-two play with 11:13 left in the first half.
Hughesville (0-3) looked to get back into the game late in the second quarter, putting together a six-play, 58-yard drive after Lewisburg failed to convert a fourth-and-seven. Jason Stutzman scored from a yard out with 2:46 left in the second quarter to cut the Lewisburg lead to 14-7.
However, the Green Dragons answered with a seven-play, 60-yard drive before the end of the half, capped by Costagliola’s 19-yard TD pass to Drew Newcomb with 1:47 left in the second quarter.
The Spartans had a chance cut the lead back to seven on the opening drive of the second half, putting together a five-minute drive to the Lewisburg 11, but Aikey recovered a fumble at the Green Dragons’ 22 to end the threat.
That seemed to take the wind out of the Spartans’ sails, as Lewisburg dominated the rest of the game. They drove 78 yards for a touchdown after the fumble with Kyle Palmer scoring from the 5 two plays after Aikey’s 50-yard run.
Then the defense stopped Hughesville on fourth down to set up 52-yard drive that took 11 plays in which Aikey scored from a yard out.
After another Spartans punt, Lewisburg sent the game into the mercy rule with another one-yard Aikey TD run with 7:17 left in the game.