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Written by: Pa Football News on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Every week, NPF will recap the District 2 game with editor Chris Kucharski’s comments.
CRESTWOOD 28, BERWICK 20
Frank Aigeldinger rushed for 165 yards as the Comets avenged their only two losses from 2013. Berwick QB Dallas Arner made a strong debut throwing for 157 yards. Crestwood outgained Berwick 329 to 269 and sacked Arner four times.
CK’s Take: This one went about how I thought it would. Very intense. Very competitive. Right now, Crestwood is the better team, but not by much. There is a very good chance these two teams will meet again in the District 2 Class AAA playoffs. They are the favorites. In the end, it was a nice victory for the Comets, but only one smal piece of the picture in 2014.
DALLAS 32, SCRANTON 24
Matt Harrison throws for 244 yards and three TDs and Justin Mucha catches 7 passes for 162 yards as the Mounts upset No. 5 Scranton. Jake McCarthy had 273 rushing yards and 4 TDs for the Knights
CK’s Take: Biggest upset of the weekend. Dallas is coming off a rough two-year stretch and Scranton was a favorite in LFC 1. Harrison has really developed into one of the better QBs in the WVC and the Scranton defense was very disappointing considering McCarthy got his and the Knights offense was good enough.
WALLENPAUPACK 26, HONESDALE 20 (3OT)
Rashawn Battle’s touchdown in the third overtime held up as the Buckhorns defeat the Hornets a very hard-fought rivalry game. Honesdale’s Josh LoBasso’s fourth down throw on the last play sailed over the hands of the intended receiver to seal the victory for Paupack. The Hornets had rallied from a 13-0 deficit in the 4th quarter but had an extra point blocked to maintain a tie. Battle ran for 113 yards and 2 TDs. Josh Burkavage ran for 110 yards and recovered 2 fumbles for the Hornets.
CK’s Take: The good news for Paupack was that QB John Steffen was able to play after suffering a foot injury in last week’s scrimmage. This game was very balanced and I was surprised the Buckhorns pulled it out. Honesdale was a team I had pegged for a sleeper in Class AAA, but it appears Paupack now holds that title.
OLD FORGE 21, G.A.R. 14
Cooper Califano rushed for 126 yards and held off a late G.A.R. charge to hold on for a win in the opener. Blue Devils QB Joey Gutowski threw for 122 yards and ran for a touchdown. G.A.R. quarterback Garry Kroll threw two long touchdown passes to Justin Crosby (69 yards) and Anthony Maurent (73 yards), but they were the only two pass completions of the evening for the Grenadiers.
CK’s Take: Good start for the defending District 2 champs. With all the graduating players, you weren’t sure how the Blue Devils would come out. The defense should be a strength this season again and the offense should improve steadily. G.A.R.’s offense could struggle even with a superstar in the making in Maurent. The Grenadiers could struggle again in Class AA.
WYOMING VALLEY WEST 42, WYOMING AREA 6
Brady Davison threw for 173 yards and four touchdowns as the Spartans dominated the Warriors. All four TD passes came in the first half. Sean Judge scored 3 TDs, two on passes and one on a run. Valley West’s defense sacked the quarterback three times and forced two fumbles. Wyoming Area running back Jeff Skursky was held to 54 yards rushing.
CK’s Take: No surprise here as the Spartans showed why they were ranked No. 1 in the preseason. They have many offensive weapons and took the foot off the gas in the second half after leading 35-0 at halftime. Davison is the real deal and the Valley West defense is very good. Not many holes in this team. Wyoming Area will struggle although Skursky will be a force on offense.
SUSQUEHANNA 21, NANTICOKE 17
Brett Hepler’s interception and 52-yard return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter was the game-winner as the Sabers edged the Trojans. Nanticoke’s defense held the Sabers to zero net rushing yards in the first half before Susquehanna got on track. Blake Balderrama led the Trojans with 104 yards rushing.
CK’s Take: These two teams will be very competitive this season. Susuqehanna has already qualified for the Class A playoffs and the Trojans will be competing for an Eastern Conference spot again. The Sabers’ Austin White and Balderrama are the two of the better two-way players in small schools.
LAKELAND 14, NORTHWEST 6
Lakeland’s defense was dominant and the offense woke up late in the game to defeat No. 3 Northwest. The Chiefs got a 6-yard touchdown run from Christian Selvenis halfway through the fourth quarter to break a scoreless tie. With Northwest threatening, Jared Bomba returned a Logan Womelsdorf interception 103 yards to put the game away. The Rangers would add a score with :35 second left when Womelsdorf scored on 1-yard run to avoid the shutout.
