Lancaster and Clarence high schools are separated by just four miles, but on the football field Saturday the distance seemed much greater.
The Redskins won by a big score for the second week in a row in beating Clarence, 33-6, in a Class AA South contest before a paid crowd of 745. Lancaster opened last week with a convincing 49-7 win at Kenmore West.
These neighboring schools have played their share of thrillers. Lancaster won by 6-0 last year and 14-7 in overtime the year before. Lancaster needed triple overtime to win the 2003 contest, 28-21, and Clarence took the 2002 meeting, 35-28, in overtime.
The 2009 game was not decided in the game's waning moments -- Lancaster made sure of that. It may not have been a nail-biter, but it was a hard-hitting contest as both teams had their share of players who had to be helped off the field.
The Redskins grabbed the momentum early by scoring on their first series, a 13-play drive that ended on quarterback Justin Juda's 3-yard run.
"That first touchdown, everybody got fired up," said Juda. "When we passed we controlled their line and when I did get pressure, I got out and everyone was open. I love where our offense is now. The coaches let me call a lot of plays and that helps a lot. I can see more than they can, but they're older and wiser and it works out."
Juda put up some impressive numbers for the second straight week. After throwing for 226 yards against Kenmore West, he threw for an identical 226 against Clarence. He also kept the chains moving with 78 yards rushing.
Lancaster's defense did not allow any points. Clarence's only touchdown came when junior defensive back Cooper Wittig intercepted a Juda pass and returned it 72 yards for a score. The offense was held to 53 yards rushing and 101 passing.
Zack Maryniewski and Andy Speyer each had interceptions and Nate Samborski and Charles Pfender had fumble recoveries for Lancaster. Speyer led the team in tackles with 10 and Pfender was credited with a safety when he tackled the Clarence quarterback in the end zone.
"I think we kind of controlled the tempo of the game. For us to come out and score after the kickoff, that was big," said Lancaster coach Len Jank-iewicz. "Aside from a couple of errors -- an errant thrown ball, and a few blocks that could have been thrown better, overall, we're happy. The defense played pretty well."
Lancaster's standout wide receiver Andrew Mrozek left the game with a lower back injury with 7:16 remaining in the first half. He did not return.
Lancaster's opening drive created the only points of the first quarter.
The second quarter was all Lancaster as it put up 17 unanswered points. Cory Davis scored on a 5-yard run, Alex Debbins kicked a 28-yard field goal and Sean Pantling caught a 20-yard pass from Juda.
Davis led the team in rushing with 79 yards and two TDs while junior Kyle Taylor added 70 yards rushing.
Wittig's interception and return just before the half couldn't have come at a better time for the Clarence faithful, but it had little impact on the offense that couldn't generate a running game for the second week in a row.
"I was a little disappointed that our kids let down a little," said Clarence coach Tom Goddard. "In the third quarter we started back a little bit, and we didn't get that first down, and they went down and scored [to make it 31-6]. I wouldn't want to say we quit, but you could certainly see the momentum changing, and we couldn't get it back."
Lancaster (2-0) starts the season with two road wins. The Redskins return to Foyle/Kling Field for their next three games. Friday night's home opener against Frontier doubles as Alumni Night where the team will recognize players from its championship teams from 1969, 1989 and 1999.