DUNMORE — After posting back-to-back wins the past two weeks, Honesdale was looking for a signature victory to jumpstart a possible playoff push.
What the Hornets received instead was a serious reality check.
Coach Jim Ludwig's lads hit the road Friday night for a battle with perennial Lackawanna Football Conference powerhouse Dunmore.
The Bucks came into the contest with a 4-1 record and sole possession of first place, while the Hornets were hoping to inject themselves into the Division II title talk.
Honesdale surrendered an early touchdown run, but retaliated quickly, thanks to a dazzling TD connection between quarterback Kevin Miller and wingback Kyle Carney.
Sadly for a big contingent of local fans who made the journey to John Henzes Veterans Memorial Stadium, Dunmore seized control of the game from this point onward. The Bucks piled up 34 points before intermission and cruised to a 41-7 victory.
"They're really big and physical up front and we just didn't match their intensity," Coach Ludwig told TWI Sports. "We did some nice things on both sides of the ball at times, but they overpowere us a little bit at the line of scrimmage."
The Hornets (2-4) will look to rebound from this lopsided loss Friday night when the return home to host Riverside. The Vikings (4-2) will invade the Maple City fresh off a wild 34-27 win over Western Wayne.
Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the HHS Athletic Complex.
On the Turf
Honesdale and Dunmore entered this Week Six contest with wildly differing offensive philosophies.
The Hornets like diversity in their attack, balancing Miller's strong right arm with a healthy dose of Carney's quick feet. On the other hand, the Bucks boast a decades-long tradition of power football. Nothing fancy, just a relentless and physcial running game.
On this particular evening, these two strategies produced a stalemate early on.
Austin Seamon struck the first blow. Dunmore's hard-charging senior tailback broke loose for a 23-yard touchdown run with 9:35 left in the first quarter.
Miller and Carney wasted no time in evening things up. Kevin found Kyle open on a short route that quickly became an electrifying 51-yard TD strike at the 8:01 mark.
When TJ Knash banged home the extra point, the score stood knotted at 7-7.
"Kevin kept that play alive with his feet," Coach Ludwig said. "He always keeps his eyes upfield when he scrambles. Once he got the ball to Kyle, it was a footrace and there aren't many people who can stay with Kyle."
It didn't take long for Dunmore to up the ante, though. Junior quarterback Brandon Kujawski attempted just four passes all night long, but he brought the hometown fans to their feet with a 63-yard connection with senior wideout John Rinaldi.
Page 2 of 2 - After the Bucks' defense shut Honesdale down after the ensuing kickoff, Daiqwon Buckley got into the act. A hard-nosed junior fullback, Buckley rumbled into the Hornets endzone from three yards away. Although the Red & Black blocked the PAT try, Dunmore had seized the lead for good.
Seamon and Buckley proved to be a deadly 1-2 combination on this night. Austin needed only five carries to amass 86 yards. Daiqwon was even more impressive, piling up a game-high 106 yards on 16 attempts.
Buckley pushed Dunmore's advantage to 26-7 early in the second stanza, thanks to a 23-yard TD scamper. Rinaldi then tacked on his second score of the game, this one a 2-yard plunge with just over seven minutes remaining before halftime.
By the Numbers
Trailing by a margin of 34-7, Honesdale tried gamely to stage a rally after intermission.
Miller once again led the charge. The Hornets' junior signal caller completed 17-of-20 passes, good for 180 yards. His favorite target was Alex Evanitsky, who snared five balls for 30 yards.
Pat Hart contributed four catches to the cause, while Jonathan Gillow and Timmy Russell chipped in with three apiece.
Dunmore's defense was the difference, however. The Bucks completely suffocated Honesdale's rushing attack and forcing Miller to scramble for his life on several occasions.
All told, the Red & Black managed just 10 yards rushing on 15 carries as a team. By contrast, Dunmore accrued an eye-popping total of 331 yards on 52 tries (6.4 ypc).
Defensively, Russell enjoyed an outstanding night. The junior strong safety piled up a game-high 16 tackles.
"Timmy did a fantastic job," Coach Ludwig said. "He really came up hard on run support. You don't usually see a defensive back make that many tackles, but Timmy is a tough, tough kid."
Score by Quarters...
HON (2-4) 7 0 0 0 - 7
DUN (5-1) 20 14 0 7 - 41