CK’s Take: Northwest’s season has already been sidetracked and we are not just talking about the home loss to the Chiefs. Injuries have the Rangers hard with losing one of their best lineman in the preseason and then star running back and linebacker Austin Mazonkey not available in the second half. Lakeland just keeps churning out wins and it is not surprising. The Chiefs defense looks like they are for real and that will win many games for them this season.
LACKAWANNA TRAIL 28, LAKE-LEHMAN 13
Trail quarterback Vic Mallory threw for two first half score and added another rushing touchdown as the Lions defeated the No. 1 ranked Black Knights. Mallory threw for 174 yards and connected with twice with WR liam Dougherty including a 67-yard strike. Trail running back Jared Phillips ran for game-high 108 yards and the Lions outgained Lehman 426 to 159 total yards.
CK’s Take: I wasn’t totally surprised by this and there is no doubt the absence of Lake-Lehman’s 1,000 yard rusher Joey Vigil hurt the Black Knights. But that doesn’t take anything away from the Lions’ performance. Despite being outsized, the Lions were more physical and their athletes made more plays. The Lions punched the Black Knights in the face and Lehman never rebounded. Trail always has some good players and if they can stay healthy, they will remain the favorite in Class A.
ABINGTON HEIGHTS 31, PITTSTON AREA 14
Despite four turnovers and multiple penalties, Abington Heights made big plays in the fourth quarter to pull away from Pittston Area. The Comets got TD runs from Ed Goff and Perry Williams to help Abington pull away. Jake Henzes had a big-play game for Abington returning a punt 40 yards for a touchdown for the first score of the game. Henzes would later connect with new Comets’ QB Jordan Hollander for 49 yards for the last score of the game. Patriots’ QB Kyle Gattuso, who finished with 130 yards rushing, scored running the ball and also threw a TD pass to Paul Brady. Pittston also had three turnovers and was penalized eight times.
CK’s Take: It was a sloppy game for both teams, but Pittston doesn’t have enough horses and Abington has depth. Hollander had a nice debut as the Comets QB after a training camp battle with four other candidates. Henzes, the grandson of legendary Dunmore coach Jack Henzes, gives Abington a big-play option. Gattuso is one of the better athletes in the WVC, but will need more help if Pittston is going to win some games in 2014.
SCRANTON PREP 26, DUNMORE 0
The Cavaliers put up 26 first half points with an explosive offense and kept the Bucks scoreless in the season opener. Nick Solfanelli threw for 281 yards and Dunmore had no answer for receivers Dan Ryan and Kevin Sompel who each had touchdown receptions. Justin Weckel added two rushing touchdowns for Prep. Dunmore rotated four running backs but only managed 150 yards between them.
CK’s Take: Everyone was concerned about Prep’s front, but they handled the bigger Dunmore defense just fine. And if they can continue to do that and protect Solfanelli, the Cavaliers could be headed back to the district playoffs. The bigger surprise was the shutout that Prep pitched. The Bucks missed graduated back Daquan Buckley and appeared to have problems with the Prep defense who stacked the box and dared Dunmore to throw. New QB Eric DeLuccie only threw three passes in the game. We are all used to Dunmore imposing their will on other teams with their physicality, but that didn’t happen in Week 1.
HANOVER AREA 51, CARBONDALE AREA 6
The Hawkeyes were just too much in every phase of the game in a victory over the Chargers. Hanover outgained Carbondale 387 to 106. Isaiah Taylor had 115 yards and touchdown and Ya’Sir Jones had 150 total yards from scrimmage and ran for a touchdown and caught another for the Hawks. Chris Larson had the lone touchdown for the Chargers.
CK’s Take: It’s going to be a good year for Hanover and a rebuilding year for Carbondale. The Hawks have many different weapons on offense and will be better defensively than last season. They are definitely a district contender although this was not a real test. Chargers’ coach Larry Gabriel is starting a rebuilding cycle after going 9-2 last season.
VALLEY VIEW 27, MID VALLEY 12
Cougars’ running back Scot Wasilchak rushed for 252 yards and also hit the end zone three times as Valley View rolled rival Mid Valley. The junior tailback carried the ball 39 times as the Cougars were the more physical team up front. The Spartans quarterback Tyler Shay connected twice with tight end Danny Wood with TD passes of 25 and 69 yards. Evan Carey had a 53-yard interception return for Valley View in the third quarter.
