By Edward L. Master
Allied News Sports Correspondent
FARRELL — The Farrell Steelers had to hold on for dear life, but hold they did against the Lakeview Sailors.
Dan Odem connected with Jake Hartley for a 15-yard touchdown pass as Farrell nipped Lakeview 7-0 in District 10, Region 1A football action Friday at A.J. Paulekas Stadium.
The Odem-to-Hartley score came with 5:50 left in the first half as the Steelers (2-0, 2-1) prevailed for the victory over the Sailors (1-1, 2-1).
Not only did Odem toss what proved to be the winning pass, but he also gave himself that opportunity on an unplanned ‘un-punt’ scramble.
“That was a good play by Dan Odem, the athlete,” said Farrell coach Jarrett Samuels. “We were trying to punt the ball, take field position, and play tough defense against those guys.”
Farrell sat at their own 43-yard line, facing a fourth-and-two yards to go, with Odem in punt formation to receive the ball and kick. The snap from center sailed high and, as Lakeview penetrated, Odem scampered right, cut into the middle of the field, and wound up with a 27-yard gain.
A play of similar caliber, however, occurred at the close of the first half and nearly resulted in a Lakeview score.
With six seconds to play in the opening half, Sailors quarterback Adam Koontz tossed an incomplete pass as time expired, but Farrell was penalized for roughing the passer. Because the quarter cannot end on a defensive penalty, Lakeview was given one more shot at the end zone and Thomas Miller made the most of the chance — almost.
With 0:00 showing on the game clock, Miller took Koontz’s handoff, broke through the left side of the Steelers defense, and wove his way down the Farrell side of the field. Miller then veered right across the total width of the field to the Lakeview sideline before several Steelers stopped him at the Farrell six-yard line.
Miller was credited with a 58-yard gain, but the Sailors came up short on the scoreboard.
In the second half, the contest was again a test of defensive might.
“My kids fought through a lot of adversity, picked up a ‘W’ and I’m proud of them,” Samuels said. “Lakeview has a great running game. If a team can rush for 600 yards in two games, then that team is doing a great job. Koontz is their ‘trigger man’ and Miller is a great runner. We have respect for those guys.
“We have to learn to play disciplined football. We shot ourselves in the foot too many times with penalties (eight for 75 yards). We kept Lakeview on the field at the end of the first half.”
Miller, who has emerged as one of the premier backs in Mercer County, finished the game with 180 yards rushing on 35 carries. The Farrell defense, however, held Koontz in check as he managed a minus-one yard net on the ground in eight attempts.
“Farrell had so much penetration and Adam (Koontz) was looking at so many people — they were coming from all over the place,” said Lakeview coach Dan York. “Farrell has a good team, but I won’t take anything away from us because I think we have a good team, too.
“This is just one game out of the year and so we will re-load for next week. This isn’t the end of the season for us.”
Notes: Lakeview recorded 14 first downs to Farrell’s nine. ... the Sailors had 224 yards of total offense to 181 yards for the Steelers. ... Lakeview was penalized six times for 40 yards. ... Each team fumbled four times, with the Sailors losing one and the Steelers two. ... For Lakeview, Jake Novak gained 21 yards rushing on six carries. ... Koontz completed two of seven passes for 22 yards. ... Chance Hall caught one pass for the 22-yard gainer. ... Miller tossed a pass to Koontz for four yards. ... For Farrell, Dion Eilam gained 39 yards on three rushes. ... Odem was three of seven passing for 51 yards. ... Eilam hit on one of three throws for 13 yards. ... Hartley hauled in three balls for 46 yards.
By Edward L. Master