WEST PITTSTON — Wyoming Area got its workhouse back in a big way Friday night.
After missing three quarters against Hanover Area with a leg injury last week, Warriors running back Brian Miles was thrust back into the action against GAR. Wyoming Area wasn’t sure it would have Miles until late in the week, but the senior showed up.
Miles ran for 86 yards in the first half, including two touchdowns, and finished with 172 rushing yards as Wyoming Area picked up its sixth win of the season in a 35-14 Wyoming Valley Conference win over GAR. The Warriors finished with 358 yards rushing and averaged six yards per carry.
“The run game was a priority this week even though we didn’t know if we would have Brian or not,” Wyoming Area head coach Randy Spencer said. “Along with Brandon Charney, the more runners with experience the better.”
Miles added a 28-yard reception to his night in the fourth quarter to get to 200 yards of total offense. He accounted for more than half of his team’s offensive production. The senior said the win was extra special because it was part of the school’s homecoming celebration.
“It felt great to get back on the field and help my team out again,” he said. “The linemen were making holes and I was able to take advantage of it.”
Even though Miles sat out the first series, the Warriors (6-1) did enough damage with fellow tailback Brandon Charney. Charney, who replaced Miles last week, finished with 73 yards and three touchdowns. He opened the scoring for Wyoming Area and had back-to-back touchdowns runs of six yards in the fourth quarter.
Charney also converted all five of his extra point attempts, meaning he accounted for 23 of Wyoming Area’s 35 points.
Although Wyoming Area ended up winning by three touchdowns, the Warriors had their hands full with a talented GAR team, which fell to 3-4 on the season.
Down 21-0 late in the second quarter, GAR’s Tashawn Qualls picked off a PJ Angeli pass and took it 78 yards to the house with 36 seconds left before halftime. From there, the momentum turned in GAR’s favor. Wyoming Area’s first possession of the third quarter ended in a missed 26-yard field goal attempt from Charney.
The two teams traded punts before GAR had its best drive of the game.
Starting on their own 11, the Grenadiers moved the ball through the air to get into scoring position. Qualls hit Tyrone Qualls for 26 yards, and then added a 13-yard run. His next pass was good for 14 yards to Malachai Williams. Two plays later, on a 3-and-18, Tashawn rolled to his right and found Nate Luckey in the end zone for a 22-yard score.
With the Grenadiers back within a touchdown, Wyoming Area scored on two of its next three possessions to seal the win. James Eslick’s third-down sack on Tashawn stalled a GAR drive that would have tied the game at 21.
The Warriors struggled for the second straight game through the air, but Angeli finished with 41 yards on four completions to four different receivers.
“We need to be better on throwing the ball and more situational players,” Spencer said. “You have to grind through that and eventually we did.”
Wyoming Area held GAR to less than 50 yards of offense in the first half. Spencer said his defenders stepped up to the challenge.
“It’s critical with that type of offense,” Spencer said. “The key is always tackling and we did that today.”
Wyoming Area 35, GAR 14
WA — Brandon Charney 6 run (Charney kick), 7:04
WA — Brian Miles 1 run (Charney kick), 0:58
WA — Miles 1 run (Charney kick), 7:42
GAR — Tashawn Qualls 78 interception return (Muhaideen Tajuddin kick), 0:36
GAR — Nate Luckey 22 pass from Qualls (Tajuddin kick), 0:00
WA — Charney 6 run (Charney kick), 4:30
WA — Charney 6 run (Charney kick), 1:24
RUSHING — GAR, Qualls 15-72, Austin Yelland 1-18, Joshua Goodwin 8-12, Tajuddin 1-1, Mike Drozda 1-1. WA, Miles 28-172 2TD, PJ Angeli 11-76, Charney 12-73 3TD, Justin Smith 7-32, Dante DeLuca 1-5, Darren Rodney 1-0.
PASSING — GAR, Qualls 5-10-0-70 TD, Yelland 0-3-0-0. WA, Angeli 4-9-1-41.
RECEIVING — GAR, Tyrone Qualls 1-26, Luckey 1-22 TD, Malachai Williams 1-14, Goodwin 1-6, Tajuddin 1-2. WA, Miles 1-28, Jeff Urban 1-12, Justin Joseph 1-2, Steve Homza 1-(-1).
INTERCEPTIONS — GAR, Qualls 1-78 TD.
MISSED FGs — Charney (26).
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick