TROY Justin Van Fleet could have picked any one of the numbers behind Kyle Datres' name from Friday night's box score and hurl superlatives upon them.
There was the 217 yards rushing he could point out. Or his improved passing ability that led to 203 yards. Or he could have picked any of the five touchdowns the sophomore quarterback was responsible for and emphasize just how special an athlete Datres is.
But standing in the glow of the late-night lights at the Alparon Community Park, basking in the fresh scent of a 60-35 win over Troy, the first-year Loyalsock head coach pointed to maybe the most hidden gems of Datres' night: the six extra-points he kicked.
Sure, they're just footnotes in the story of the offensive juggernaut the Lancers were Friday night, but it was the one thing Van Fleet pointed out following the win which got Loyalsock back to .500 at 3-3 and back into the thick of the District 4 Class AA playoff race.
The Lancers have been searching for an answer to their PAT woes all year. Datres was an early-season option, but being so involved in the offense and playing at an all-state caliber level at safety on defense, special teams was an opportunity to get Datres off the field.
Until last night.
"I told him he has to do it," Van Fleet said. "It's been our Achilles heel all year. We had to tinker to try and find someone. I know it's not something he particularly enjoys, but right now we don't have an answer. He's just a special athlete."
Troy never did find an answer to Datres. The only relief came in the fourth quarter when the game was in hand and Datres just began handing the football off to Bobby Oeler (5 carries, 68 yards, touchdown) and Mike Dougherty (10-44, touchdown).
It was welcome relief after Datres helped account for the first five Loyalsock touchdowns. He had scoring runs of 20, 39 and 39 yards. He also had touchdown passes of 39 yards to Phil Krizan and 58 yards to Dougherty.
The touchdown pass to Dougherty was the one that finally gave the Lancers some breathing room on a night where its offense failed to score on just one of its nine possessions. After Josh McClaren kicked his second field goal of the half to cut the Lancers' lead to 28-21 with 23 seconds to go, Van Fleet decided to try for another score after Mickey Haller advanced a squib kick to his own 42-yard line.
Datres threw incomplete on first down on a wheel route the Lancers tried to get multiple times during the night. But on second down, Dougherty streaked down the left seam right past the Trojans' safeties and Datres lofted the football into his hands for a 58-yard scoring strike, and a 34-21 lead at the half.
The catch for Dougherty made up for dropping a sure-fire touchdown on the first play of the night on a wheel route.
"That was one great catch," Datres said. "Once you put your head down, you're done for the game, and he never did that. He told me after he dropped the first pass of the game he was going to make up for it, and he did."
"I told (offensive coordinator) Frank Girardi Jr. I know I'm young and stupid sometimes, but we're going for it," Van Fleet said. "There's not a lot of time, but just go vertical and have some fun. And it worked."
It was the first time all night the Lancers felt a bit of breathing room because of a Troy triple option offense that was tough to defend. After Datres' first touchdown, Troy quarterback Jed Wright (20 carries, 110 yards, TD) set the Trojans up in position for McClaren, a junior, to kick a 48-yard field goal.
Wright had a 57-yard carry on an option keeper on the Trojans' next possession that set up the first of his two touchdown passes. In fact, the only time the Troy offense didn't score in the first half was when McClaren missed on a 52-yard field goal try in the second quarter.
Wright led the Trojans on a 15-play, 80-yard drive to start the third quarter to cut Troy's deficit to a single score. He led a 10-play, 60-yard drive bridging the third and fourth quarters to again cut Loyalsock's lead to a single score.
But each time, Datres and the Lancers were there to answer. First it was Omar Little on a 30-yard jet sweep run for a touchdown. Then it was Datres putting the final touches on securing the win with a 54-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter.
"(Wright) is an exceptional player. No doubt the kid can play the game of football," Van Fleet said. "I know people like lots of flashy stats with passing the ball, but that kid's a football player. He's a magician back there with the football. He's very deceptive in everything. He's deceptively strong, he's deceptively quick and he's deceptively fast. With that combination, it's tough for a defender to cue in on him."
Datres was quick to point out following the game that the Lancers need to avoid having another let-down next week like it did a week ago following a huge win over Mount Carmel. Van Fleet has been trying to change the highs and lows of the season to more of an even-keel approach, and Datres, even fresh off of 420 yards of offense and six total touchdowns was well aware of not getting too high after a big road win.
"We just have to keep this going," Datres said. "After a big win against Mount Carmel, we fell flat against Shikellamy. We can't let that happen again."