WEST PITTSTON – Wyoming Area had some bright spots while opening the football season against what potentially could be the top team in the Wyoming Valley Conference or even all of District 2.
Two short passes that turned into long touchdowns in the second quarter and a flurry to open the third quarter, however, meant Wyoming Valley West was able to break away for what became a 42-17 Wyoming Valley Conference victory.
Wyoming Valley West scored three touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the second half to expand its lead to 42-7 and place the rest of the game in the Mercy Rule.
The Spartans needed 55- and 68-yard touchdown passes in the second quarter to take a 20-7 halftime lead.
“Two screen passes,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said. “If you can make a play on those, you’re in the game and it’s potentially closer at halftime.”
Sophomore Nick Heil used his speed to play well on special teams and junior Brandon Charney came off the bench to provide some second-half offense.
Wyoming Valley West took a 14-0 lead on a 19-yard Sean Judge run in the first quarter and the 55-yard pass from Aaron Austin to Devon Weidman in the second.
The Warriors were still looking for initial first down when Heil returned the kickoff 83 yards to the 7.
“He’s one of those guys who’s certainly on the radar,” Spencer said of Heil, who also raced down field on kick coverage to make a tackle inside the 20. “He has the potential to be athletic and make contributions. It was good to see him have that opportunity.”
P.J. Angeli rolled left on second down from the 6 and Dante DeLuca reached high to pull in the pass in the end zone. David Klaproth added the extra point to cut the Spartans lead to 14-7 with 8:04 left in the half.
The Spartans scored the next 28 points, including back-to-back touchdowns by Judge.
Judge turned an Austin pass into the 68-yard touchdown in the second quarter then returned a fumble 31 yards for a score on the first play of the second half.
Charney took over at tailback in the third quarter and carried 15 times for a team-high 91 yards. He got many of those yards while Valley West had its starting lineup still in the game, then scored a 35-yard touchdown against the reserves with 3:02 remaining.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Klaproth kicked a 34-yard field goal.
Austin finished 14-for-18 for 262 yards and two touchdowns passing while leading his team in rushing with 35 more yards and another score in his first game as a starting quarterback.
Wyoming Valley West 42, Wyoming Area 17
Wyoming Valley West`7`13`22`0`—`42
WVW – Sean Judge 19 run (Jake Gurtis kick), 4:51
WVW – Devon Weidman 55 pass from Aaron Austin (Gurtis kick), 8:53
WA – Dante DeLuca 6 pass from P.J. Angeli (David Klaproth kick), 8:04
WVW – Judge 68 pass from Austin (kick failed), 5:17
WVW – Judge 31 fumble return (pass failed), 11:39
WVW – Austin 21 run (Bill Davison run), 9:10
WVW – Davison 5 run (Austin run), 5:09
WA – Klaproth 34 FG, 7:51
WA – Brandon Charney 35 run (Klaproth kick), 3:02
RUSHING — WVW, Austin 6-35, Davison 3-33, Weidman 1-14, Judge 5-14, Chris Melovitz 3-9, Zach Davies 1-8, Damian Davies 1-7, Sean Mikovitch 2-minus 5. WA, Charney 15-91, Brian Miles 15-53, Donovan O’Boyle 1-3, Angeli 1-minus 8.
PASSING — WVW, Austin 14-18-1-262, D. Davies 0-1-0-0. WA, Angeli 2-4-0-7, Steve Homza 2-4-0-7.
RECEIVING — WVW, Weidman 5-90, L.J. Wesneski 5-73, Judge 2-79, Davison 1-12, Chris Reese 1-8. WA, DeLuca 1-6, O’Boyle 1-5, Kyle Carr 1-2, Miles 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS — WA, Angeli 1-18.
MISSED FGs — None.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.