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Fourth quarter leads Lakeview past Girard

September 28, 2013
By KAYLA HANUSCHAK - Tribune Chronicle correspondent (sports@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

CORTLAND - The Lakeview Bulldogs are putting their 0-3 start behind them. After Friday night's 42-35 victory over Girard, the Bulldogs have now won their past two games and put up big points in both contests.

Against the Indians, the Bulldogs scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter in a game that had been a back-and-forth contest through the first three quarters.

"I can't say enough about our kids," Bulldog coach Tom Pavlansky said. "They played together, they played tough. And you know what, that's what these kids are demonstrating here and I can't be more proud of them."

As a team, Lakeview carried the ball 53 times for a total of 282 yards compared to Girard's 39 carries for 164 yards. Senior Bulldog Jake Pishotti, who caught the ball six times for 174 yards, rushed for 53, ran for a touchdown and kicked all of the extra points, attributed the scoring to great work by the linemen.

"Well, everyone just blocked perfectly," Pishotti said. "That's all we can ask for. Our offensive line did a great job and everybody did what they were supposed to do."

The line definitely did their job, helping junior Mike Mannella carry the ball 20 times for 135 yards - 70 of those yards came in just one play. With 11:37 left in the second quarter, Mannella broke through a hole in the defense and scored from his own 30. Mannella ended the game with three touchdowns.

Pishotti is proud of his team and knows that they need to be ready for next week.

"This win is a big win," Pishotti said. "That was a great football team and that just keeps us going."

Girard did not let up in the first half, though. Senior James Cupan scored three touchdowns just in the second quarter alone, one run was for 54 yards. Cupan completed the game with four of the Indians' five touchdowns, 132 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards. Chris Vince led the team in receiving, catching the ball 11 times for 161 yards. Also, Girard quarterback Nick Cardiero passed for 341 yards compared to Lakeview's 222.

Girard coach Nick Cochran knows his team has skills that need to be worked on. The Indians did not score at all in the first and fourth quarters, which did not help their cause. Most of their points were from the second quarter when they accumulated 28 points. Another aspect of this game that hurt Girard was 11 penalties for 105 yards.

"We made some good decisions," Cochran said. "When we make good decisions, good things happen. But when we make bad decisions, this is the outcome that happens. The penalties didn't help and we just got out-played the last 11 minutes of the game.

"We have to step it up because it doesn't get any easier. The league doesn't get any easier. This is probably one of the better teams in the league. We had to come ready to play especially on their field and we came for about two and a half quarters and that's it. We need to play a full game."

Although Lakeview won, Pavlansky also recognized they need to fix some aspects of their game.

"We have to watch our films and make corrections and go from there," Pavlansky said. "That's what we have to do. We didn't play a perfect game by any means. Girard played so hard and didn't make it easy here. I can't say enough about our kids. They kept battling. With all of the negative plays tonight, we kept bouncing back. I'm pretty proud of our kids."

Next week, Girard (2-3, 1-1 All-American Conference, National Division) is at Champion and LaBrae travels to Lakeview (2-3, 2-2). Both coaches know what needs to be done to be successful.

"We just have to play Girard football," Cochran said. "If we play Girard football we are a pretty good football team. We weren't playing Girard football the last 11 minutes."

"We have to understand how we got here and continue to work hard," Pavlansky said. "We have a huge game next week against LaBrae. It's our homecoming and that throws in another challenge in there. We have to keep our focus and keep on working and plugging away and that's a lesson all young people have to learn."