YATESVILLE — Offensively, the Patriots thought that had it figured out.
After turning in its best performance this season in a loss to Crestwood last week, Pittston Area’s offense faltered when they needed it most. The Patriots totaled just 60 yards of offense in a 47-0 loss at the hands of Hazleton Area on Friday night at Charley Trippi Stadium.
Against Crestwood last Saturday, Sept. 26, the Patriots racked up 369 yards of total offense. Sophomore quarterback Walter Coles threw touchdowns of 56 and 86 to Paul Brady in the first quarter. The Patriots had it clicking, only to see Crestwood kick a last-second field goal for the win.
Against the Cougars on Friday, the offense was completely shut down.
Coles completed just four passes for 19 yards and Pittston Area averaged less than two yards per carry in the loss. On the other side of the ball, it wasn’t much better.
Hazleton Area’s Adrian Otero ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. As a team, the Cougars ran 45 times for 293 yards.
The Cougars held Pittston Area to just 60 yards of offense and just four first downs. Pittston Area did not cross midfield all game. The defense forced two turnovers, including Leonel Peguero’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars lost three straight games coming into the matchup with the Patriots.
Freshman quarterback Sparky Wolk finished the game with seven completions for 122 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown strike to Jose Cabrera for the Cougars’ second score. The Cougars finished with 415 yards of total offense.
Pittston Area 35
WRIGHT TWP. — Overtime beckoned when Pittston Area’s Ryan Davis intercepted a Crestwood pass with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter Saturday, Sept. 26.
The Patriots, though, tried to squeeze a few more plays out of regulation. The strategy backfired.
Crestwood’s Nate Smith recovered a Pittston Area fumble with 9.4 seconds left, leading to a 31-yard field goal by Connor Keenan with 3.5 seconds remaining and a wild ending to the Comets’ 38-35 victory in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A game.
After a frenzied first half that saw four touchdowns of 51 yards or longer and Crestwood take a 35-28 lead, things settled down. Pittston Area finally put together a 53-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard TD run by Kyle Petroski to tie the score 35-35 with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter.
Crestwood managed to cross midfield on its ensuing drive, but Davis’ interception at the Pittston Area 22-yard line with 23 seconds left made overtime look quite possible.
Instead, the Patriots tried two pass plays. The first was incomplete. The second ended in disaster as Crestwood defensive lineman Shane O’Rouke blindsided quarterback Walter Coles, forcing the fumble that Smith recovered.
Keenan, the backup kicker last season and a soccer player, kicked his 31-yard field goal on the next play for the game-winner.
Pittston Area had scored a total of 39 points in its previous seven games, but the combination of Coles to Paul Brady clicked for touchdown passes of 56 and 86 yards in the first quarter. Rich Wallace also returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the second time this season.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick