KINGSTON — Wyoming Valley West has picked the perfect time to start playing its best football of the season.
For the second straight week, the Spartans absolutely dominated their opponent at home.
On Friday night, in the District 2 Class 5A semifinal, they avenged a loss to Abington Heights in the district championship game a year ago by thrashing the Comets 63-14.
With the victory, WVW (5-6) has won four of its last five games and advances to the D2 title game to face top-seeded Wallenpaupack on the road next week.
“We’re getting away from the mental mistakes and we’re playing physical football right now and we’re doing it at the right time of the year,” Valley West coach Pat Keating said. “Everything that happened at the beginning of the year doesn’t really matter right now. We just like to take things one game at a time and right now, our guys are doing that. So hopefully we can keep it going.
The Spartans sprinted out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns by Sean Mikovitch and a passing score from Jake Shusta to Jake Blaski.
But a long second quarter, that consisted of six touchdowns and lasted about an hour, saw the Comets get back in the game.
After a 80-yard interception return for a touchdown by Sulaiman Ismail put the Spartans up 28-0 on the first play of the quarter, Abington scored on a 72-yard TD run by Kaleb Sherman, and followed that up with a fumble recovery and another score from Sherman to cut the lead in half at 28-14 with 7:28 left in the first half.
That was the last threat the Comets had, though, as WVW scored five unanswered touchdowns to put the game away.
“They kinda knew that we let things get away from us there for a couple minutes and they were able to regroup and get back on the same page and I think that’s really all that was about right there,” Keating said about his team’s little lapse in the second quarter.
The Spartans’ defense kicked it into high gear after allowing the two second-quarter scores.
In addition to Ismail’s pick-six, Jake Blaski picked off three passes, including returning one 50 yards for a TD in the third quarter that extended the score to 61-14. The Valley West defense also forced three fumbles, recovering two of them, sacked Comets quarterback George Tinsley three times for 27 yards lost, and recorded a safety.
“It was definitely their best performance of the year so far tonight,” Keating stated about his defense. “We’ve really been struggling in the turnover category most of the year.”