Lake Park uses big plays to beat Metea Valley
It took 10 seconds for Lake Park to seize all the momentum it needed Friday night.
The Lancers scored two plays after recovering a fumbled kick return to start the game and cruised to a 35-12 nonconference football victory over Metea Valley in Roselle.
The big plays didn't stop there. Lake Park's Xavier Jones blocked a punt on the Mustangs' first possession and, again, it took only two plays for Jordan Colon to score his second touchdown on a 4-yard run.
Colon, who left the game with a shoulder injury after rushing for 109 yards on 14 carries, scored again on a 24-yard run near the end of the first quarter to give the Lancers a 21-0 lead. Lake Park (1-1) found itself on the opposite side of that same score in a season-opening loss to DeKalb.
"We got shut out last week by a good DeKalb defense and that was our main focus all week, just getting the offense going," said Lancers receiver Nico Romano, who had 5 catches for 135 yards including an 85-yard touchdown from Nathaneal Merchant that featured some nifty moves on the way to the end zone. "We scored two right away and we just kept going."
In addition to the two special teams plays, the Lancers snared two interceptions and recovered a fumble. Defensive back Anthony Pellegrino had one of each.
"What we do in practice showed in the game," Pellegrino said. "We didn't get any turnovers against DeKalb so we really wanted to come out strong and set the energy early."
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Frederick made his varsity debut for Metea Valley (0-2) after only a couple days of practice. He was solid under duress while completing 13 of 27 passes for 238 yards and touchdowns to C.J. Wilcox and Jalen Johnson, another sophomore brought up this week.
But with Lake Park jumping to leads of 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 28-6 by halftime, the Mustangs were forced to be one-dimensional offensively with the pass.
"It was tough but I thought the boys responded well," said Metea Valley coach John Parpet. "It's hard when you get put in that position. They take you out of your balance."
With Batavia looming next week to start DuKane Conference play, Friday's dominant victory was a welcome sight for the Lancers.
"Losing the first week is really hard on the kids," said Lake Park coach Chris Roll. "I'm really proud of our special teams making some big plays out of the gate."