The Hornets rallied to post a huge win and secure a spot in the district playoffs

   The Hornets picked the perfect moment to play their best game of the 2018 season.

Honesdale twice trailed by double digits during its Week 10 Lackawanna Football Conference contest with West Scranton.

However, Coach Mike Jurkowski’s squad simply refused to fold. The local lads battled back each time West threatened to pull away, keeping a big Senior Night crowd on the edge of its seat until the final seconds.

In the end, it was Andy Carroll who played the hero’s role. The lightning-quick tailback turned in yet another brilliant performance, rushing for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in what became an electrifying 41-34 victory.

“I’m so happy for Andy,” Coach Jurkowski said. “He knew what was on the line here tonight and he came up huge.

“This was Andy’s last home game and it could have been his last high school game period. He ran really hard and made one big play after another.”

With the win, Honesdale improved its overall record to 3-7 on the year. The Hornets also leapfrogged two other teams to claim the final spot in the District Two Class 4A playoffs.

The Red & Black will hit the road Friday for a battle with Dallas. Opening kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Leadership

A total of eight veteran players were honored before the game for their hard work and dedication over the last four years.

Cameron Baker, Justin LoBasso, Ethan Dunn, Isiah Sims, Jacob Hodder, Jordan Young, Jacob Kabonick and Carroll combined to celebrate Senior Night with a scintillating win.

“This group is very special to me,” Coach Jurkowski said. “Most of them have been with me since freshman year. To have these kids go out like this means the world to me.”

Carroll was the ringleader as he has been all season. Andy joined the 1,000 Yard Club Friday with an Herculean effort, powering his way to 208 yards and three TDs.

West used its vaunted aerial assault to take an early 14-0 lead, but Carroll was undeterred. Andy scored on runs of 63, 21 and 4 yards in leading the Hornets back from deficits of 14-0 and 21-6.

While Carroll out on quite a show, he received plenty of help from his teammates.

Dunn broke the scoring ice for Honesdale. He fired a 27-yard touchdown pass to LoBasso with 4:51 left in the first period.

Ethan was extremely efficient on this particular night, hitting on 5-of-8 passing attempts, good for 64 yards.

LoBasso was his favorite target. Justin hauled in three of those balls, totaling 51 yards.

“Ethan and Justin did a really good job tonight,” Coach Jurkowski said. “They both worked very hard this year and I’m so happy we were able to get a win for them the last time they played on this field.”

Baker left his mark in this game as well. The senior linebacker led his team in tackles with seven. He also recorded a sack and tallied a pair of touchdowns while playing fullback.

“Cam is just a tough, tough kid,” Coach Jurkowski said. “He never gives up on a play and gives 100 percent every time he steps on the field.”

Under Attack

West Scranton arrived on the scene Friday night ready to unleash its high octane aerial assault.

Senior quarterback Nick Gioia showed off his cannon-like arm early and often, throwing two long touchdown passes in the opening stanza.

Gioia hooked up with Quincey Vassell each time. The first scoring strike covered 69 yards while the second went for an eye-popping 90.

Gioia went 9-of-16 in the night for 316 yards. Vassell caught five of those balls and finished up with 229 yards and three TDs.

West Scranton was also able to mount a solid running game.

Evan McCloe led the way. The junior tailback racked up 113 yards on just 14 carries. He also found his way into the Hornet end zone via a 28-yard scamper with 8:28 remaining in regulation.

Looking Ahead

On Friday night, Honesdale will face a Dallas team that has been nothing short of dominant at times thus fall.

The Mountaineers are coming off a 42-14 rout of Lake Lehman and boast a sparkling 9-1 record. Dallas’ lone loss of the season came in a non-league game at the hands of undefeated Valley View.

Coach Jurkowski doesn’t know a great deal about the Mounties yet, but he’s looking for one thing in particular at districts.

“I just want them to play hard,” he said. “I want them to go out there, give 100 percent and have fun.

“If we can cut down on the turnovers ... eliminate some of the silly mistakes ... then I think we have a real shot at doing some damage.