In Jim Norris’ second year, the Pittston Area football team dealt with losing several playmakes from their team. In turn, a cast of younger players were leaned on for the majority of the season.
Nagging injuries and season-ending injuries didn’t help the team either. The Patriots are the only team in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 2 without a football win in 2015, but they had their chances.
Here’s a recap of how Pittston Area fared this season:
Abington Heights 10, Pittston Area 0
In the opening game of the 2015 football season, the Patriots average starting field position was the 19-yard line. And while Pittston Area outgained the Comets, Abington Heights came away with a 10-0 win.
Abington Heights looked poised to take a 7-0 lead early when Brandon Hardy returned the opening kickoff 66 yards to the Patriot 23. After seven plays, however, the Comets faced a fourth-and-goal from the 2 and Pittston Area stood tall to force a turnover on downs.
Each team struggled to get the ball moving in the first three quarters. At halftime, the teams combined for just 148 yards and a 0-0 score.
Valley View 34, Pittston Area 7
The Cougars, behind the speed and agility of Scot Wasilchak, racked up 269 yards rushing in a 34-7 win over the Patriots.
Wasilchak carried the load to the tune of 29 carries for 242 yards and three touchdowns. He added a two-point conversion and also hauled in a 36-yard pass.
Wyoming Valley West 62, Pittston Area 13
Rich Wallace’s 93-yard kickoff return touchdown was the lone highlight in Pittston Area’s loss to Valley West. WVW’s Sean Judge finished with three total touchdowns, including a pair of interception returns, as the Spartans came away with a 62-13 win.
Judge finished with 28 rushing yards, 28 receiving yards, and picked off a pair of Pittston Area passes en route to 150 yards and two touchdowns. He opened the game by scoring from 16 yards out four minutes in.
Crestwood 38, Pittston Area 35
Overtime beckoned when Pittston Area’s Ryan Davis intercepted a Crestwood pass with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter. 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’ victory.
Hazleton Area 47, Pittston Area 0
Hazleton Area took their opening drive 85 yards, taking nearly six minutes of the clock, and never looked back in a 47-0 win over the Patriots.
The Cougars held Pittston Area to just 60 yards of offense and just four first downs. Pittston Area did not cross midfield all game.
Tunkhannock 21, Pittston Area 14
The Tigers won back-to-back games for the first time this season and relied on Logan and Ryan Cywinski in a 21-14 win over Pittston Area.
With a 7-0 lead entering halftime, Wallace intercepted a pass and returned it to the Tunkhannock 33 with 15 seconds left. Quarterback Walter Coles connected with Niko Cinquegrani for 26 yards down to the 7 with three seconds left. That’s when things got screwy.
The clock operator ran the game clock on the referee’s “ready for play” signal. The buzzer sounded just before the ball was snapped. It was eventually snapped and Mike McKitish put it through the uprights from 24 yards. However, due to the clock malfunction, the Patriots were forced to kick again.
So McKitish lined it up and the kick was blocked. A Pittston Area player scooped up the ball and ran in the wrong direction with the play still live. The referees blew an intavertant whistle, forcing Pittston Area to kick again.
Coughlin 42, Pittston Area 14
Coughlin’s Jake Soller finished the game with 14 carries for 278 yards and four touchdowns in a rout of Pittston Area.
Soller had touchdown runs of 1, 74, 80 and 65 on the night.
The Patriots put together an 8-play, 69-yard drive to tie the game early. On that drive, the Patriots converted three straight first downs with runs from quarterback Walter Coles, Kyle Petroski and Ryan Davis. Pittston Area found pay dirt when Coles hit Petroski for a three-yard touchdown.
Berwick 27, Pittston Area 0
Berwick’s Anthony Cicini ripped off for 114 yards on the ground and three scores, while the Bulldogs’ defense held the Patriots to a mere four yards and three first downs in a 27-0 victory Oct. 23 at Crispin Field.
Pittston went three-and-out on its five possessions in the first half, and had negative yardage for the first 24 minutes.
It got a little better in the third quarter, where two defensive pass interference penalties aided the Patriots’ best drive – advancing down to the Berwick 42.
They would go no further. A short gain on a first-down run by Ryan Davis, and two straight incomplete passes stopped the productive 11-play drive, forcing the Patriots to punt.
Dallas 42, Pittston Area 6
In a four-minute span, Dallas went from an uncomfortable lead to one it wasn’t about to let slip away.
Down just 7-0, Pittston Area faced a 3-and-7 late in the first half. Quarterback Walter Coles was picked off by Christian Roberts. Roberts scampered 41 yards for a touchdown. That was just one of three defensive touchdowns in a 3:56 span around halftime which led to a 42-6.