BLOSSBURG - Winning a football game takes skill, determination and good fortune. Loyalsock had all three in spades Friday night, as they topped North Penn, 42-20, on the road in the season opener.
The Lancers started Friday's contest with a bit of good luck, when North Penn's Bryce Zaparzynski coughed up the ball on their first play from scrimmage, turning the ball over to Loyalsock before any momentum could be established.
Loyalsock wasted no time capitalizing on the mistake, taking just two offensive plays to score their first touchdown of the game, following a 35-yard pass from Kyle Datres to wide receiver Phillip Krizan.
Having knocked the air out of North Penn's defense early, Loyalsock kept things rolling throughout the first quarter. In their second appearance on-field, the Lancer offense strung together an 11-play, 30-yard drive that was capped with a touchdown from fullback Robbie Newton.
"They went up 14-0 in the blink of an eye, and we can't afford to do that against a good football team," North Penn's head coach Tom Dickinson said. "But are they that much better than us? I don't think so.
"We just weren't prepared from the start, and that's my fault."
The biggest problem the Loyalsock offense posed for the North Penn was in the passing game. Kyle Datres played an amazing game for the Lancers, completing 21 of his 30 passes while accumulating 230 yards.
"In this type of an environment where we had a lot of cushion - we felt that we could get a lot of things out of the pass. We knew our pass protection would be sound, and we could rely on that in a lot of ways," said Loyalsock head coach Justin Van Fleet.
However, the most impressive about Datres' performance was that he did it without practicing many passes in the preseason, due to an injury he received this summer that kept him from throwing the ball until this week.
"This is the first he has been able to throw the entire preseason," Van Fleet said. So we knew we wanted to get him a lot of reps to get his arm warmed up and get him game-ready."
Datres' favorite target on the evening was wide reviever Philip Krizan, who caught seven passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. But Datres also did a good job facilitating the ball to his other weapons, as eight different Lancers caught passes in this one.
Along with their stringent pass game, Loyalsock also showed they have what it takes on the ground. Five Lancer running backs split the load for Sock, as they rushed the ball 40 times, scoring four touchdowns, and raking-up more than 207 yards along the way.
Despite their great performance, Van Fleet feels that his team still has a lot of work to do heading into next week's game with Danville.
"They beat us pretty good last year, and our kids have really been preparing for them.
"There are a lot of things we did positive, but the important thing is to try to improve on every aspect of our game," he said.