Nick Hessling paced a potent ground attack Friday night, leading Honesdale to its biggest win yet under second year coach Jim Ludwig. The senior fullback rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns in carrying the Hornets to a 20-19 win over Lakeland.
The Hornets used a powerful ground game Friday night to orchestrate one of the biggest upsets of the 2011 Lackawanna Football Conference season.
Senior fullback Nick Hessling led the way, rumbling his way to 91 hard-earned yards and a pair of touchdowns as Honesdale dealt Lakeland a stunning 20-19 loss.
"The offensive line did an awesome job tonight, but Nick just carried us," Coach Jim Ludwig told TWI Sports just moments after the victory. "He ran really hard. Nick was our horse out there and we rode him to a win."
Despite Hessling's outstanding effort, Lakeland came within a whisker of rallying for a last second victory. This time, it was Honesdale's young defense that stepped up.
The Hornets surrendered a TD with less than a minute remaining in regulation. However, the Chiefs were stuffed on the 2-point conversion try and then failed to recover the ensuing onside kick.
"I'm ecstatic!" Coach Ludwig exclaimed. "These kids have worked so hard for so long, I'm just really happy they have something to show for it."
With this electrifying home win, Honesdale improved its record to 2-6 on the season.
The Hornets will try to make it two straight wins Friday night when cross-county rival Western Waye comes calling. Opening kick-off for this Division II showdown is slated for 7:00 p.m. at the HHS Complex.
Hessling turned out to be the key to unlocking an erratic Hornets offense.
All season long, the Red &?Black have shown flashes of brilliance...thanks in large part to the play of sophomores Kevin Miller and Kyle Carney. On Friday night, though, Honesdale looked to its veteran leader for inspiration early on.
Hessling carried the ball on a variety of quick traps, power plays, dives and misdirections. By sheer strength and force of will, Nick knocked the Chiefs back on their heels and opened up many other running and passing lanes.
The pile-driving fullback capped Honesdale’s initial scoring drive with a 2-yard TD run over left guard. JB?Pahls banged home the PAT and, with 2:31 left in the first quarter, the Hornets had a 7-0 lead.
The Hornets doubled that advantage midway through the second period when Maleik Torres scampered in from three yards out. Torres also set up the TD with a scintillating 24-yard pass reception.
Hessling rounded out the Red & Black scoring on a 10-yard TD run with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
Miller was ruthlessly efficient in the pocket, completing 4-of-7 attempts for a total of 64 yards. Kevin also scrambled for 51 yards on 11 tries.
Carney carried the ball eight times for 43 yards and caught two passes.
Defensively, Nick Maritato and Chavez Lill each turned in a stellar outing.Maritato killed off a Lakeland drive with a fumble recovery and added six solo tackles. Lill, a senior DB, led the entire Hornet defense with 12 tackles.
Drew Dirlam added a key fumble recovery.
Score by Quarters...
HON (2-6) 7 7 6 0 - 20
LAK (4-4) 0 6 0 13 - 19