It took all 10 weeks of play to figure it out, but two gridiron locals team finally know who they will play in the upcoming District 2 playoffs.
Wyoming Area will try to bounce back from a crushing loss to rival Pittston Area in the final week of the season when they host legendary coach Frank Pazzaglia and his Mid Valley Spartans on Friday night at Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium in West Pittston.
Old Forge will try to continue the momentum they have built since a controversial loss to arch-rival Riverside in Week 5 when they host a rematch with pre-season district favorite Lackawanna Trail on Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Old Forge.
The Warriors earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament despite having 10 less PIAA points than the Spartans. That’s because Wyoming Area (6-3) only played nine games, forcing the District 2 Class 2A teams to be seeded on per-game average rather then on total points.
GAR earned the top seed with a 9-1 record. The Grenadiers face a rematch with Lakeland – the only team to beat GAR this year. But the Chiefs (5-5) are a much different team then in Week 3. Lakeland had lost four-of-five games going into its Week 10 win over Western Wayne – the team that beat Wyoming Area to open the season. One other note on the GAR v. Lakeland game, Grenadiers star quarterback Darrell Crawford did not play in the loss.
Mid Valley (6-4) will be a tough opponent for the Warriors. The Spartans have won six of eight since opening the season with losses GAR and Lakeland. There other two losses have come against the top two seeds in the District 2 Class 1A tournament – Dunmore (10-0) and Old Forge (8-2). The four teams that beat Mid Valley have a combined record of 32-8.
The Spartans feature 1,600-yard speedster Antonio Russo at tailback and big-play receiver Ronny Tomasetti who has over 35 catches on the season. Russo has 20 touchdowns rushing and quarterback Martin Walsh has thrown for 987 yards and eight touchdowns. Linebackers Chris Merenich and Mark Seber lead the Mid Valley defense.
In Class 1A, Old Forge welcomes Lackawanna Trail (8-2) back to the Devils Den after they whooped the Lions 37-6 in Week 7. In that game, the Blue Devils held Trail leading rusher Eric Laytos to just 69 yards on the ground. The former PIAA wrestling champ has rushed for over 1,000 yards on the season.
In the other semifinal, Riverside (6-4) will travel to Dunmore in a rematch of a Week 10 contest that saw the Bucks throttle the Vikings, 28-0. Dunmore’s John Rinaldi tied a state record with five interceptions in the game. The Bucks feature the two-headed rushing attack of Austin Seamon and Daiqwon Buckley. The duo has rushed for over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns with Seamon accounting for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns of the total.
The semifinal winners will play Nov. 18 at the site of the highest remaining seed. There are no longer neutral site championship games in District 2.