SWIFTWATER After Lehighton's week one win over Marian, Indians' coach Tom McCarroll talked about the fact that his team came into the first game of the season with a lot more confidence.
He also mentioned the immense tenacity of the Indians' defense and that it was their goal this season to be the type of "D" to fly around the field and swarm to the football.
After Lehighton's performance on Friday night against Mountain Valley Conference foe Pocono Mountain East, so far it looks to be mission accomplished.
The Indians defense forced seven PM East turnovers and after giving up a score in the first, held the Cardinals scoreless the rest of the way, earning a 35-7 MVC victory.
After the ball game it was evident that McCarroll was proud of the way his defense played.
"I can't say enough about my defensive coaches," said McCarroll. "Our team embodies the personality of our coaches and you could see that on the defensive side of the ball tonight. We have some of the most fierce defensive coaches and our kids played with a lot of emotion and pride tonight. We really put it all together tonight and came out in the second half with vengeance."
That's exactly what the Lehighton defense did.
The Cardinals, who actually ran the ball with success a bit in the first half got on the board first, using a nine play drive to take a 7-0 lead.
PM East's score was set up by a 37-yard pitch and catch from Steven Dienno to Devyn Papa that got the Cardinals down to Lehighton's 21 yard line. A couple plays later Dienno then ran it in from four yards out.
However, that would be the last time the Cardinals would see the end zone, as the Indians' defense dominated from then on out.
PM East didn't even see Lehighton's side of the field in second and third quarters with Dienno throwing two interceptions in that stretch. Tegan Durishin intercepted a Dienno pass in the second, while Tyler Cann made his mark, jumping an out route for a pick in the third.
It was turnover city for the Cardinals in the fourth quarter as well as back-up quarterback Luke Hohenstein threw two interceptions with one of them being returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Gavin Zehner.
After Zehner's big play the Indians were still not done turning Cardinal turnovers into touchdowns as Connor Frey stripped a PM East ball carrier with 6:42 in the fourth, returning it 31 yards for the score.
It just seemed that everything and anything the Cardinals wanted to do, Lehighton was ready for it.
"The mentality that these kids have adopted really is incredible," said McCarroll. "Defensively our guys that they played well last week, but we didn't get the win. So, this week they came into this game with the mentality to take the ball away and give us good opportunities to score and that's what they did."
The Indians' Wyatt Clements was the constant on offense for Lehighton on the night, scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 86 yards. Clements, who mostly plays tailback, did most of his damage from the "wildcat" position.
With the victory Lehighton now sits at 2-1, heading into a very important MVC match-up with Pleasant Valley next week.