The Hornets opened up their 2017 LFC season in style
It didn't take long for the Hornets to begin erasing the memories of a dismal 2016 varsity football campaign.
On Friday night before a big, enthusiastic home crowd, Honesdale shook off a couple of early mistakes en route to a dominating Week One performance.
Coach Mike Jurkowski's lads erupted for 31 points in the middle two stanzas, then cruised to a 38-8 win over Wilkes Barre GAR.
“I'm proud of each and every one of these kids,” he said just moments after the final gun sounded. “They all worked their tails off and it shows. These kids just did not want to lose anymore and I'm so happy for them. They deserve this.”
Honesdale struggled to an 0-10 record last fall, losing by an average margin of 42-7. However, the Hornets appear to have turned the page on that story.
The local lads simply overpowered GAR at the line of scrimmage. They ran the ball at will and, after a few early hiccups, completely shut down the Grenadiers' high-octane offense.
Beau Freiermuth, Andy Carroll, Garyn Barnes and Ethan Dunn paced a Red & Black attack that had GAR back on its heels all night.
“This was a great win for the program,” said Coach Jurkowski. “I couldn't be happier for my players, for my coaches and for all of our fans.”
Honesdale will look to make it two wins in a row for the first time since 2014 this coming weekend.
The Hornets will face a powerful Scranton High team fresh off a wild 58-48 win over Valley West.
Opening kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. Friday night here in the Maple City.
On the Attack
Honesdale wasted no time unveiling its brand new offense against GAR.
The Hornets took the opening kick-off, marched right down the field and appeared ready to score.
However, an untimely fumble de-railed the drive and gave the Grenadiers possession inside their own 10-yardline.
The teams then exchanged punts before Honesdale got its ground game going again … and, this time there would be no denying the Hornets.
Carroll capped this first scoring drive of the season, plowing his way into the endzone from a yard out. Moments later, Robbie Campen tacked on the PAT and with 10:32 remaining in the half, Honesdale had itself a 7-0 lead.
To their credit, the Grenadiers came roaring right back. Quarterback Tashawn Qualls hit wide receiver Malachai Williams in stride for a 61-yard touchdown strike.
The Hornets didn't blink, though, and Dunn led them right back down the field for another score.
This time, Ethan did the honors himself. The scrappy young signal caller rolled right, couldn't find an open receiver, and scrambled in for the TD.
Campen drilled his second extra point, giving Honesdale a 14-8 lead it would never relinquish.
Robbie split the uprights with a 32-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, giving the Hornets a 17-7 halftime lead.
On the Ground
Honesdale's offensive line lived up to all the pre-season hype on Opening Night.
The combination of Kenny Huber (RT), Jake Kabonick (RG), Jacob Hodder (C), Alex Atcavage (RG) and Walker Carney (RT) opened huge holes for a trio of powerful backs.
“A ton of credit has to go to that offensive line because they moved people out of the way all game long,” Coach Jurkowski said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but this was a very good first step.”
Carroll powered his way to a game-high 128 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries
“Andy experienced a little bit of early adversity, but he worked his way through it,” said Coach Jurkowski. “Andy is a big, strong kid and he played a fantastic game.”
Freiermuth turned in an outstanding all round effort, excelling on offense, defense and special teams.
He closed out his evening with 115 yards rushing on just 13 attempts. His biggest run of the game came early in the fourth quarter, a 39-yard TD rumble.
“Beau was a huge key to our victory tonight,” Coach Jurkowski said. “I don't know that he ever stepped off the field. Beau was hitting hard on defense and when he carried the ball, he just didn't want to go down. They had a heck of a time trying to tackle him.”
Barnes also enjoyed a solid night, grinding out 47 yards and scoring from seven yards out in the third quarter.
All told, Honesdale piled up more than 350 yards of offense, while holding GAR to 113 … all of it through the air.
Score by Quarters...
GAR (0-1) 0 8 0 0 - 8
HON (1-0) 0 17 14 8 - 38