Lakers cap off season with win over Windham, NAC title outright

Seniors Kenny Crouch (60) and Logan Giddings hold a "NAC Champs" poster after beating Windham 42-0 on Friday night to win the Northeastern Athletic Conference.

WINDHAM — After a postgame celebration, Jonah Wilkerson approached Tyler Bean. The receiver add one thing to say about his quarterback.

“I’m nothing without this dude,” Wilkerson said.

Bean was the dude on Friday night as he led the Pymatuning Valley football team to its first outright conference title since 1985.

The Lakers topped Windham 42-0 for their fourth straight win.

The 1985 Lakers finished 10-0 and is the only undefeated team in PV history.

“I think about Week 4 we started playing better,” Lakers head coach Neal Croston said. “It just kept on building.

“I think the biggest thing is we didn’t just win the conference — we dominated every game.”

Bean became the first PV player to throw for 1,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a season. He scored on two 2-yard runs and pushed the game out of reach with a 17-yard scamper in the third quarter.

Dillen Knowles, Devin Ray and Logan Giddings also scored on touchdown runs for the Lakers (5-5).

Knowles added 58 yards on the ground while Ray had 57.

Bean finished the day with 162 yards rushing on 23 carries.

He ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

“Our line’s a huge, huge point for us there,” Bean said. “All the credit for this game and the last games all go to my line. My line’s the best thing we got out here.”

Bean attempted just five passes, completing two for 44 yards.

Robert Verba caught a 32-yard pass in the third quarter and Wilkerson caught the other in the second.

“We wanted to use him as that extra back, [get] that extra blocker in there,” Croston said. “He’s a hard-nosed kid and he was getting those yards, so I was gonna keep going with him.”

Unlike last week, the Lakers had no trouble running the ball.

Bean started the game with nine carries during the team’s 11-play opening drive.

The Lakers rushed for 319 yards after getting just 125 against Chalker.

Mikiylen Jones led the Bombers (2-8) with 35 yards on seven carries. He also attempted three passes without a completion.

After the game, the players and cheerleaders stood on the sideline and sang the PV alma mater.

The cheerleaders gave the players a sign that read “NAC CHAMPS.”

Giddings and Kenny Crouch, the only seniors on the team, held the sign while the team posed for photos in front of the scoreboard.

Giddings was mostly sidelined due to a torn hamstring. He played on defense last week, and was caught a little off-guard when he was asked if he wanted to carry the ball on the final drive.

“Really grateful he let me have the ball the last three times because I wanted to make sure I got that last touchdown,” Giddings said.

The conference title was a high note for the senior, especially given the challenges the team faced in the past.

“For the past couple years it’s been like a losing record each year,” Giddings said. “I at least wanted to hit that .500 mark, and we got there.”

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