SCRANTON — A year ago against Scranton, Wyoming Valley West linebackers Bill Davidson and Jeremy Kozich made their first varsity starts. And Scranton running back Jake McCarthy ran wild.
Friday night was quite different. Davidson and Kozich were part of a defense that kept McCarthy in check for the most part as the Spartans shut down Scranton in the second half for a 28-14 victory.
McCarthy finished Friday’s game with 124 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. But considering his performance in last year’s matchup — 276 yards and five TDs — the Spartans (3-0) were rather pleased.
“It was just the whole defense, really,” said Davidson, a sophomore.
A defense with many new faces but still stinging from last year’s performance.
“We were really pumped up,” said Kozich, a junior. “Me and Bill Davidson, that was the first game we started last year as a freshman and sophomore and he ran all over us. We just wanted to get back here and shut him down.”
McCarthy’s longest run of the night was for 28 yards, a far cry from the three TD runs of 56 yards or more in Scranton’s 34-14 victory last year.
“That was the big thing,” Valley West coach Pat Keating said. “There’s no way you’re going to completely shut that kid down, he’s too good. We didn’t let him break free, get to the third level and beyond the third level for long runs.”
As for the biggest run of the night, Valley West freshman Shawn Judge had that honor. He took a handoff from quarterback Mike Baur, started around left end, cut diagonally across the field through a sea of players and scored from 80 yards out. The touchdown gave Valley West a 14-6 lead at 9:25 of the second quarter.
Scranton (2-1) responded with a 5-yard TD run by McCarthy and a two-point conversion to tie the score 14-14 at halftime. The Knights did very little on offense after that.
Valley West took the lead on the fourth play of the third quarter when Baur connected with receiver Mike Sands down the left sideline for a 37-yard touchdown. The point-after gave the Spartans a 21-14 advantage.
The Spartans’ offense in the second half did just as much as the defense in preventing a comeback. The unit’s final scoring drive last 14 plays and ate up nearly seven minutes of the fourth quarter. Baur, who converted two fourth-down plays with runs, scored on an 8-yard run with 1:48 to play.
“You can’t ask for anything more than that, especially with the win in our face,” Keating said. “We didn’t want to punt the ball in the wind. We were hoping to get one or two first downs for field position. We ended up really turning it out.”
Wyoming Valley West 28, Scranton 14
Wyoming Valley West`7`7`7`7`—`28
WVW — Mike Baur 28 run (Ian Ultsh kick), 8:23
SCR — Jake McCarthy 1 run (kick blocked), 9:44
WVW — Shawn Judge 80 run (Ultsh kick), 9:25
SCR — McCarthy 5 run (Marcus Morrison from Kyle Pieczynski), 7:19
WVW — Mike Sands 37 pass from Baur (Ultsh kick), 10:42
WVW — Baur 8 run (Ultsh kick), 1:48
RUSHING — WVW, Eric Acosta 16-45, Baur 15-98, Judge 3-75, Troy Yashinski 1-4, Bill Davidson 2-5, team 1-(minus-1). Scranton, McCarthy 26-124, Pieczynski 6-(minus-5), Morrison 2-(minus-3), Tyriek Mines 1-1.
PASSING — WVW, Baur 6-12-0-76, Brady Davidson 2-4-0-30. Scranton, Pieczynski 7-15-0-97.
RECEIVING —WVW, Bill Davidson 1-(minus-3), Jermichael Bunch 1-26, Sands 4-68, Baur 1-4, Chris Baranski 1-11. Scranton, Joshua Gonzalez 3-33, McCarthy 1-2, Ramon Fields 2-57, Morrison 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS — None.
MISSED FGs —None.