Deer Lakes dominates Derry to end 15-game losing skid

Friday, September 17, 2021 | 10:50 PM

Deer Lakes’ long losing streak in football is over.

Derek Burk threw three touchdown passes — two to Conner Walker during a 19-point third-quarter outburst that ignited a running clock — to lead the visiting Lancers to a 49-0 rout of winless Derry on Friday night in the Allegheny 7 Conference opener for both schools.

Cody Scarantine rushed for 98 yards and two scores for Deer Lakes (1-3, 1-0), which entered the night having lost 15 consecutive games dating to the 2019 season.

But after starting slow, the Lancers began to pull away.

Deer Lakes clung to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on the first of two Scarantine 1-yard runs but broke open the game with three touchdowns in the second, including Brandon Colledge’s 47-yard interception return with just 3 seconds remaining before halftime.

That score came 1:14 after Scarantine’s second 1-yard touchdown run gave the Lancers a 19-0 lead.

“It’s a long bus ride to here. We came out kind of flat,” Deer Lakes coach Tim Burk said. “You see the references to the losing streak all the time, and it kind of gets to them. They were tight. They weren’t themselves, but then, as the game went on, they settled in and did a great job.”

For Derry (0-4, 0-1), it was another case of being overmatched. The outmanned Trojans have been outscored 235-29 this season.

“This was our best week of practice,” Derry coach Vince Skillings said. “We kind of backed off on the physicality with our numbers being so low. We can’t afford to get anybody hurt. But on Tuesday, we had some live tackling and got some injures in our secondary, so we couldn’t really give anyone a rest.”

Derry looked as though it could take its first lead of the season in the second quarter when Ahmad Ward broke free for an apparent 61-yard touchdown run, but the play was erased by a block-in-the-back penalty.

“That’s a huge emotional swing,” Skillings said. “You could feel the momentum shift to our side, then the penalty was thrown and it swung back to Deer Lakes.”

“That was a huge play. It was kind of disheartening.”

To say the least. Without Ward’s run, Derry managed just 45 yards of total offense.

“We just needed this first one,” coach Burk said. “We were close on our losses, one-touchdown differences (against Springdale and Knoch). We’re learning, growing and getting better. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, just come and play for four quarters. That’s all I ever ask. We did that tonight.”

Earlier in the second quarter quarter, Derek Burk, a sophomore and the coach’s son, tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jake Thimons for a 13-0 Deer Lakes advantage.

Burk threw touchdown passes of 5 and 34 yards to Walker in the third quarter, and the Lancers added a safety and Zier Williams’ 20-yard scoring run in the fourth.

Tim Burk tried to hold up his jubilant players to have a postgame talk, but they rushed toward the locker room, leaving the coach just shaking his head.

“Next week is a different game,” he said, referring to a visit from Valley on Friday night. “We need to come prepared to play.”

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