The high school football season kicked off last Friday.
For most Wyoming Valley Conference teams, that is. A few others had to wait until Saturday, a day when high school football takes a bit of a back seat to major college football.
Nonetheless, an extra day was worth the wait, especially for Coughlin senior tailback Zac Evans. Evans rushed for a career-high 211 yards as the Crusaders defeated Tunkhannock 28-0 in the week one finale Saturday night.
"You get a little anxious, but it's great," Evans said of waiting while others played Friday. "We're the only game in town. Everybody came out to see us, and we gave them a good show."
Tony Le and the other guys on the Wyoming Valley West defensive line put on a nice show as well. They recorded seven sacks Saturday afternoon in a 28-14 victory over Dallas.
"It was amazing," Le said. "To hit another team, it felt great. We were pumped. The last two years they beat us, so we just wanted to come out here and win."
So did Dallas coach Bob Zaruta, who was making his coaching debut.
"In some ways, I felt back in the days when I played football," Zaruta said. "I had butterflies in my stomach as well. More anxious than anything just to get it going."
Valley West played Saturday afternoon and now has to make a long trip to Delaware Valley for a game that could eventually determine a District 2/4 berth in the D2/4-11 Class 4A playoffs.
Valley West coach Pat Keating had a simple solution to coping with a lost day of preparation.
"We don't have any choice," Keating said. "I'll tell you what, I saw them (Friday night) and they are not unsound in any phase of the game. They are big, they're physical, they're fast. Their quarterback is phenomenal. We're going to have our work out for us."
A change in the District 2/4-11 Class 4A playoff format eliminated the wild-card berth.
Now, District 11 will get six spots while District 2/4 will get two. The change was due to District 11 adding another Class 4A team – East Stroudsburg North – while D2/4 lost a team when Wallenpaupack was reclassified as Class 3A.
Previously, District 11 received five spots, District 2/4 got two and the final berth went to the remaining team in either bracket with the highest state points per game average.
It means less scoreboard watching for District 2/4 teams, but a tighter fit into the playoffs.
Williamsport's Devin Miller and Caleb Belle each returned kickoffs for touchdowns last Friday. The Millionaires had no kickoff TDs last season.
Meanwhile, Northwest's Tyler Meininger and Tyler Pegarella did the same with interceptions. The Rangers had none last year.
As big as the victory over Wyoming Area was Friday night, Scranton Prep coach Nick Donato wasn't about to project the District 2 Class 3A playoff picture. His Cavaliers made a late run last season to qualify after starting the year 3-3.
"Oh boy, I can't even think about that," Donato said. "Right now, especially with our quarterback situation, I can't even make a comment on that. I have no idea. We got to get ready for Western Wayne. They're another good Double-A school."
Prep suffered a big setback when starting quarterback Griffin DiBileo missed the second half with a knee injury.
Lackawanna Trail's Cooper Rosiak returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown in a 34-8 victory over Nanticoke. Oddly, Trail had just nine defensive players on the field for the play.
All three new WVC coaches – Holy Redeemer's Pat Reece, Dallas' Bob Zaruta and Williamsport's Kevin Choate – lost their debuts last Friday.
Former Berwick coach Gary Campbell will have to wait until Saturday for his second stint at Wahconah Regional in Massachusetts to begin. His Warriors open with St. Joseph Central.
Campbell left Wahconah to take over at Berwick in 2006 before returning.
Head-to-head matchups between Lackawanna Conference and WVC teams the opening week tilted decisively to the boys up north. LFC won seven of the eight games versus WVC opponents.
The lone victory by the WVC was Meyers' 40-0 victory over Holy Cross.
Northwest was the only WVC team to have eight of its future nine opponents lose on the opening week.
All nine couldn't have lost their openers because two – Meyers and Holy Cross – played each other. Meyers won 40-0.
Teams are ranked based on performance. Number before the team in parentheses is last week's ranking. NR means not ranked the previous week.
1. (1) Dunmore (1-0)…Opened with convincing 39-0 win over North Pocono.
2. (2) Scranton (1-0)…Waiters-to-Quiller combo worked well in week one.
3. (3) Berwick (1-0)…Atmosphere at Crispin Field will be electric Friday.
4. (4) Delaware Valley (1-0)…Nearly blew a victory in opener vs. Parkland.
5. (6) Wyoming Valley West (1-0)…Has a short week to prepare for DelVal.
6. (9) Scranton Prep (1-0)…Gutted out win vs. Wyoming Area without QB.
7. (10) Old Forge (1-0)…Started slowly, but eventually routed Lake-Lehman.
8. (7) Wyoming Area (0-1)…Better than it showed in 12-6 loss to Prep.
9. (5) Dallas (0-1)…Must pass block better, get running game going.
10. (12) Abington Heights (1-0)…Defense posted a shutout vs. Pittston Area.
11. (14) Mid Valley (1-0)…Has a key D2-2A game at home vs. Wyoming Area.
12. (13) Coughlin (1-0)…Appears to have another one-two punch in backfield.
13. (15) Lakeland (1-0)…Looked like Lakeland of the past vs. GAR.
14. (NR) West Scranton (1-0)…Pulled off close victory against tough Riverside.
15. (11) Riverside (0-1)…Favored next three weeks before getting Old Forge.
Dropped out: GAR (0-1).
Given consideration: Lackawanna Trail (1-0), Meyers (1-0), Northwest (1-0), Valley View (1-0)
Mike Baur – QB – Valley West
Making his first career start, Baur rushed for 91 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 154 more in the Spartans' 28-14 victory over Dallas.
Parrish Bennett – RB – Meyers
Zac Evans – RB – Coughlin
Jake Pecorelli – WR – Berwick