DISTRICT 2 CLASS 5A
(2) ABINGTON HEIGHTS (7-4) AT (1) VALLEY WEST (8-2)
Spartan Stadium, Kingston
District 2 Class 5A championship
Winner plays Southern Lehigh or Whitehall in the District 2-11 subregional game
Valley West 23, Abington Heights 20 (Week 7)
Valley West leads 10-7
Abington Hts. 35, Wallenpaupack 0 Valley West received a bye
This is the third meeting between the two programs in the district playoffs. They split the first two meetings as Class 4A schools with Valley West winning in 1996 and Abington Heights winning in 1998.
This is a rematch of a Week 7 game that came down to a Jake Gurtis 37-yard field goal as time expired. It was one of three Gurtis field goals on the day.
In that game, Valley West held the edge in rushing 265-120, while the Comets passed for 112 yards compared to 106 for the Spartans.
Brandon Hardy was all over the field last week for the Comets in the win over Wallenpaupack. He had 126 yards receiving, returned a punt 99 yards for a touchdown and picked off a pass.
Colin McCreary has rushed for 454 yards and nine touchdowns, thrown for 681 yards and seven touchdowns and has kicked 28 extra points and eight field goals.
Kaleb Sherman has rushed for 517 yards and five touchdowns on the year and averages 5.4 yards per carry.
The Comets average 242.8 yards per game offensively and allow 214.3 defensively. They have given up 1,227 yards rushing and 1,130 yards passing. Since the last meeting against the Spartans, Abington Heights has allowed 33 points, with 26 of them coming to Delaware Valley in a Week 10 loss.
The Spartans enter the game after earning a bye as the top seed in the three-team field. After starting the year 2-2, Valley West ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak. The defense has allowed 64 points during the streak.
The Spartans average 342.0 yards of offense and 34.9 points per game.
Defensively, they allow 267.1 yards and 18.4 points per game.
Sean Judge has rushed for 838 yards and 14 scores, while Aaron Austin has 791 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Judge leads the team in receiving with 33 catches, while Darrian Tyson is second with 18.
Tight end Rob Dwyer has 18 catches.
Gurtis has kicked 36 extra points and six field goals with a long of 40 yards.
KEYS TO THE GAME 1. It’s harder than it looks
The Abington Heights defense needs to key on Judge. Whether he is in the backfield, the slot or on the perimeter, the Comets need to account for him. The key will be to make someone other than Judge beat them.
2. The weak may survive
The Valley West defense has a tendency to overplay the strong side of the offensive formation. If Abington Heights can find some success attacking the weakside, that has the possibility of leading to some sustained drives, and possibly getting a big play or two to go along with it.
3. Addition by subtraction
One area of strength for Valley West is running behind massive junior right tackle Chris Bleich, who has already given a verbal commitment to Penn State. The more people he blocks the more space the Spartans have to move. If the Comets can find a way to limit the number of defenders he can get out and block, they will have more players in position to pursue.
Senior lineman Brydon Rukstalis (54) leads Valley West onto the field.