The Red & Black improved their record to 4-1 during the 2014 Lackawanna Football Conference season
Few local grid fans would have been surprised if Honesdale had struggled in the weeks following a heartbreaking loss to Wallenpaupack Area on Opening Night of the 2014 LFC campaign.
The Hornets left the field that night with stony, tear-streaked faces after Paupack prevailed, 26-20, in a triple overtime epic.
However, Coach Jim Ludwig's lads appear to have used that experience as motivation.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the Red & Black hammered out impressive wins over North Pocono, Mid Valley and Carbondale Area.
On Friday night here in the Maple City, the Hornets made it four consecutive wins with a 34-13 thrashing of Tunkhannock.
“We're definitely making positive strides each week,” said Coach Ludwig. “This team has already come a long way in a short time. The kids are working hard and it shows.”
Honesdale will carry a 4-1 record into its Week Six battle with Dunmore. The Bucks are also 4-1 and coming off a 54-17 rout of Carbondale.
Opening kick-off for this Division II showdown is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Dunmore.
You don't have to look too far for a leader when considering this year's Honesdale football team.
In just his first full season as the varsity signal caller, Josh LoBasso has emerged as one of the area's truly elite quarterbacks.
“Josh is really doing an awesome job,” said Coach Ludwig. “He put in a ton of work during the summer and it's paying off. Josh is a real dual threat out there.”
Even that description may be an understatement as LoBasso can hurt a team in so many ways.
On Friday night against Tunkhannock, Josh was a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare. The senior gunslinger threw for nearly 230 yards and ran for almost 130 more.
After a scoreless opening stanza, LoBasso ignited the Red & Black attack with a pair of touchdown runs. The first came from 19 yards out at the 9:11 mark and the second covered two with only :19 remaining until intermission.
LoBasso unleashed a merciless aerial assault in the second half, firing three scoring salvos.
Josh finished up his night with 10-of-17 completions, good for 224 yards. He also ran for 14 times for 129 yard and two more TDs.
“Josh is bigger, stronger and faster than he was last year,” Coach Ludwig said. “He can take a hit and keep on going.
“What I really like most, though, is how he keeps his cool when things start to break down around him. I can usually count on Josh to make a good decision in the heat of the moment.”
While LoBasso is among the LFC's top quarterbacks, he is also surrounded by a talented group of skill position players.
Tyler Canfield and Julio Galarza both dazzled versus Tunkhannock and each received high marks from Coach Ludwig.
Canfield leads the team in most major receiving categories and he terrorized the Tigers' secondary.
Tyler snared a game-high six passes for 115 yards. The highlight of his night came late in the third period when he and LoBasso hooked up on a 28-yard scoring strike.
He also set up one of LoBasso's touchdown runs with a sensational 54-yarder down to the three.
Through five weeks of action, Canfield has 14 catches for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“Tyler is a tough kid and he's very versatile,” Coach Ludwig said. “He plays on offense, defense and special teams. I think of Tyler as a game-changer, especially as a receiver.”
Galarza also cracked the 100-yard receiving barrier against Tunkhannock.
A multi-sport standout who also excels on the baseball diamond, Julio caught four passes for 110 yards and two TDs.
Galarza snagged a 41-yard strike from LoBasso with 1:42 left in the third quarter, then added a 5-yarder midway through the final stanza.
“Julio has really matured as a football player the past few weeks,” Coach Ludwig said. “He's blocking better, catching the ball well and making big plays when we get it to him.
“When Julio has the ball in his hands, he seems to make things happen.”
Over & Out
Kyle Strokes and Clay Hewlett also earned kudos from Honesdale's skipper.
A junior who didn't play football last fall, Strokes has been pressed into duty at tailback and appears to be answering the call.
On Friday night, Strokes pounded his way to 61 hard-earned yards on 20 carries between the tackles.
“This is Kyle's first real taste of varsity football and I think he's doing a nice job,” said Coach Ludwig.
Hewlett is making his presence felt in all three aspects of the game.
Against Tunkhannock, Clay started at cornerback, played wide receiver on offense and saw time on special teams as well.
“Clay works very hard,” Coach Ludwig said. “He isn't afraid to stick his nose in there, either. He blocks well on the perimeter and comes up strong in run support on defense.”
Score by Quarters...
HON (4-1) 0 13 14 7 - 34
TUN (0-5) 0 0 6 7 - 13