Sparta scored on the game’s fourth play, a 49-yard run by Austin Castorina. After forcing Lakeland to punt, Sparta went 90 yards on ten plays behind the running of Castorina and Kenny Oelkers completed all three of his passes, the last one a 12-yard score to Ben McDonald.
After Lakeland turned the ball over on downs on their 47, a 36-yard pass from Castorina to Brenadan Cina plus a Castorina run of four yards gave the Spartans the ball on the 12. But Castorina fumbled on the next play and Chris McCormack recovered for Lakeland on the 14. The Lancers were three-and-out with Sparta beginning on their 45. After three plays, Sparta punted when punter Reed McCall mishandled the snap and ran to the Lakeland 44 for a first down. Five plays later on fourth-and-13, Oelkers found found Will Cisko down the middle of the field for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Spartans were up 21-0 and it was not looking good for Lakeland. When it looked like they were going to punt on a third down incompletion, Sparta was flagged for pass interference, giving the Lancers a first down. After picking up a first down, Mike McKay found Chris Trentacosta for a 33-yard touchdown.
Lakeland’s Jude Padovano took the second half kickoff to the Sparta 25. McKay ran for 17 yards to the 8 and found Ryan Sullivan in the end zone for the touchdown and it was suddenly 21-14. Sparta punted into the wind on their next possession and gave Lakeland the ball on the Sparta 28. However, Tucker Hastings intercepted and gave Sparta the ball on their 30. Sparta later had to punt , but it was high, over McCall’s head, giving Lakeland a safety and closed the gap to five points at 21-16 with 2:30 left in the third.
Lakeland opened the fourth quarter with a punt that went to the left and out of bounds, giving the Sparta the ball 18 yards from the end zone. They took advantage when Castorina scored from a yard out despite a hard hit by McKay from his safety position. They added another score when Castorina went 14 yards to make it 35-16 with four minutes left.
Sparta jumped out to a good lead, were then put on the ropes by Lakeland, before pulling away. Castorina had a 199 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries and also completed a pass for 36 yards.
Lakeland could have hung their heads when they were down, 21-0, but they kept playing hard and physical, getting to within five points. McKay is a hard-nosed football player at quarterback and safety. His hit on Castorina’s first fourth quarter forced him to leave the game, hurting their chances to come back.
Sparta head coach Frank Marchiano: “Lakeland was big, physical, and athletic. We came out strong and bounced back. We played well, but we still need to work hard this week, each and every day.”
Sparta running back Austin Castorina: “My line blocked very well for me, but Lakeland made adjustments and made things harder. My line came though in the end, though. Lakeland was a very good team.”
Sparta quarterback Kenny Olekers: “It was a good win and it feels good. Now we have to prepare hard for Ramapo and we will see what happens.”