Swanton trailed rival Evergreen 15-11 at halftime Friday night, but scored 42 straight points in the second half to secure a 53-22 Homecoming victory. Michael Lawniczak scored four times for the Bulldogs.
Swanton scored on their first possession of the game by going 62 yards in eight plays.
Tim Rankin’s 16 yard run and Gunnar Oakes 25 yard catch were the key plays in getting Lawniczak to the end zone from two yards out that gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
Evergreen countered, as Nick Etue hit first down passes to Josh Laux, Tyler Noe and Peyton Pawlaczyk to reach the Swanton 30. From there, Noe made a leaping catch in the end zone at the 2:50 mark of the first to slice the lead to 8-7.
Swanton dented the board late in the second quarter as Zack Leahey’s 33 yard gallop set up Nick Koback’s 30 yard field goal that increased the Bulldog lead to 11-7 with 2:04 left in the half.
It took the Vikes a little over a minute though to hit pay dirt and take a halftime lead.
Etue hit Noe for 43 yards and on a fourth down play, Jon Milliken went high over a Swanton defender for a 21 yard scoring catch and the ensuing two point conversion gave Evergreen a 15-11 lead.
Three first half fumbles kept the Swanton offense in check for the opening half.
Jonathon Shanks returned a short second half kickoff to the Viking 47 where it took just four plays for Leahey to ramble into the end zone from 18 yards away, giving the Bulldogs a lead they never gave back.
After picking up a first down, Justin Timpe sacked Etue, causing a fumble that was recovered by Swanton at the Viking 38.
Evergreen held for three plays but on fourth down, Oakes hauled in a pass in the corner of the end zone. That play proved vital as instead of a turnover on downs, Oakes’ acrobatic 34 yard catch put Swanton up 25-15.
Then the Bulldog defense stiffened and Swanton took full advantage of the wind as Robbie Gilsdorf fielded a short punt and burst through a wall of people to the one to set up a one yard score on a Bryce McComb sneak. A short Viking punt gave Swanton starting position at the Evergreen 27 where Lawniczak scored again from the two to put the game out of reach.
For the game, Swanton had 383 of their 445 yards on the ground, led by Lawniczak’s 173 and Leahey’s 84. McComb added 57 yards on the ground and completed 4 of 5 passes for 62 yards.
The Bulldog defense held Evergreen to well below their 400 yard total offense average as the Vikings had just 280, 233 passing as Etue was just 18 of 43.
With the win, the Bulldogs remained tied with Liberty Center at the top of the league standings.
Swanton (6-0, 3-0 NWOAL) travels to Patrick Henry this week, while Evergreen (4-2, 1-2 NWOAL) plays at Delta.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]