HAWLEY — Rashawn Battle went into the season with a commitment to Rutgers University already in place.
Friday night, he showed Wyoming Area why.
Battle went over 100 yards rushing – in each half – while leading Wallenpaupack to a 27-16, home-field victory in a non-league game between District 2 Class 3A teams.
“He showed what a big-time player can do,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said.
Battle carried 29 times for 276 yards and three touchdowns to help the Buckhorns improve to 5-4.
“When Battle’s healthy, you have to be ready for him running downhill,” Spencer said.
The Warriors threw Battle for losses twice and stopped him for no gain three times, but he wore them down with a steady dose of simple off-tackle plays that he turned into gains of 13 or more yards nine times.
Wyoming Area rallied to within five points twice in the second half before Battle’s 41-yard run with 4:24 remaining and Todd Frick’s interception two minutes later locked up the win.
“We knew they were a tough team and knew they would not give up,” said Battle, who ran for 117 yards on 14 first-half carries and scored touchdowns in both the first and second quarters.
Wyoming Area mishandled a short punt and Dan Vasey recovered for Wallenpaupack, setting up the Buckhorns for their second possession at the Wyoming Area 37.
Battle went 34 yards for the touchdown on the second play for a 7-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
Steve Homza, who split time as Wyoming Area quarterback last week, went the distance for the first time. He completed four of his first five passes while leading the Warriors down the field for a 22-yard field goal with 2:33 left in the first quarter.
Battle had runs of 13 and 24 yards late in the first quarter on a drive that carried over to his 2-yard touchdown with 10:35 left in the second quarter for a 14-3 halftime lead.
Wallenpaupack escaped with a fumble recovery at its 3 with 1:15 left in the half.
Brian Miles led the Wyoming Area offense including a 64-yard run on his team’s first play of the second half to cut the deficit to 14-9.
Miles carried 20 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns, completed his only pass for 20 yards and had an 11-yard catch.
The Buckhorns answered in 2:13, with Battle’s 21-yard run helping to set up Mike Ingulli’s 31-yard run.
Ingulli added 82 yards to a 342-yard ground game.
The Warriors were stopped on downs at the 25 late in the third quarter, but drove 57 yards in 10 plays to score with 7:06 left on a 1-yard Miles run.
Wallenpaupack again answered in less than three minutes with Battle’s last touchdown.
Homza finished 10 for 20 passing for 95 yards and carried seven times for 40 yards. On his interception on the team’s final offensive play, he was involved in a hard collision while making the tackle, possibly hitting his head. He was being evaluated on the sideline following the game.
Wallenpaupack 27, Wyoming Area 16
WAL – Rashawn Battle 34 run (Matt Vosburg kick), 7:26
WA – David Klaproth 22 FG, 2:33
WAL – Battle 2 run (Vosburg kick), 10:35
WA – Brian Miles 64 run (pass failed), 8:16
WAL – Mike Ingulli 31 run (Vosburg kick), 6:03
WA – Miles 1 run (Klaproth kick), 7:06
WAL – Battle 41 run (kick blocked), 4:24
RUSHING —WA, Miles 20-140, Steve Homza 7-40, Donovan O’Boyle 3-6. WAL, Battle 29-276, Ingulli 12-82, Max Alessi 3-9, Zach Maldaker 1-minus 1, Team 3-minus 4, Tom McCormick 3-minus 20.
PASSING — WA, Homza 10-20-1-95, Miles 1-1-0-20. WAL, McCormick 0-3-0-0.
RECEIVING — WA, Anthony Saitta 3-25, P.J. Angeli 3-25, Kyler Higgins 1-24, Homza 1-20, Miles 1-11, O’Boyle 1-8, Dylan Kostak 1-2.
INTERCEPTIONS — WA, None. WAL, Todd Frick 1-24.
MISSED FGs — None.
Reach Times Leader sports at 579-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports