Pittston Area’s Marc Romanczuk is taken down by the WVW defense during the Patriots loss on Friday night.photo by Charlotte Bartizek
Above, Pittston Area’s Jordan Houseman (center) is congratulated by his teamates after his touchdown catch against Wyoming Valley West on Friday night. Below left, PA quarterback Anthony Schwab escapes the grasp of a WVW defender. Below right, Patriots wide receiver Evan Hahn is tackled after making one of his four catches against the Spartans.photos by Charlotte Bartizek
Wyoming Valley West head football coach Pat Keating knew Pittston Area’s record was 2-6 on the season. He also knew they were competitive in nearly every game they played thus far.
Despite trailing 14-13 in the first half, the Spartans roared back to a 37-14 victory on Friday night at Charley Trippi Stadium in Yatesville.
“I’m telling you right now, and we told our kids all week these kids at Pittston play extremely competitive and extremely tough,” WVW Head Coach Pat Keating said. “They may only have two wins, but if you look at their games from the season, they are in every single game. They play tough, they play physical and don’t shy away from anyone.”
The Patriots received the ball to start the game and made the most of it.
An 11-yard return from Jordan Houseman set the Patriots at the 35. Senior quarterback Anthony Schwab made his presence felt by connecting with receiver Evan Hahn for 32 yards on the opening play, and Schwab didn’t stop there on the very next play, finding a wide-open Houseman for the 31-yard touchdown. Chris Musto nailed the PAT and the Patriots lead was 7-0 less than two minutes into the games.
“I would have liked to have gone to Jordan (Houseman) a lot more,” Pittston Area Head Coach Mike Barrett said. “They were doing a nice job getting to the quarterback’s face so we couldn’t get to him.”
Tashawn Bunch then introduced himself to the Patriots defense on the very next drive as he broke for a 19-yard rush on the first play of the drive. He later capped the drive with a 35-yard jaunt into the end zone. Nick Singer drilled the PAT and the game was knotted at 7-7.
Later in the first. the Patriots were forced to punt from their own three-yard line allowing the Spartans to take over from the Patriot 25. On second-and 3 from the 17, WVW superstar Eugene Lewis flew by Patriot defenders and went into the end zone for a touchdown. The score remained 13-7 with 4:34 remaining, because Jake Zalewski busted through the Spartan offensive line and blocked the PAT.
The Patriots then gave the Spartans a scare when Schwab pushed his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown with 7:05 remaining in the first half. Musto split the uprights with the PAT and the Patriots lead was 14-13.
The Patriots score was made possible when Houseman picked off Lewis and returned the interception 41 yards to the Spartans 34-yard line.
The Patriots threat didn’t last long as the Spartan offense heated up late in the second half. Bunch found the end zone yet again with 6:11 in second half, this time for 20 yards. Lewis then completed the two-point conversion and the Spartans lead was 21-14.
Lewis then found the end zone for the first time with 37.6 remaining in the half. He bulldozed his way into the end zone for the one-yard rushing touchdown. Singer nailed the PAT and the Spartans held a 28-14 advantage as they headed to the locker room for half.
Bunch made it 35-14 with a one yard rushing touchdown of his own. Singer again was successful on the PAT with 8:48 remaining in the third quarter.
The Spartan defense provided the final two points for the Spartans when they sacked Schwab in his own end zone. The Wyoming Valley West lead was 37-14 with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter.
The safety proved to be more than enough for the WVW victory as the teams played scoreless the rest of the way.
“We just couldn’t tackle and that has been our Achilles heel all year,” Barrett said. “Offensively they did a nice job against us in the second half.”
Schwab was 11-22 for 137 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The senior signal caller needs just 65 yards passing to reach the 1,000-yard mark on the season
Hahn was the leading receiver for the Patriots with four receptions for 68 yards. Houseman added three receptions for 44 yards. .
Stankoski recovered a fumble for the Patriots. Sammy Falcone and Kyle Gattuso led the Patriots on defense. Romanczuk led the Patriot ground game with 11 carries for 43 yards.
PA travels to West Pittston on Friday night to take on Wyoming Area (6-2). The Warriors clinched a place in the District 2 Class 2A playoffs with their win against Northwest.