WVC football: Williamsport defeats Pittston Area with TD with 7.6 seconds left.

By John Erzar - [email protected]
Pittston Area running back Dylan Lukachko stretch for a first down as the Williamsport defense closes in on him in the first quarter Friday night. - Fred Adams | for Times Leader
Pittston Area tight end Anthony Gorey takes a screen pass from quarterback Mike Nocito and goes for an 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter Friday night. - Fred Adams | for Times Leader
Pittston Area wide receiver Andrew Krawczyk runs 16 yards on a pass from Mike Nocito during Friday night’s game with Williamsport. - Fred Adams | for Times Leader
Pittston Area quarterback Mike Nocito gets tackled by Williamsport’s Aykeem Cowan-Connelly during the second quarter Friday night. - - Fred Adams | for Times Leader
Williamsport wide receiver Marcus Simmons makes a catch as Pittston Area defensive lineman Seth Johnson moves in for the tackle Friday night. - - Fred Adams | for Times Leader

YATESVILLE — Williamsport hadn’t stopped Pittston Area’s running game all night, so the Millionaires figured they weren’t going to stop it late in the game.

So they let the Patriots score and took their chances with their offense Friday night.

The strategy worked as quarterback Joe Fagnano led Williamsport down the field with just over a minute to play and then threw an 11-yard TD pass to Marcus Simmons with 7.6 seconds left for a 36-33 victory in a Wyoming Valley Conference interdivisional game.

Williamsport improved to 5-2 while Pittston Area fell to 3-4.

“I’m so proud of the way the kids played,” Pittston Area coach Nick Barbieri said. “That’s great football team, and we’ve been struggling running the ball and we ran it very well. We’ve been struggling defensively, and with the exception of that last drive I thought we played well defensively.”

Pittston Area was ahead 26-22 late in the fourth quarter and gashing the Williamsport defense with running plays — mainly by Dylan Lukachko, who finished with 157 yards — when disaster struck. The Patriots fumbled and Williamsport’s Brock Moyer scooped up the ball and ran 69 yards for a TD and a 29-26 Williamsport lead with 3:06 remaining in regulation.

“We’re going in to ice the game and we turn over the ball and they run it in for a touchdown,” Barbieri said. “And we were running the ball down their throat. All we got to do is run it a few more times and the game is over.”

The Patriots, though, responded with a 55-yard scoring drive where Williamsport allowed quarterback Mike Nocito to score from the 1-yard line for a 33-29 lead. But, more importantly, the Millionaires kept 1:05 on the clock to get a chance to respond.

Fagnano did, leading the Millionaires on a 60-yard, game-winning scoring drive.

Fagnano’s performance included an 11-yard pass to Dallas Griess on a fourth-and-10 to put the ball at the Pittston Area 35-yard line with 30 seconds left. After scrambling for a first down, Fagnano threw 14 yards to Simmons, who got out of bounds at the 11 with 12 seconds left. Fagnano then hit Simmons on a slant in the middle of the end zone for the go-ahead score with 7.6 seconds remaining.

“I had the utmost confidence in Joe,” Williamsport coach Chuck Crews said. “It worked out perfectly under the circumstances. We burned our last timeout when they we’re at the 1-inch line and that put them in a really tough situation. Does he take a knee and think he can get it? Because we were completely dead in the water.

“So we told the defense let him score and we’ll take out chances with the offense.”

Pittston Area’s only hope was a kick return touchdown, but the Millionaires snuffed out a lateral on the play to end the game.

Williamsport played without standout senior running back Treyson Potts, who is out for the season with a left knee injury which will require surgery. The Minnesota-bound Potts, who didn’t make the long trip, missed his entire junior year with a right knee injury.

Williamsport 36, Pittston Area 33

Williamsport`0`14`0`22 — 36

Pittston Area`7`0`12`14 — 33

First quarter

PA — Tony Gorey 18 pass from Mike Nocito (Luchia Carabetta kick), 3:04

Second quarter

WIL — Dallas Griess 50 pass from Joe Fagnano (Sam Hillman kick), 9:04

WIL — Griess 3 pass from Fagnano (Hillman kick), 1:07

Third quarter

PA — Dylan Lukachko 15 run (kick failed), 8:39

PA — Lukachko 2 run (pass failed), 0:28

Fourth quarter

PA — Lukachko 54 run (Carabetta kick), 11:00

WIL — Blaze McClements 2 run (Fagnano run), 8:05

WIL — Brock Moyer 69 fumble return (Hillman kick), 3:06

PA — Nocito 1 run (Carabetta kick), 1:05

WIL — Marcus Simmons 11 pass from Fagnano (Hillman kick), 0:07

Team statistics`WIL`PA

First downs`13`23

Rushes-yards`24-138`45-233

Passing yards`208`197

Total yards`346`430

Passing`19-30-0`12-20-1

Sacked-yards lost`2-14`3-25

Punts-avg.`3-34.3`2-46.5

Fumbles-lost`0-0`3-1

Penalties-yards`2-10`2-20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Williamsport, Fagnano 8-94, McClements 7-28, Simmons 5-8, Griess 4-8, PA, Lukachko 21-157, Jordan O’Boyle 11-50, Devin Atkins 2-29, Mike Coe 1-3, Nocito 8-(minus-5), Alex Anastasi 2-0.

PASSING — Williamsport, Fagnano 19-30-0-208. PA, Nocito 12-19-1, 197, Bryan Giambra 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING — Williamsport, Simmons 8-80, Nasir Jones 3-13, Braden Mazzante 1-7, Griess 5-87, Moyer 1-10, Keith Freeman 1-11. PA, Giambra 3-71, Brennan Higgins 3-26, Gorey 1-18, Andrew Krawczyk 1-16, Coe 2-16, Alex Haas 1-29, Lukachko 1-21.

INTERCEPTIONS — Williamsport, Griess 1-3.

MISSED FGs — none.

Pittston Area running back Dylan Lukachko stretch for a first down as the Williamsport defense closes in on him in the first quarter Friday night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_wil_pit1_faa.jpgPittston Area running back Dylan Lukachko stretch for a first down as the Williamsport defense closes in on him in the first quarter Friday night. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Pittston Area tight end Anthony Gorey takes a screen pass from quarterback Mike Nocito and goes for an 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter Friday night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_wil_pit3_faa.jpgPittston Area tight end Anthony Gorey takes a screen pass from quarterback Mike Nocito and goes for an 18-yard touchdown in the first quarter Friday night. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Pittston Area wide receiver Andrew Krawczyk runs 16 yards on a pass from Mike Nocito during Friday night’s game with Williamsport.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_wil_pit5_faa.jpgPittston Area wide receiver Andrew Krawczyk runs 16 yards on a pass from Mike Nocito during Friday night’s game with Williamsport. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Pittston Area quarterback Mike Nocito gets tackled by Williamsport’s Aykeem Cowan-Connelly during the second quarter Friday night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_wil_pit4_faa.jpgPittston Area quarterback Mike Nocito gets tackled by Williamsport’s Aykeem Cowan-Connelly during the second quarter Friday night. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Williamsport wide receiver Marcus Simmons makes a catch as Pittston Area defensive lineman Seth Johnson moves in for the tackle Friday night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_wil_pit2_faa.jpgWilliamsport wide receiver Marcus Simmons makes a catch as Pittston Area defensive lineman Seth Johnson moves in for the tackle Friday night. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

By John Erzar

[email protected]

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar