WEST PITTSTON — The momentum was beginning to swing in Wyoming Area’s favor.
And once again the Warriors were proving they are a second half team.
Beginning a drive on their own 4-yard line and trailing by a touchdown, the Warriors were moving the football.
They found the short, underneath passes to be most effective and there was no reason to change.
One big pass play had Wyoming Area at the Scranton Prep 29-yard line, and it appeared as if the Warriors were going to keep that second half magic going.
That was before Scranton Prep defensive end Kyle Polishan came up with the play of the night for the Cavaliers.
Polishan, a 6-foot-3, 245 pound defensive end, didn’t rush the quarterback he dropped a few steps back. And when he did, he picked off a pass with 2:02 left in the game to preserve Scranton Prep’s 14-7 victory at Sobeski Stadium.
The win improved the Cavaliers to 4-1 on the year, while Wyoming Area suffered its first loss of the season and dropped to 4-1.
“Kyle is a freak of nature, he is a big, long kid,” Scranton Prep coach Terry Gallagher said. “I am glad defensively he made the play. He did it in practice a couple of times.”
The Warriors fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. Mario Giannone scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass, and quarterback Jake Ryan scored on a 19-yard run.
“All the credit to Scranton Prep, we knew they were probably the best team we played up to this point,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said. “They played like it. Our response was there. We talked about growth and maturity and developing. We have to start stronger.”
The Warriors were able to pull within seven with 3:39 left in the third quarter when quarterback P.J. Angeli scored on a 5-yard run. The drive covered 60 yards and lasted 14 plays.
Wyoming Area’s last chance to tie the game before the Polishan interception began on its own 4-yard line following a Scranton Prep punt.
Angeli went to work out of the shotgun with just two pass completions going for more than 14 yards.
“They were dinking and dunking at the end and sometimes that is tough to get pressure,” Gallagher said. “We tried to mix (defensive alignment) up here and there. If they were going to dink and dunk us, we can live with that.”
The Warriors saw the coverage and went with the short, quick passing game to move down the field.
It was a quick pass to the right side of the formation that Polishan picked off.
“It was an alert play by (Polishan),” Spencer said. “He was in position and he made a football play. That is something we have in the quick game toward the end of the game. It is another timing thrown. Rather than being aggressive off the edge, I think (Polishan) backed off. That is what length can do for you.”
WEST PITTSTON — Down seven with less than three minutes to play, Wyoming Area tight end Dante Deluca hauled in a 40-yard catch-and-run from quarterback PJ Angeli.
The Warriors were in business with the ball inside the Scranton Prep 25. The next play handed the Warriors their first loss of the season.
Angeli dropped back and went for a quick slant. Scranton Prep lineman Kyle Polishan dropped back in coverage and leaped at the quick pass, intercepting it and sealing Wyoming Area’s fate. The Cavaliers would run the clock out and snap Wyoming Area’s 5-game winning streak dating back to last season with a 14-7 decision Friday night at Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium.
The loss drops Wyoming Area to 4-1 after winning its first four games of the season. Scranton Prep has now won four straight to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Of the interception, Wyoming Area head coach Randy Spencer noted that Polishan was having a great game up to that point.
“It was an alert play by (Polishan),” he said. “It was a timing throw and rather being aggressive off the edge he backed off a little bit.”
The Warriors had issues moving the ball in the first half - they totaled less than 60 yards, while Scranton Prep put up nearly 120. However, this season’s Warriors have been the comeback kids. In each game this season, Wyoming Area found itself down at some point of the game.
“As great as the response is, the next step is to not get in that position,” he said. “We need to come out of the gate and take care of business. We have to start strong as well as finishing strong.”
With both teams battling for the top spot in District 2 in their respective classes, the second half seemed to belong to Wyoming Area.
Prep opened the third quarter with a three-and-out. From there, Wyoming Area marched 60 yards more than seven minutes before Angeli capped off the drive with a 5-yard run. The Warriors’ lone score was aided by the hook-and-ladder.
The Warriors faced a 2-and-15 on the Prep 35 when Angeli hit Homza on a 5-yard out. Homza pitched the ball to running back Brian Miles who raced down the sideline to the Prep 12. Four players later, Angeli punched it in.
Scranton Prep was driving late in the third and had a chance to go back up by two scores.
Inside the Wyoming Area 25, Ricky Morgan ran off the left side and was met by James Eslick who forced, and recovered a fumble to halt the drive. Both teams would then trade possessions until Wyoming Area took over at their own 23 with four minutes to play, still down seven.
Five plays into the drive, and at the Wyoming Area 43, Angeli was sacked for a 10-yard loss to force a 2-and-24. That’s when Angeli hit DeLuca along the sideline. DeLuca dodged Prep would-be tackles and made it all the way down to the Scranton Prep 29. Polishan made his play on the next Angeli dropback.
The Warriors had a chance when they got the ball back with four seconds left inside their own 10, but time expired two plays later.
Miles game into the game third in rushing in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 4A. He left Friday’s game with 17 carries for 62 yards.
“(Scranton Prep) did a nice job against the run,” Spencer said. “We knew they were probably the best team we faced this year. Our response was there but we have to be able to start strong.”
The Warriors out-gained Scranton Prep in the second half by nearly double. If it weren’t for a 44-yard run late by Morgan, Wyoming Area would have held the Cavaliers to just 54 yards in the second half. Scranton Prep 14, Wyoming Area 7 Scranton Prep`0`14`0`0`—`14 Wyoming Area`0`0`7`0`—`7 Second quarter
SP — Mario Giannone 5 pass from Jake Ryan (Alec Buttner kick), 7:51
SP — Ryan 19 run (Buttner kick), 2:46 Third quarter
SP — PJ Angeli 5 run (Brandon Charney kick), 3:39 Team statistics`SP`WA
Penalties-yards`1-0`8-45 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING — SP, Ricky Morgan 28-148, Ryan 5-27 TD, Braden Burrier 2-24. WA, Brian Miles 17-62, Angeli 15-31 TD, Justin Joseph 1-1. PASSING — SP, Ryan 7-15-1-46 TD. WA, Angeli 16-24-1-140, Steve Homza 0-3-0-0. RECEIVING — SP, Mario Gianonne 4-20 TD, Tommy Doherty 3-26. WA, Dante DeLuca 2-47, Homza 9-61, Jake Urban 3-24, Joseph 1-2, Darren Rodney 1-6. INTERCEPTIONS — SP, Kyle Polishan 1-0. WA, Angeli 1-0. MISSED FGs — None.
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