WVC Week 8 football at a glance

By John Erzar - [email protected]
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Coughlin (0-7) at North Pocono (4-3)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Coughlin’s Ciro Cinti (71-68, 13th year); North Pocono’s Greg Dolhon (32-40, 7th year)

Last Meeting: never played

All-Time Series: never played

Scouting Coughlin: Once again, the shorthanded Crusaders battled. Once again, they fell – this time 28-14 to Wyoming Valley West. The passing game didn’t produce a single yard. The running game showed some life, but the defense spent too much time on the field and gave up over 400 yards. Been like that all season.

Scouting North Pocono: The Trojans have lost two in a row, including 20-19 to Wallenpaupack last Friday. Veteran QB Donny Blaine is having a strong season, but the running game hasn’t really added the balance needed. The line is big and could be the difference tonight.

What To Expect: North Pocono to eventually pull away for a win.

Crestwood (2-5) at Berwick (6-1)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Crestwood’s Greg Myers (81-78, 14th year); Berwick’s Frank Sheptock (24-9, 3rd year)

Last Meeting: Berwick 56-0 in 2017

All-Time Series: Berwick leads 12-3

Scouting Crestwood: After a disastrous 47-14 homecoming loss to Nanticoke Area, the Comets headed to Tunkhannock and came home with a 35-20 win. The defense picked off four passes, a welcomed sight since the unit recorded one turnover in the prior three games.

Scouting Berwick: A bit of the shine has come off the Dawgs in the last three games. They needed to rally to defeat Hazleton Area 28-21 despite the Cougars missing their top offensive threat. The offense has been erratic, but some changes were made last Friday.

What To Expect: Berwick’s defense will be enough to win big.

Hazleton Area (2-5) at Scranton (1-6)

7 p.m. Friday, PNC Field, Moosic

The Coaches: Hazleton Area’s Mike Brennan (131-94, 17th year); Scranton’s Steve Shumbres (1-6, 1st year)

Last Meeting: Hazleton Area 34-8 in 2017

All-Time Series: Scranton leads 5-3

Scouting Hazleton Area: Hazleton Area might be the best two-win team in the state. That’s little solace for the Cougars, who led Berwick 14-0 at halftime but fell 28-21. Not having standout RB Damon Horton made the Cougars shuffle things offensively.

Scouting Scranton: The Knights had their best defensive performance against West Scranton last Friday. Alas, the offense remained dormant in the 6-0 loss. Scranton has been shut out twice and scored over 20 points just once this season. And lost that game.

What To Expect: Don’t look at the records; Hazleton Area is the much better team.

Lackawanna Trail (6-1) at Hanover Area (3-4)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Steve Jervis (85-83, 16th year); Hanover Area’s Mike McCree (9-28, 4th year)

Last Meeting: Trail 54-40 in 2013

All-Time Series: Trail leads 2-0

Scouting Trail: A couple mistakes here and there, and Trail’s perfect season was over with a 28-21 loss to Old Forge. A fumble near the goal line at the end of the first half was a crusher. QB Nate Rolka is a dual threat. Stopping him goes a long way to stopping the Lions.

Scouting Hanover Area: A blocked field goal preserved Hanover Area’s 37-36 win over Northwest, giving the Hawkeyes consecutive wins for the first time since the 2016 season. QB Aaron Hummer has five TD throws in the last two games after having one through the first five. RB Joe Curcio is also on a roll.

What To Expect: Trail in a game that could be closer than it looks on paper.

Lake-Lehman (5-2) at GAR (1-6)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Lake-Lehman’s Jerry Gilsky (62-36, 9th year); GAR’s Paul Wiedlich Jr. (53-44, 9th year)

Last Meeting: Lake-Lehman 50-12 in 2017

All-Time Series: GAR leads 29-19-2

Scouting Lehman: The Black Knights’ 48-0 victory over winless Holy Redeemer went as expected. Build the lead, get the reserves in, go home. The key to tonight’s game is not looking ahead and performing strongly since toughies with Lackawanna Trail and Dallas are next.

Scouting GAR: The Grenadiers traveled a heck of a long way, to North Penn Mansfield, only to see more of the same. Little offense, leaky defense, 54-14 loss. The running game had negative yards and has been held to 100 yards in four of the last five games.

What To Expect: A little tougher game than last week for Lehman, but a similar result.

Nanticoke Area (3-4) at Lakeland (5-2)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Nanticoke Area’s Ron Bruza (36-53, 9th year); Lakeland’s Jeff Wasilchak (175-83, 22nd year)

Last Meeting: Lakeland 21-6 in 2014

All-Time Series: Lakeland leads 4-0

Scouting Nanticoke Area: The Trojans couldn’t get anything going in a 35-0 loss to Dallas. Of course, most Dallas opponent had the same fate. The offense has struggled against better defenses, and Lakeland has a pair of shutouts on its resume.

Scouting Lakeland: The Chiefs escaped one-win Carbondale with a 14-12 win. The outcome was strange since Lakeland has demonstrated it can score while Carbondale has shown very little on both sides of the ball. RB Giovanni Spataro and QB CJ Dippre are the top offensive guys.

What To Expect: Lakeland to regroup after last week’s head-scratcher.

Northwest (2-5) at Wyalusing (1-6)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Northwest’s Lon Hazlet (107-104, 20th year); Jordan Clark (6-14, 2nd year)

Last Meeting: Wyalusing 62-0 in 1996

All-Time Series: Wyalusing leads 3-0

Scouting Northwest: A 37-36 loss to Hanover Area pretty much sealed Northwest’s fate in the D2-A playoff race. The defense gave up three scoring plays of 60 yards or more, quite disconcerting considering Hanover Area hasn’t been an offensive juggernaut.

Scouting Wyalusing: Wyalusing’s record is deceiving, with a one-point loss and two two-point losses accounting for half of the defeats. A common thread in those losses, and all season for that matter, is an anemic offense. The Rams have scored eight points or less four times.

What To Expect: Northwest to win because of Wyalusing’s offensive issues.

Scranton Prep (6-1) at Pittston Area (3-4)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Prep’s Terry Gallagher (31-4, 3rd year); Pittston Area’s Nick Barbieri (9-9, 2nd year)

Last Meeting: Prep 33-0 in 1993

All-Time Series: Prep leads 2-0

Scouting Prep: Despite a loss, the Cavaliers remained favored to win a fourth consecutive D2-3A championship. Veteran QB Leo O’Boyle is steering things while RB Ryan Cosgrove has stepped up to fill a void. Only Valley View has scored more than two TDs against Prep.

Scouting Pittston Area: Take about a heartbreaker. Pittston Area lost 36-33 to Williamsport on a TD with 7.6 seconds left. However, there were positives. RB Dylan Lukachko ran for a career-high 157 yards and the running game finally found traction.

What To Expect: Prep’s defense to shut down the Patriots.

Tunkhannock (2-5) at Wallenpaupack (4-3)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Tunkhannock’s Mike Marabell (2-5, 1st year); Wallenpaupack’s Mark Watson (60-71, 13th year)

Last Meeting: Wallenpaupack 20-14 in 2001

All-Time Series: Wallenpaupack leads 2-0

Scouting Tunkhannock: The offense went flat in a 35-20 loss to Crestwood, a one-win team that surrendered nearly 500 yards a week prior. Turnovers have been troublesome, with eight in the last two games compared to 10 through the first five. The run defense needs tightening.

Scouting Wallenpaupack: Wallenpaupack edged North Pocono 20-19, stopping a two-point conversion in the final seconds. The Buckhorns have been in plenty of close games, with three decided by two points or less. RB Nick Ruggieri makes things go.

What To Expect: ‘Paupack to close out its home schedule with a win.

