GAME OF THE WEEK

LACK­AWANNA TRAIL (7-3) AT NORTH­WEST (7-3)

Gameface - - GAME OF THE WEEK - COM­PILED BY STEVE BEN­NETT / STAFF WRITER

WHEN

7, tonight

WHERE

Lewis & Miller Sta­dium, Shick­shinny

TOUR­NA­MENT

Dis­trict 2 Class A cham­pi­onship

UP NEXT

Win­ner plays ei­ther Delco Chris­tian or Jenk­in­town in the Dis­trict 1-2 sub­re­gional cham­pi­onship game.

LAST PLAY­OFF AP­PEAR­ANCE

Lack­awanna Trail lost to Old Forge in 2015 Dis­trict 2 Class A cham­pi­onship game. North­west lost to Dun­more in the first round of 2015 Dis­trict 2 Class 2A play­offs.

LAST MEET­ING

Lack­awanna Trail 35, North­west 19 (Week 4, 2016)

SERIES HIS­TORY

Lack­awanna Trail leads 10-3

LAST WEEK

Lack­awanna Trail 35, Mon­trose 11 North­west 49, Tunkhan­nock 35

SCOUT­ING RE­PORT

For just the se­cond time this sea­son North­west will play a team in its own clas­si­fi­ca­tion. And for the se­cond time this sea­son, that op­po­nent is Lack­awanna Trail.

In the first meet­ing, Lack­awanna Trail raced out to a 28-13 lead at the half. The Lions rolled up 454 yards of to­tal of­fense, with 294 com­ing on the ground.

Thomas Huff­smith ran for 170 yards and two touch­downs, with 163 yards and the two scores com­ing in the first half.

Since the first meet­ing, which at the time dropped North­west to 1-3, the Rangers have put to­gether six con­sec­u­tive wins. Of those six wins, three could have gone ei­ther way. North­west won one game by six points, an­other by three and needed a blocked field goal at­tempt as time ex­pired to beat Mey­ers by one.

Lack­awanna Trail went 4-1 in the se­cond half of the year with the only loss com­ing to River­side, 21-18.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Don’t be­lieve ev­ery­thing you see

The key to the Wing-T of­fense is the guards. North­west needs to be ready for a lot of mis­di­rec­tion. The guys in the back­field will look to de­ceive the de­fense. The of­fen­sive line­men know which way the play is go­ing. If North­west gets caught look­ing in the back­field too much, ad­van­tage Lack­awanna Trail.

2. It is all right to Judge

North­west’s Ezra Judge is the team’s big play maker. He can make the big catch and make the de­fender miss. He can also run the ball when called upon. Don’t be sur­prised to see Judge get in­volved early, with the hopes of be­ing able to open things up for the run­ning game.

3. Be phys­i­cal, but be smart

The big­gest key for the Rangers will be to play a phys­i­cal style of foot­ball. They can’t let the Lions push them around. Play­ing phys­i­cal is one thing, play­ing phys­i­cal and stupid is an­other. That means no costly penal­ties that can help change the field po­si­tion game in Lack­awanna Trail’s fa­vor. The more phys­i­cal the of­fen­sive line plays, the bet­ter it will be for Jake An­der­son to run the ball.

PRE­DIC­TION

This is a far dif­fer­ent North­west team play­ing in Week 11 than it was in Week 4, the last time these two teams squared off.

The Rangers may not have the most tal­ented team in the WVC, but they are one of the most fun­da­men­tally sound teams. They typ­i­cally are in the right place at the right time, and more than ever that is go­ing to need to be the case tonight.

If Lack­awanna Trail can get the Wing-T mov­ing, the po­ten­tial is there for the Rangers to look silly. It’s all go­ing to come down to tack­ling for North­west. If they have just one de­fender at the point of at­tack try­ing to tackle the ball car­rier around the shoul­ders, the Lions have the abil­ity to break a big gain and the North­west de­fense will be in for a long night.

At the same time, the Rangers can make a big play or two of their own, but are more than con­tent to pound the ball, chew up clock and let the of­fen­sive line take over the game. It’s a phi­los­o­phy that worked seven times this year against teams of higher clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

And let’s be hon­est here. North­west is not a fun place to play. It will be Lack­awanna Trail that has to hop on the bus and take the long drive. Ex­pect Rangerville to have an elec­tric at­mos­phere and the Rangers to feed off it.

SCORE

North­west 34-28

FRANK LAURI / FOR THE CIT­I­ZENS’ VOICE

North­west takes the field for a game against Hanover Area ear­lier this sea­son.

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