ALLENTOWN – The first four weeks of the 2012 high school football season weren't very kind to the Lehighton Indians.
Friday night at Dieruff, the Indians got to take some of their aggression out and finally posted their first win of the year.
Lehighton hit on a 52-yard halfback pass on the first play from scrimmage and kept it rolling from there, as the Indians clobbered Dieruff 42-0 in Mountain Valley Conference play. Jacen Nalesnik scored four touchdowns on the night and helped get his team finally off the schnide.
"It's a great win," said Lehighton head coach Tom McCarroll. "I think it speaks volumes about these kids. These kids have stayed positive every single week. It's like every Monday they recharge their battery and focus and try to get the job done.
"The results haven't been there but I have said this since day one – every week we do get better. It's so nice to see it come to fruition tonight. These kids deserve this win."
The Indians' first called play of the night was a halfback pass. Quarterback Tyler Crum flipped the ball to Nalesnik who rolled out to his right and hit a wide open Ian Zimmerman for a 52-yard gain. The play set up Lehighton's first score of the game, as running back Tom Ruzicka scampered in from five yards out three plays later.
"Coach has been saying that he was going to call it all week," said Nalesnik. "He told me to be ready for the halfback pass. I actually told my dad before the game and he was pumped up about it too so I was excited.
"It feels great to get this win. We have a bunch of young guys and this is probably their first varsity win. I am happy for them."
The play seemed to spark the whole Lehighton team. The Indians' offense clicked for the majority of the first half as the locals scored on three of their next five first-half possessions. Nalesnik hauled in an 18-yard touchdown right before the end of the first quarter to make it 14-0. He then rumbled in from one yard out two minutes later to make it 21-0 early in the second.
Then, with less than 20 seconds to go before halftime, Crum found Kris Knappenberger in the back of the endzone for a 29-yard TD.
"We have a bag of tricks in our back pocket," said McCarroll. "Sometimes based on the game we can't pull them out when we want to. We figured instead of trying to wait until the second quarter or the second half we would just come out with it. It gave us a nice little spark and it propelled us for the rest of the game."
Meanwhile, Lehighton's defense was also up to the task. The Indians held Dieruff to just 118 yards of total offense, including 31 in the second half. At one point toward the end of the first quarter, Lehighton stuffed six of seven Husky plays for negative yardage.
"The defensive side of the ball has been our strong point all season," said McCarroll. "I know the scores haven't necessarily reflected that, but our defense has kept us in games in the first half. We just haven't been able to finish."
Lehighton more than doubled its scoring output for the season on Friday and will now look to bring its good vibes into next week's game against ES North.
"It's huge," said McCarroll. "We talk to these kids about refocusing every single week and taking it one game at a time. You never know what will happen. I know we have had a rough start, but we have had a very tough schedule. You will see that all the teams that we lost to are going to be in the playoffs.
"I think we have a good schedule moving forward that provides some opportunities for some wins. I don't know how many, but if our kids come out like they did tonight then I think we will get some wins on the board."