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Written by: John Kotsko on Saturday, October 16th, 2021
The first half was not going the way Hazleton Area wanted. At the start of the second half, they had a 96 yard kickoff return for a touchdown get called back due to a block in the back. The Cougars wouldn’t be denied however as they scored on that drive, en route to 21 points in the second half as Hazleton Area took the victory on their senior night over Wilkes-Barre Area 29-10. “We just made some errors in the first half and left alot on the field. We just had to lock in. We pride ourself as a second half football team.” said Hazleton Area head coach Dennis Buchman.
Wilkes-Barre started with the ball and punted it away on their first drive. The Cougars faced a third and 15 and Tyler Wolfe found Ryan Matyas for 30 yards to the Wolf Pack 41 yard line. Three plays later, Buchman went 16 yards for the touchdown. Two offsides penalties on Wilkes-Barre Area gave the PAT try at the one yard line where they went for two and got it to 8-0 with 5:51 remaining in the first quarter.
The Wolf Pack went to work and faced a third and 9. Javant McClary found Javon Goodwin for nine. Facing a third and 10 at the Cougar 47 yard line, McClary went to Michael Andrzejewski for 17 yards. Two plays into the second quarter, McClary went to Goodwin for a 13 yard touchdown. They hit the extra point but Hazleton Area still lead 8-7 with 11:13 remaining in the second quarter.
Both teams traded three and outs. With 4:54 remaining in the second quarter, the Wolf Pack took over with great field position at the Cougar 34 yard line. The drive ended with a 21 yard field goal by Evan Corcoran to make it 10-8 with 20.8 seconds to go in the first half. Hazleton Area got a great kick return to the WBA 38. They got two plays in, the first pass fell incomplete. With 4.8 seconds left, Wolfe went to Connor Shamany in the end zone but Shamany was ruled out of bounds and the Wolf Pack led 10-8 at halftime.
Buchman returned the second half kickoff 96 yards to the house for Hazleton Area but the touchdown was called back due to an illegal block in the back and the Cougars took over at their own 12 yard line. The Cougars faced a fourth and 2 and Wolfe went to Shamany for five. On the very next play, Wolfe threw to Shamany deep for a 46 yard touchdown to give Hazleton Area a 14-10 as they failed to get the two point conversion.
The Cougars got the ball back as Luke Russo pooch kicked the ball and it bounced off a Wolf Pack player. Hazleton Area recovered and take over at the WBA 32 yard line. The drive ended with Buchman’s second touchdown of the game. The Cougars lined up for the extra point but the snap was bobbled and the holder threw it to a diving receiver who caught it for two points and it was 22-10 with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter. Hazleton Area’s defense would hold Wilkes-Barre Area off the board in the second half. Wolfe added a two yard touchdown run to make the final score 29-10.
With two games left, Buchman is still in the mentality of one game at a time. “We’re not looking ahead right now. We’re looking to play a home playoff game right now and that doesn’t happen if we don’t take care of business.” Hazleton Area travels to Valley West next week. Wilkes-Barre Area hosts Williamsport at Spartan Stadium next Saturday.
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