By Steve Svetovich
The Dunmore Bucks high school football team has a lot to be proud of.
Veteran head coach Jack Henzes led his team all the way to the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal game, a contest that ended the Bucks season and thwarted hopes of an undefeated campaign and state title.
Dunmore lost the state quarterfinal game, 39-19, to Ligonier Valley Friday, November 25, at Wingate.
The loss was Dunmore’s first of the season. The Bucks finished a remarkable season at 13-1.
Ligonier Valley senior back Collin Smith, a West Virginia University recruit, accounted for 356 offensive yards and threw four touchdown passes. He rushed for another score.
Jackson Daugherty caught 12 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns for Ligonier Valley.
It was a battle of the undefeated as Ligonier Valley extended its record to 14-0 and advanced to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals.
Dunmore had 11 penalties and turned the ball over three times in the loss.
Ligonier Valley scored on its first two possessions on a 22-yard field goal by Kobe Short and six-yard touchdown burst by Smith followed by an extra point kick.
The tough Bucks came right back. All Region senior back Kyle Lasher sprinted for 15 yards on first down. Senior back Colin Holmes then burst up the middle untouched for a 39-yard touchdown. The extra point kick brought Dunmore to within three points at 10-7.
The Bucks kept fighting as Michael Dougherty intercepted a third down Smith pass attempt and returned it 21 yards into enemy territory. Dunmore went ahead on a muffed play as quarterback Gavin Darcy regained possession followed a bobbled snap. He then flicked the pigskin to Jordon Petrowski for a five-yard touchdown and 13-10 Dunmore lead with 9:59 left in the second quarter. The extra point kick failed.
Ligonier Valley took the lead for good when Smith hit Daugherty with a 15-yard touchdown toss following a drive with 3:02 left in the first half. The extra point kick made it 17-13 in favor of Ligonier Valley.
Four plays into Dunmore’s next drive, Holmes fumbled after reversing in the field. A hard hit resulted in the fumble and turnover. Three players later, Smith hit Daugherty for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds left in the half and a 23-13 lead. The extra point kick was blocked.
A ten-play third quarter drive ended with a Short 26-yard field goal to give Ligonier Valley a 26-13 lead.
Daugherty then intercepted a Dunmore pass attempt and the Rams marched 70 yards down the field on 15 plays, eating up much of the clock. The drive was capped by a five-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Daugherty. The extra point kick made it 33-13 with 29 seconds left in the third quarter.
Dunmore’s final score came on a five-yard Holmes run with 6:33 left in the game.
Smith threw for 295 yards and four touchdowns for Ligonier Valley.
Lasher led the Bucks with 87 yards on 19 carries in the loss. Holmes, who missed the previous four games due to injury, rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.
Ligonier Valley and its stingy defense had given up just 37 points in its first 13 games.
Dunmore defeated York Catholic, 48-35, Friday, November 18, in the PIAA Class 2A first round contest at Harman-Geist Stadium, Hazle Township.
Lasher had a game for the ages rushing for 263 yards on a remarkable 48 carries. He scored five touchdowns and was a one-man wrecking crew in the win.
Dunmore won its third straight District 2 Class 2A title Friday, November 11 with a 28-14 win over Lakeland.
Lasher was splendid in that contest, played at home, rushing for 192 yards on 23 carries. He scored three touchdowns in the win.