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GAMEFACE GAME OF THE WEEK: Lakeland At Riverside

September 7, 2018

It’s the third week of the season and two teams from the same division have turned their fortunes. Lakeland, 5-6 in 2017, and Riverside, 2-8 a year ago, enter their battle tonight with 2-0 records as they open the LFC Division III schedule. “It’s been a great start and last season we really didn’t have too many games of this magnitude,” Lakeland senior linebacker James Lewis said. “It’s pretty good to have people excited about Lakeland football again.” Lakeland started the season with a 6-0 win over Honesdale and added a 34-13 win over Old Forge, which entered as a state-ranked Class 1A team and as the defending District 2 Class 1A champion. The Chiefs have shown improvement on defense where last season they yielded 308.3 yards per game. In the first two games, Lakeland has limited opponents to 1.9 yards per carry and 136 yards per game. Linebacker Garrett Korner-usher is coming off a 10-tackle game where he had three stops for loss. Lewis is second on the team with 14 tackles. “Obviously, they are a very good football team,” Riverside sophomore quarterback Johnny Gilchrist said. “We are looking forward to the challenge. There is going to be a great home crowd and it’s going to be a really great game.” The Chiefs use a power running game and a big-play passing attack. Sophomore Giovanni Spataro has 241 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback CJ Dippre has 127 yards passing on seven completions and Thomas Pidgeon is averaging 20 yards per reception. Riverside is under the guidance of coach Harry Armstrong, who is back for his second stint. The Vikings went overtime to defeat Meyers, 27-21, in Week 1 and then used a second-half surge to put away Carbondale Area, 35-14. Armstrong, who designed and implemented a wide-open offense that helped Riverside set scoring records in his first stay, has the Vikings moving the ball. In the first two weeks, Riverside is averaging 321 yards per game, an increase from 239.2 in 2017. Gilchrist is second in the LFC with 307 yards passing with four touchdowns. Junior Kristian Pon has 207 yards rushing and is averaging more than 10 yards per carry. “Their offense is a lot different than anything we have seen so far this season,” Lewis said. “Their quarterback is really good and has a quick release. Their running back is good, too. “Everything for us starts with our d-line and our linebackers have to make sure tackles and if they are passing, we really have to rally around the ball.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

7-Garrett Korner-Usher Lakeland, LB A senior who missed last season because of injuries sustained in an auto accident, he had double-digit tackles last week against Old Forge. 9-Michael Moran Riverside, RB Senior who had 28 yards receiving and a touchdown, and added 28 yards rushing last week in a win over Carbondale Area.

Scouting Report

LAKELAND is a more physical team after an offseason of intense weight lifting and with several players competing in track and field. In two games, the defense yielded 56.5 yards rushing per game. Giovanni Spataro has run behind a line that has created running lanes and had 143 yards last week against Old Forge. Sophomore QB CJ Dippre can hurt a defense with his arm and his powerful running.

RIVERSIDE is off to a good start with head coach Harry Armstrong increasing the energy within the program. They’ve already equaled last season’s win total. Sophomore QB Johnny Gilchrist has 307 yards passing and four touchdowns. On defense, Maverick Meredick and Diego Rojas have interceptions this season.

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