Wyoming Area’s Nick O’Brien (8) gets a block from EJ Driving Hawk (50) on his way to a big gain during the Warriors win over Lake-Lehman on Friday night. O’Brien rushed for 218 yards and four touchdowns.photo by tony callaio
It’s been two weeks since Wyoming Area stepped on a football field. Forced to cancel its game with West Scranton last week because of the flooding to West Pittston and other west-side communities, the Warriors were chomping at the bit to get back to the gridiron and prove they were better than the team that gave up a 34-12 halftime lead in its opener.
It didn’t take Wyoming Area long to do just that.
Junior quarterback Nick O’Brien scored on the Warriors first play from scrimmage on his way to a huge night as Wyoming Area smashed Lake-Lehman, 43-10, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 2A game at Edwards Stadium on Friday night in the Back Mountain.
On Lake Lehman’s first possession it seemed as if the predictions of a shootout were going to come true. The Black Knights moved the ball down the field with ease on the Warriors defense until Lehman quarterback Jared Novitski threw a backward pass and missed his receiver. The ball was ruled a fumble which the Warriors recovered to set up O’Brien
O’Brien – who rushed for 218 yards and four touchdowns on the night – took his first snap with approximately 10 minutes on the clock and ripped up the middle through a wide-open hole for a 61-yard touchdown. Freshman Jeff Skursky ran in the two-point conversion and the Warriors led, 8-0.
“My coach just has put me in a good position to make plays,” said O’Brien on his performance.
Lake-Lehman then got the ball back on the six-yard line and went three-and-out. The punt snap went over the punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety to give WA a 10-0 lead.
The Black Knights seemed as if it they were going to make it a competitive when tailback Nick Shelley ran around the outside of a Wyoming Area defender for a 22-yard touchdown to get Lake-Lehman within 10-7.
On its next possession, Lehman knotted the score at 10-10 as Novitski booted a 36-yard field goal with 2:36 to go in the first half.
That’s when the tide turned.
It took all of a minute for the Warriors to drive down the field and score on a perfectly thrown ball by O’Brien that went over the shoulder of the defender and into the hands of Justin Langdon for a 29-yard touchdown pass. The kick failed, but WA had retaken the lead at 16-10 with 1:15 left in the second quarter.
Wyoming Area scored again before the first half ended when a Ryan Filipiak fumble recovery set up a 3-yard Jeff Skursky touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half. O’Brien then found Cody Schmitz in the endzone for the two-point pass, and the Warriors went to the locker room ahead 24-10.
O’Brien immediately started off the second half with a bang, rushing for 35 yards in two plays adding another touchdown on a 9-yard run just 30 seconds into the third quarter for a 30-10 lead. The shifty O’Brien added two more scores on the night on runs two and six yards as the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Wyoming Area had a great game on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Black Knights to just seven yards passing. Freshman Marty Michaels highlighted the effort with an interception.
It was a refreshing performance by a defense that blew a late lead in its first game of the season. Spencer said that after losing a week worth of preparation they were, “hoping for the best.”
“We really have to put on the throttle and not give up,” said Spencer on finishing games. “Just right from the outset we wanted to put the foot on the gas.”
Dispatch Staff Writer Rick Notari also contributed to this report.