Wyoming Valley West (8-3)
7 p.m. today
Class 4A Championship
Admission: $5 adults, $2 students in advance; $5 at the gate
The Coaches: Nazareth's Rob Melosky (76-41, 10th year); Valley West's Pat Keating (30-14, 4th year)
Last Meeting: first meeting
All-Time Series: first meeting
Quick Fact: Melosky coached Parkland to the PIAA Class 4A championship in 2002.
What's At Stake: The winner is the champion. Both teams end their seasons tonight.
Scouting Nazareth: The Blue Eagles won the D2/4-11 Class 4A subregional tournament last year, but have run into some rough patches this season. Two players, including an offensive standout, were suspended three weeks ago.
RB Shabbir Bokhari has taken over the starter's role because of the suspensions. He rushed for 115 yards and a TD in last Friday's 35-12 victory over East Stroudsburg North. He is averaging 5 yards per carry as the starter. QB Parish Simmons throw a lot in Nazareth's spread offense and recorded 263 yards in a 35-14 loss to Emmaus three weeks ago. Simmons is also a dual threat as a runner.
The victory over E.S. North snapped a three-game losing streak. The Blue Eagles have allowed 28 or more points seven times.
Scouting Valley West: The good news is Valley West posted its first shutout in its last 20 games in the semifinals. The bad news is the Spartans barely produced enough offense to defeat Emmaus 6-0.
QB Mike Baur scored on an 11-yard run with 27 seconds left for the victory. Valley West totaled a season-low 198 yards. RB Derrick Simms was held to 32 yards and 2 yards per carry. WR Lucky Williams, one of the WVC's top pass catchers, had four catches but for a mere 24 yards.
Alan Sakosky came up with an interception with 1:30 remaining to trigger Valley West's winning 75-yard drive. The defense allowed just 160 yards, its best effort since surrendering 99 to Tunkhannock in week seven.
What To Expect: Valley West is at home on a roll, albeit it really didn't show last Friday. That should be enough for the Spartans to prevail.
-- John Erzar