Darrell Fusco practically needed an accountant to tally up all of the points his Mountain Lakes football team put on the scoreboard against Dover on Saturday.
But the Herd coach was even more impressed with the Herd’s ironclad defense.
Dover’s offense came in high-flying. It left broken and battered — completely unable to solve Mountain Lakes’ gap-filling wave of 11-helmets-to-the-ball defense.
Mountain Lakes came away with a 53-12 victory. The “D” set the tone all afternoon for the Herd, who will host Lincoln in the North 2 Group II semifinals next Saturday.
“Our defense was great,” Fusco said. “Our coaches (Matt Stanzione and Kevin Wallace) I thought had a great gameplan. We all knew that No. 5 (Dover’s George Scalley), No. 1 (Dwaye Brown) and No. 7 (Omar Young) were touchdowns waiting to happen. We wanted to stop No. 5 and make them do other things and we were able to do that.”
And the Herd offense, meanwhile, took full advantage when it was its turn. Scalley scored a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter a short time after quarterback James Quiles connected with Brown for a 63-yard pass.
The Tigers had a 6-0 lead after one quarter but after that, it was all Mountain Lakes, all the time.
In the second quarter alone, the Herd put up 26 points and the Tigers didn’t know what hit them.
On Mountain Lakes’ first play from scrimmage in the second quarter, fullback Christian Cucciniello — the focal point of the Herd’s game plan — went through the line and up the field for a 73-yard touchdown. Zander Kosten’s PAT gave the Herd a 7-6 lead and they led the rest of the way.
Dover went three-and-out on its next possession and punted. Brad Landry returned it 18 yards and, a short time later, Cucciniello (17 for 140) went in from 1 yard out.
Dover fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Davis Thompson recovered it at the Tigers 23. Four plays later, Mountain Lakes quarterback Brad Smith rolled left and ran in from 17 yards out for another score.
After another Dover punt, the Herd went 40 yards and scored again when Zach Lesko took a direct snap and cut back through the middle for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 26-6 at the half.
The second half was more of the same for Mountain Lakes. The only thing different was that the names of those who scored changed, a testament to the program’s depth.
John Reuben scored a 57-yard touchdown and added an 8-yard score. A short time later, Landry contributed a 9-yard touchdown.
But it all went back to the defense. Fusco loved every minute of it. Well, almost every minute. Dover’s long completion to set up its first score was a blip on the screen, but Fusco liked how his team was able to react to that.
“The defense was relentless,” he said. “We kept Scalley from running up and down the field. He came in with over 1,000 yards in the last five games alone.”
D–George Scalley 1 run (kick failed).
M–Christian Cuccinello 73 run (Zander Kotsen kick).
M–Cuccinello 1 run (kick failed).
M–Brad Smith 17 run (Kotsen kick).
M–Zach Lesko 12 run kick failed).
M–John Reuben 57 run (kick failed).
D–James Quiles 31 run (kick failed).
M–Reuben 8 run (Andrew Letsch kick).
M–Brad Landry 9 run (Letsch kick).
M–Jimmy Schicke 20 pass from Griffin Baker (Letsch kick).