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Lombardo leads Somers over Lakeland,28-14

Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 by Robert Lombardo

Lombardo leads Somers over Lakeland, 28-14

(Original publication: September 21, 2007)
SOMERS - Though he produced an offensive stat sheet most players would envy, Somers junior Rob Lombardo did not want to talk about his 139 yards rushing or the fact he scored all four of his team's touchdowns following the Tuskers' 28-14 win over visiting Lakeland in a League A-A game last night.

That's because Lombardo's biggest play of the game came on defense.

It happened in the closing seconds of the first half.

Trailing 21-14, Lakeland (1-2) was faced with a a third-and-goal at the Somers 1 and there was little doubt who was going to be getting the ball: 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior fullback Matt Semenza, who was fresh off a 217-yard rushing performance in a 24-0 win over Panas.

"All week long we prepared for him and I knew me and him would be a big matchup because we both play fullback and linebacker and we're both about the same size," said the 6-2, 220-pound Lombardo.

And indeed, Semenza did get the call - and Lombardo was ready, standing up Semenza right at the line of scrimmage with a jarring hit that resulted in a 1-yard loss with 15 seconds left in the second period.

Lakeland then sent out its field-goal unit but was unable to get a kick off as time expired.

"It was third-and-inches and we failed to convert straight up the middle," Lakeland coach Rob Cappelli said. "Then we didn't get a field-goal try off. We just didn't execute there and it really cost us."

It could cost the Hornets a lot more down the line.

The teams entered the game after taking turns playing against Ossining with Lakeland losing 23-14 in Week 1 and Somers, which is ranked fourth in The Journal News Class A poll, falling 14-13 last week.

So this game was a must-win and had a playoff-type feel to it.

"Coming off the heartbreaking loss to Ossining, this was so important for us," said Lombardo, who had 18 carries and whose touchdowns came on runs of 3, 1, 25 and 19 yards. "We really wanted it so bad."

Somers' backfield trio of Lombardo, Matt Deiana and Dylan Haas entered the game with a combined 701 yards rushing in the Tuskers' first three games. Deiana gained 81 yards on 12 carries and Haas 46 yards on seven carries against the Hornets.

Haas' biggest play of the night may have been a 70-yard kickoff that set up Lombardo's third TD and put the Tuskers ahead 21-14 with 8:36 left in the second quarter.

Lakeland opened the scoring with 9:34 remaining in the first period when Owen Rice returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown.

Somers limited Semenza to a season-low 69 yards on 19 carries.

"They did a nice job on him, but we played hard and (senior quarterback) Mike Kelly threw the ball well," Cappelli said.

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