WEST PITTSTON — Wyoming Valley West turned short passes into long touchdowns less than four minutes apart in the second quarter, getting the offense started on the way to a 42-17 victory over Wyoming Area Friday night in a Wyoming Valley Conference football opener.
Devon Weidman took a flanker screen pass 55 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 8:53 left in the half.
Wyoming Area came right back with a score after a long kickoff return.
The Spartans answered quickly when Austin hit Sean Judge crossing the field underneath coverage and Judge broke tackles on the way to a 68-yard score. The touchdown with 5:17 left in the second quarter gave Wyoming Valley West a 20-7 halftime lead.
“Sean Judge and Weidman are athletes and that’s what athletes have a tendency to do, they made big plays,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said.
By halftime of his first start at quarterback, Austin was 12-for-16 for 212 yards and the two touchdowns. He found five different receivers in the first half and got help from their ability to run with the ball after the catch.
When Wyoming Valley West scored three touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the second half, the game was played under the Mercy Rule the rest of the way.
The Spartans, highly regarded going into the season, struggled with four penalties for delay of game and illegal procedure before it ran its fourth play.
Before long, however, Wyoming Valley West settled in.
Judge ran 19 yards for the first of his three touchdowns. Another came on a 31-yard fumble return on the first play of the second half.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Spartans coach Pat Keating said. “We expect that from him. … He can do it all.”
Austin threw for two touchdowns and ran for one while producing 297 yards total offense. He finished 14 for 18 for 262 yards.
“He’s got all it takes to be a great one,” Keating said.
After his fumble return, Judge returned a punt 36 yards and Austin ran 21 yards for a score on the next play.
Bill Davison added the two-pointer, then ran 5 yards for a touchdown before Austin’s two-pointer made the necessary 35-point margin to go to a running clock.
“I think there were some jitters and some things got to us in the first half,” Keating said. “I was really happy with the way we settled down and came out of the locker room.”
Sophomore Nick Heil’s 83-yard kickoff return set up a 6-yard P.J. Angeli-to-Dante DeLuca touchdown for Wyoming Area in the second quarter.
Brandon Charney took over at running back for the Warriors in the second half and carried 15 times for 91 yards and a touchdown, with many of the carries coming before the Spartans went to their reserves.
Wyoming Valley West 42, Wyoming Area 17
Wyoming Valley West`7`13`22`0`—`42
WVW – Sean Judge 19 run (Jake Gurtis kick), 4:51
WVW – Devon Weidman 55 pass from Aaron Austin (Gurtis kick), 8:53
WA – Dante DeLuca 6 pass from P.J. Angeli (David Klaproth kick), 8:04
WVW – Judge 68 pass from Austin (kick failed), 5:17
WVW – Judge 31 fumble return (pass failed), 11:39
WVW – Austin 21 run (Bill Davison run), 9:10
WVW – Davison 5 run (Austin run), 5:09
WA – Klaproth 34 FG, 7:51
WA – Brandon Charney 35 run (Klaproth kick), 3:02
RUSHING — WVW, Austin 6-35, Davison 3-33, Weidman 1-14, Judge 5-14, Chris Melovitz 3-9, Zach Davies 1-8, Damian Davies 1-7, Sean Mikovitch 2-minus 5. WA, Charney 15-91, Brian Miles 15-53, Donovan O’Boyle 1-3, Angeli 1-minus 8.
PASSING — WVW, Austin 14-18-1-262, D. Davies 0-1-0-0. WA, Angeli 2-4-0-7, Steve Homza 2-4-0-7.
RECEIVING — WVW, Weidman 5-90, L.J. Wesneski 5-73, Judge 2-79, Davison 1-12, Chris Reese 1-8. WA, DeLuca 1-6, O’Boyle 1-5, Kyle Carr 1-2, Miles 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS — WA, Angeli 1-18.
MISSED FGs — None.