CK’s Take: The Cougars looked better than they did all of last season and all preseason. They are still a young team but the difference in this game was up front. Wasilchak was a workhorse and will be all year. Shay doesn’t have much around him weapon-wise, but the connection between him and Wood, who is 6’4, will get some points on the scoreboard for Mid Valley.
WEST SCRANTON 21, RIVERSIDE 7
The Invaders scored two late touchdowns to pull away from the Vikings in a game that saw both head coaches make their debuts. West’s Josh Williams scored two touchdowns, one coming after a Riverside turnover at their own 1 yardline while freshman running back Andre Chollete, Jr. rushed for 168 yards. The Vikings scored in the fourth quarter on a 15-yard pass from QB Kenny Kielar to Matt Fallon to avoid the shutout.
CK’s Take: Chollete is the big story. The buzz was big about him in training camp and he delivered in his varsity debut. Keep an eye on this kid over the next four years. Riverside will struggle again this year, but they were a lot better defensively. Last season, they couldn’t stop anyone. They had this game at 7-0 heading into the fourth quarter. The Invaders are still a mystery as far as how they will fare in the LFC 1 this season.
NORTH POCONO 22, WESTERN WAYNE 14
The Trojans rallied from a 14 point halftime deficit to top the Wildcats. Pat Monahan ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns to pace the North Pocono comeback. Courtney Harp scored two first quarter TDs for Western Wayne and QB Scott Walck threw for 244 yards, but it wasn’t enough.
CK’s Take; In a battle of teams that are trying to get their programs headed in the right direction, North Pocono had a little more in the tank than the Wildcats. Both teams are very competitive although Western Wayne has a very small roster which could hurt them as the season goes on. Watch the Walck to Kyle Haines combination. It will be a good one.
HOLY REDEEMER 30, HOLY CROSS 0
Pat Vallani ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns as the Royals shutout the Crusaders. The defense was the story for Redeemer forcing 4 Holy Cross turnovers. Chad Fahey added two touchdowns, one on the ground and one on a pass from quarterback Jason Hoggarth.
CK’s Take: Good start for new Redeemer head coach Scott Dennis. It will be a different culture for the Royals and they will focus on defense. They have some kids who can play so it will be interesting to see how they fare in the WVC. Probably another long season for the Crusaders.
MEYERS 58, MONTROSE 0
Mark Robinson ran for four touchdowns and ran an interception back for another as the Mohawks dominated Montrose. He had touchdown runs of 25,3,27 and 60 yards plus the pick six, all in the first half.
CK’s Take: Hard to gauge how good Meyers is considering we know Montrose will struggle. We do know we had Robinson on our preseason watch list so his performance is legit. The Meteors ahve a new coach so it might take awhile to get the system down.
COUGHLIN 40, HAZLETON 7
The Crusaders used a powerful running game led by Tyler Layton to defeat Hazleton. Coughlin outgained the Cougars 372 to 85 yards. Layton and Tom Mitchell had two touchdowns each for the Crusaders. QB Jake Soller completed all four of his passes for 137 yards.
CK’s Take: Can this be the year that the Crusaders move up to the District 2 playoffs? Hard to tell from Week 1. Hazleton is starting over with new head coach Mike Brennan. Inexperience is the key word for the Cougars who only return two offensive starers.
UNIVERSITY HIGH (FL) 28, DELAWARE VALLEY 27
University High scored a late touchdown to send Delaware Valley back to PA with a loss in Week 1. The game was back and forth with DV taking a 27-21 lead late in the game only to see the Cougars rally. Lex Rosario and Matt Wagner had two touchdowns each for the Warriors.
CK’s Take: No big deal here. DV went down and represented and could have easily won the game. This game will only help them down the road. They are still a favorite in the LFC and Quad A District 2.
ATHENS 20, TUNKHANNOCK 14
The Tigers Brian Beauchemin ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns, but Athens scored a fourth quarter touchdown to seat the victory in inter district play. Tunkhannock outgained Athens but couldn’t rally at the end to get a win.
CK’s Take: Beauchemin is not the QB anymore which means he will get the ball in a lot of different scenarios. It is expected the Tigers will still struggle this season despite a lighter schedule and some decent athletes.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN 34, WILLIAMSPORT 33
Central Mountain scored a late touchdown to defeat Williamsport.
CK’s Take: The Millionaires are very young and probably year from getting back to the .500 mark or better. This is one they wish they could have back.
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