Northwest Routs Holy Cross

September 15, 2018

SHICKSHINNY — Holy Cross scored the first touchdown on Northwest football’s new turf. Most of the milestones that followed belonged to Northwest’s David Piestrak. The senior quarterback scored six times in the upgraded stadium’s inaugural game Friday night. Piestrak ran for three touchdowns, passed for another two and even turned a tricky punt return into six points as the Rangers earned their first victory of the season in blowout fashion, 48-6, over the Crusaders. Piestrak completed 9 of 17 passes for 144 yards, and he ran five times for 61 yards — including touchdown runs of 30 and 27 yards. Classmate Connor Hazlet was his top target with six receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown; sophomore Ryan Wassel also scored on a 15-yard catch-and-run. “He checked out of a number of plays tonight that he didn’t like at the line of scrimmage. David’s one of my all-time favorites,” coach Lon Hazlet said. “The kid’s a warrior. He works hard. “He was very disappointed to open the season the way we have, and he responded tonight with a typical Dave Piestrak performance.” Before Piestrak could do much at all, Holy Cross (2-2) threatened to shock another team as its surprising start continued. The Crusaders snapped a lengthy losing streak with two straight wins to open the season and had an equally hot start to this game. Crusaders quarterback Jake Wiercinski’s first two passes were deep post patterns to Justin Walker, which went for 60 yards on the first snap of the game and then 36 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead. But those two deep balls ultimately made up nearly half of the Crusaders’ entire offensive production. Wiercinski’s next look to Walker on a similar play was nearly intercepted, and Holy Cross made most of its progress on the ground the rest of the way. Jeremy Fick led the Crusaders with 65 yards on 22 rushes; Wiercinski added 30 yards on 15 carries. Meanwhile, the Rangers (1-3) got better as the game went on, and they scored touchdowns on six of their final seven offensive drives, excluding a one-play possession that ended the game. “We hope it helps them a lot. We’ve got a lot of season left to play,” coach Hazlet said. “Nobody wants to open 0-3, and we got beat up a couple times. But we’ve got good kids that come from good families here, and we keep telling them there’s a lot of football left to be played.” George May (seven carries, 56 yards) rumbled for 25 yards to set up Piestrak’s go-ahead quarterback sneak. Early in the second quarter, Piestrak made it a 14-6 lead when he had to turn around to track down a bouncing punt. It wasn’t the best start, but he swung around to the right sideline, reversed field and hit the jets to get by the last two Crusaders in his way for a 68-yard return. Piestrak made the right call soon after when he faked a hand-off to the right and took an option keeper around the left untouched for a 30-yard score. Tyler Stevens’ 3-yard TD rush made it 28-6 by halftime. After the break, Piestrak threw his two touchdowns and ran for one more. “We still didn’t come out of the game real well and play real great in the beginning, but we were more physical than we have been,” said coach Hazlet, who noted his team scaled back its playbook and focused on fundamentals this week. “That’s a step in the right direction for us.” Contact the writer: eshultz@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2054; @CVEricShultz on Twitter

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