PEEKSKILL, N.Y.— There’s nothing like your first in anything, thus Lakeland football coach Mike Meadows will never forget taking his team into Depew Park to face host Peekskill on Sept. 16.
Led by 103 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries from senior quarterback Mike Capozzi, the Hornets defeated the Red Devils 35-0, giving Meadows his first career victory.
The win was extra sweet after losing a very winnable game at Nyack the previous week.
“This win means a lot,” Meadows said. “Over the last 10 months or so we’ve just been working real hard, the boys have been working hard and it came together today. We played well on both sides of the ball. It just feels good, especially after last week to come away with a W today.”
Capozzi (2 for 4, 20 yards passing) put the Hornets on the scoreboard with a 4-yard touchdown run, completing an 11-play, 65-yard drive that lasted 6:03 on their opening possession.
“It felt good to score. I didn’t score in the first two games,” Capozzi said. “It felt good to get back in the end zone and play football like Lakeland always does.”
Tommy Barnett’s 2-point conversion run gave Lakeland an 8-0 advantage.
Lakeland then took advantage when Peekskill fumbled on a punt in the second quarter and four plays and 35 yards after recovering it, the Hornets turned it into a score.
That score came on a 7-yard touchdown run from Justin Rivera (14 yards, 2 carries), giving Lakeland a 14-0 lead with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Capozzi then registered a 4-yard touchdown run, which he set up himself by rushing for 20 yards the previous play. Another Barnett 2-point conversion gave the Hornets a 22-0 halftime advantage.
“I have to give that all to my line honestly,” Capozzi said. “They made good blocks, they definitely came ready to play. All the holes were there and led me to a touchdown again.”
Ray Stretz, J.P. Diaz, Alphonse Piliero, Josh Hirsch and Nick Verrino made the holes for Capozzi.
Lakeland scored twice in the second half, the first of those scores coming on a 17-yard touchdown run by Barnett (60 yards on 4 rushes), set up by an interception from Dylan Semenza (6 tackles).
Lakeland’s defense, which held Peekskill to just 184 total yards on offense, got its final score when Tommy Briscoe (6 tackles) picked up a fumble and went 49 yards for a touchdown, with Jorge Duque’s extra point finishing the game’s scoring.
“It was huge because one thing we wanted to focus on after last week was making plays,” Meadows said. “That is what has hurt us a lot the first two weeks is we weren’t making enough plays so to come in today, get some turnovers and take advantage of those turnovers, it was a big deal for us.”
John Mule’ added an interception and Chris Kenney registered six tackles to contribute to Lakeland’s stellar defensive effort.
Lakeland (1-2) will look for its second win of the season in what will be a big test in a great atmosphere when it travels to Hendrick Hudson at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23.
“It definitely feels good as a program,” Capozzi said. “It just feels good to get back into the swing of things and get some wins. Now we have to play Hen Hud, definitely a good team that we are going to go against but we are going to give it all we have and see where we go from there.”