Coughlin’s J.P. Kearney gets a pass off under pressure from Wyoming Valley West’s Justin Pekarovsky as Harvey Everret blocks in Kingston Friday eveningTimes Leader Staff Photo/S. John Wilkin
Couhglin’s Jason Walton twists out of a tackle by Wyoming Valley West’s Bill Court.Times Leader Staff Photo/S.John Wilkin
KINGSTON—You can’t change the past, but Wyoming Valley West coach George Curry couldn’t get his team’s recent loss to Hazleton Area off his mind after the Spartans devoured Coughlin 48-20 on Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
And for good reason. The Hazleton loss is the only thing that stood between Wyoming Valley West and an unbeaten season in Curry’s first year at the helm.
However, Curry had a lot to be happy about. Friday’s victory gave his team the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 4A championship, which is based on state point totals. The Spartans advanced to next week’s District 2-11 subregional against an opponent still to be determined.
“We played well before the Hazleton game, and have played well since then,” said Curry, who realized that the way the Spartans played Friday, they’re capable of beating anyone. “But the bottom line is we’re going to the state playoffs.”
The Spartans, who scored 105 points in their final two games of the regular season, simply ran roughshod over a Coughlin team that came in riding a four-game winning streak. With senior quarterback Pat Resetar leading the way, Wyoming Valley West racked up 348 rushing yards, while the stingy Spartans defense held the Crusaders to just 55 yards on the ground.
“We executed well,” said Resetar, who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 140 yards. “Except for a couple of defensive mistakes, we dominated the game.”
The two mistakes Resetar referred to resulted in a pair of long touchdown strikes by the Crusaders (4-6) in the third quarter. The first one occurred when running back Mike Smith broke free over the middle and was wide open for a 59-yard touchdown pass from J.P. Kearney with 6:50 left in the period.
On the Crusaders next possession, Smith made a sensational catch with Spartan defensive back Hamat Sanyang draped over him and coasted in for a 62-yard touchdown.
Fortunately for the Spartans, they were in complete control of the game. They still led 33-20 after Smith’s second score.
Resetar wasted no time making his presence felt. On Valley West’s first possession, he scored on a 37-yard TD run at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter. The Spartans took a 21-0 lead on Resetar’s 14-yard TD run in the second quarter.
Resetar’s third TD came on a 62-yard run, in which he broke free down the right sideline and was untouched, extending the Spartans lead to 41-20.
Jonathan Kocher also had three TDs for Valley West on runs of 5, 22 and 1 yard, respectively, and Jim Crossin had a 9-yard scoring run.
Coughlin coach Ciro Cinti said his team put up a gallant effort against an exceptional team. “Our seniors played their hearts out. I’m very proud of them. They helped turn our program around.”
Curry, meanwhile, is optimistic about the playoffs.
“We got down to business and did what we had to do tonight. The sub-regioinal playoffs are up for grabs. There’s no dominant team -- everybody has a chance.”