By Tom Williams
Poland High quarterback Colin Reardon passed for 171 yards and rushed for 69 more in Friday’s 38-21 victory over Lakeview. He passed for two touchdowns and ran for two others.
It was the second most impressive performance of the game.
Three weeks after fracturing a bone in his left (non-throwing) hand, Lakeview quarterback Anthony Franco returned wearing a huge cast that barely allowed his fingers and thumb to escape.
Franco completed 24 of 34 passes for 242 yards and kept Lakeview (1-3) within striking distance of Poland (2-2) until late in the third quarter. Reardon’s touchdown runs of 5 and 27 yards in the fourth quarter sealed the victory.
'So much guts,” Reardon said. “I told him that I would never be able to do that. I wouldn’t be afraid to have it get hurt again, it’s just the way he can stay composed holding the ball. He doesn’t have [extended] fingers with a cast.”
Franco said his doctor advised him to protect his hand, not an easy task against Poland’s attacking defense.
“I had to keep the ball in my right hand and I actually had to protect [my left] arm so it didn’t hit the ground,” said Franco, who added that running with the ball was the hardest. “When I was going to my left, usually you put the ball in your left hand. I was using my right.”
Poland coach Mark Brungard called Franco “a tough, tough kid — I think the world of him. ”
Lakeview struck on its first possession with Franco’s toss to Elijah Henderson for 41 yards being the big play. Jake Pishotti’s 32-yard field goal gave Lakeview an early 3-0 lead.
Poland fumbled on the kickoff, but Lakeview didn’t take advantage. Instead, Poland marched 77 yards on 10 plays. The key one came on third-and-9 when Reardon rolled out and hit Mike Turnbull with a short toss that turned into a 43-yard gain.
Jerry Lawman’s 2-yard touchdown run gave Poland the lead.
After Lakeview’s next drive was stopped at the Poland 7, Lawman broke loose for a 45-yard run to set up Poland’s second touchdown. Reardon’s 6-yard pass to Jordan Smith gave Poland a 14-3 lead.
Twenty-seven seconds before halftime, Pishotti kicked a 25-yard field goal to slice the deficit to eight. But Poland’s John Markota fell on Lakeview’s onside kick attempt at midfield, Two Reardon passes to Jimmy Morocco set up Connor McFadden’s 27-yard field goal for a 17-6 halftime edge.
Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky said he’s responsible for the onside kick call.
“We should have kicked off,” Pavlansky said.
“Colin and Anthony are two of the best quarterbacks in the area and they showed it tonight. When they needed a play, Colin made it,” Pavlansky said. “We missed opportunities, we were inside the 5 yard line twice and we settled for a field goal.”
Lawman rushed 19 times for 108 yards and Morocco caught eight passes for 95 yards.
For Lakeview, Henderson caught 13 passes for 157 yards.