Valley View (7-0) at Dallas (7-0)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Valley View’s George Howanitz (74-57, 12th year); Dallas’ Rich Mannello (22-18, 4th year)

Last Meeting: Valley View 18-12 in 2011

All-Time Series: Valley View leads 2-1

Scouting Valley View: The Cougars won their 11 consecutive regular-season game with a 20-10 victory over Western Wayne. The offense didn’t have the same pop as in other games this season. Still, it’s very dangerous with RB Mason Kordish and QB Janaasah Boone leading the way.

Scouting Dallas: The Mountaineers defeated Nanticoke Area 35-0 last Friday, dominating all three aspects. The defense was particularly strong, as Dallas turned three turnovers into scores. The schedule maker hasn’t been kind as after Valley View comes Berwick and rival Lake-Lehman.

What To Expect: Valley View in the premier game of the season thus far.

Williamsport (5-2) at Delaware Valley (4-3)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Williamsport’s Chuck Crews (41-42, 8th year); Delaware Valley’s Keith Olsommer (137-84, 20th year)

Last Meeting: DelVal 55-17 in 2017

All-Time Series: Williamsport leads 3-2

Scouting Williamsport: A TD pass with 7.6 seconds left gave the Williamsport a 36-33 win over Pittston Area. As predicted, the Millionaires relied heavily on the arm of QB Joe Fagnano with RB Treyson Potts (knee) lost for the season.

Scouting DelVal: DelVal shut out Abington Heights 31-0, winning consecutive games for the first time this season. The two-time D2-6A defending champion had to rebuild somewhat after significant losses to graduation.

What To Expect: The game is a toss-up, with home field being the difference.

Wyoming Valley West (4-3) at Abington Heights (1-6)

1 p.m. Saturday

The Coaches: WVW’s Pat Keating (80-33, 10th year); Abington’s Joe Repshis (101-57, 14th year)

Last Meeting: Valley West 63-14 in 2017

All-Time Series: Valley West leads 12-8

Scouting Valley West: The Spartans snapped a three-game losing streak with a 28-14 victory over winless Coughlin. They are holding onto the final D2/11-5A playoff spot, but need to keep winning since it is feasible Pocono Mountain East can catch them.

Scouting Abington: After winning the D2-5A title in 2016, the program has a 2-16 record since. The Comets went through a similar swoon in the past and recovered, so there is hope things will turn around. But probably not this season as the Comets were shut out for a fourth time last Saturday.

What To Expect: Valley West often starts slowly in Saturday afternoon games, but has enough to win this one.

Wyoming Area (7-0) at Holy Redeemer (0-7)

1 p.m. Saturday, at King’s College

The Coaches: Wyoming Area’s Randy Spencer (56-49, 10th year); Redeemer’s Dwayne Downing (27-50, 8th year)

Last Meeting: Wyoming Area 42-20 in 2013

All-Time Series: Wyoming Area leads 5-0

Scouting Wyoming Area: The Warriors scored four TDs in the first 18 minutes in a 45-6 win over Meyers. The defense held an opponent to a lone TD for the fifth time. That’s all you need to know other than the game is at King’s College.

Scouting Redeemer: The Royals have scored four TDs all season, all on runs by the quarterback. They lost 48-0 to Lake-Lehman, the fifth time they’ve allowed 41 or more points. That’s all you need to know other than the game is at King’s College.

What To Expect: I’m not even going to bother answering this.

Mid Valley (1-6) at Meyers (4-2)

7 p.m. Saturday

The Coaches: Mid Valley’s Dave Rebar (40-62, 9th year); Meyers’ Jeff Labatch (23-17, 4th year)

Last Meeting: Mid Valley 36-27 in 2001

All-Time Series: Mid Valley leads 2-0

Scouting Mid Valley: The Spartans have been shut out three times, scored a total of 12 points in the last four games and – guess what – are in position to make the D2-2A playoffs. The defense hasn’t been too bad lately, but no offense means no wins.

Scouting Meyers: Despite a solid skill group, the Mohawks couldn’t get anything going in a 45-6 loss to undefeated Wyoming Area. Yes, they came into the game an underdog, but a better showing was expected. They make amends to close out Week 8.

What To Expect: If Meyers gets to three TDs, head for the exit.

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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