Ryan Murray and Farrad Condry caught passes that both produced and prevented touchdowns Friday night.
Murray and Condry scored on touchdown passes and made interceptions to lead Wyoming Area to its first win of the season, 20-12 over host Hanover Area in a Wyoming Valley Conference game.
“We’re facing a lot of adversity as everyone knows,” Warriors coach Randy Spencer said. “It’s a credit to the kids and how resilient they are.
“This is the first step in the right direction. Now it’s up to them to keep it moving.”
Murray and Condry each had a lot to do with moving in the right direction. They caught touchdown passes from Ryan Gorki for a 14-0 first-half lead.
The 0-3 start, including a pair of Mercy Rule games, could have gotten the Warriors down heading into the game against the Hawkeyes (1-3).
“It was tough, but we do have a good team and I knew we could do it,” said Murray, who contributed on offense, defense and the special teams.
Murray got down the field to pounce on a muffed punt at the Hanover Area 12 just 3:10 into the game and Jason Wilson got on another four minutes later.
“Those mistakes were big,” Spencer said. “It was good heads-up hustle to get there.”
Condry pulled in a 10-yard touchdown pass on the second play after Murray’s recovery.
Murray scored on an 11-yard pass and Danielle Stillarty added her second extra point for a 14-0 lead with 7:08 remaining in the half.
Murray then went to work on defense. He broke up a fourth-down pass from the Warriors 13 with 1:53 left in the half, then made an interception at the 14 and returned it 30 yards with 19 seconds left.
“I just watch the quarterback’s eyes,” said Murray, who broke up another pass during the final two minutes of the half when Wyoming Area held on to a shutout.
Murray also finished with a game-high 10 tackles, including one for a 15-yard loss, along with two assists.
Hanover Area cut the gap to 14-12 in the second half on a pair of short Isaiah Taylor touchdown runs.
The Hawkeyes raced up the field after A.J. Lenkaitis pinned them at the 3 with a punt following a four-minute Warriors drive to start the second half.
Hanover Area moved the first 95 yards on three running plays in 26 seconds. Mike Kremenic went 36 yards, then Taylor broke off runs of 19 and 40 to put the ball at the 2.
Taylor pushed it in to the end zone with a pair of one-yard runs. A penalty moved the conversion attempt to within 1 ½ yards of the goal line and the Hawkeyes went for two, only to have Robert Wargo bust into the backfield to throw Taylor for a loss.
The Warriors stayed on top on another two-point conversion stop with 5:25 left. Pass pressure chased Jacob Peters back and his throw went off a receiver’s hands in the end zone to keep Wyoming Area in front, 14-12.
Wyoming Area held on by preventing Peters from hitting any of his last five pass attempts. He completed two of his first four attempts, including a 50-yarder, but finished just 5-for-22 for 76 yards.
“We’ve got a lot of young defensive backs back there,” Spencer said. “I thought they did a good job tonight. They certainly held up under fire.”
Frank Yurek rushed Peters into an incompletion on fourth down from his 12 with 2:33 on the clock and no Hanover Area timeouts left.
Hawkeyes coach Ron Hummer instructed his team to let Jason Wilson score from the 10 on second down and a blocked kick kept Hanover Area within eight points for one final possession.
“We gave up a score at the end because we have to,” Hummer said.
Condry thwarted the strategy with an interception and 29-yard return to the Hanover Area 7. A flag for possible Wyoming Area pass interference was waved off after a conference of officials.
The Warriors then took a knee three times to kill the clock.
Wyoming Area won while playing without leading rusher and tackler Jeff Skursky. Spencer said Skursky has a mild concussion and may be able to return next week for a home game with Nanticoke (1-3).
Wargo led the team in rushing with 41 yards on five carries. On defense, he was in on eight tackles and broke up a pass.
Jeremy Seabridge, who caught two passes for 31 yards, contributed defensively with five tackles, including a sack for a nine-yard loss. He also had four assists and batted down a pass.
Gorki, who was 6-for-11 for 93 yards and the two touchdowns passing, and Wilson each ran for 37 yards. Ben Steve had four catches for 70 yards.
The Warriors overcame 13 penalties for 112 yards.