Spar­tans fall to Wal­len­pau­pack

The Citizens' Voice - - Sports - BY SCOTT WALSH STAFF WRITER

PALMYRA TWP. — Val­ley West had a come­back bid fall short against Wal­len­pau­pack on Fri­day night.

De­spite out­gain­ing the Buck­horns by al­most a 2-to-1 mar­gin, the Spar­tans dropped a 28-21 non­league de­ci­sion.

It was four turnovers — three fum­bles and one in­ter­cep­tion — that doomed them.

“We lost the penalty bat­tle and lost the turnover bat­tle. You can’t win games like that,” Spar­tans coach Pat Keat­ing said. “That’s been the story of our whole sea­son. We can’t get it fixed. We’re go­ing to keep try­ing.”

Al­ready lead­ing, 7-0, Val­ley West was poised to ex­tend that mar­gin af­ter re­cov­er­ing a Wal­len­pau­pack fum­ble at the Buck­horns 30.

But on first-and-goal from the 5, the Spar­tans (1-5) fum­bled and Tyler Neglia re­turned it 95 yards to tie the game at 7 with 37.8 sec­onds left in the first quar­ter.

“We were go­ing in to make it 14-0. Ob­vi­ously that was a huge mo­men­tum swing,” Keat­ing said.

Wallepau­pack (3-3) took a 14-7 lead with 5:59 left in the sec­ond quar­ter on a 27-yard touch­down pass from Tom McCormick to Ty Hol­bert.

Val­ley West re­sponded on the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion. Dar­rian Tyson caught a 19-yard touch­down pass from Rob Dwyer to tie the game at 14 with 2:45 left in the sec­ond quar­ter.

Jake Blaski had two big plays on the drive. First, he ran 21 yards out of punt for­ma­tion for a first down. Then, he made a leap­ing grab of a 30-yard pass from Dwyer to set up Tyson’s score.

In the third quar­ter, Wal­len­pau­pack took a 21-14 lead on a 2-yard touch­down run by Nick Rug­gieri with 5:26 left.

Then, with 9:37 to go in the fourth, Hol­bert fielded a punt at his 28 and raced 72 yards for a touch­down to make it 28-14 Buck­horns.

Back came the Spar­tans. They marched 58 yards in six plays and just 90 sec­onds with Tyson scor­ing on a 7-yard run with 8:07 left.

Wal­len­pau­pack missed a 34-yard field-goal at­tempt with 3:22 re­main­ing. Two big pass plays moved the Spar­tans to the Buck­horns 14. How­ever, on first down, Val­ley West fum­bled and Tom Hiller re­cov­ered for Wal­len­pau­pack with 2:31 left.

Val­ley West forced a punt and got the ball back at its 45 with 1:17 re­main­ing.

On first down, Jake Shusta hit Tyson for 16 yards to the Buck­horns 39. Af­ter spik­ing the ball on first down, how­ever, the Spar­tans threw three straight in­com­ple­tions to turn the ball over on downs with 44.4 sec­onds to play.

Tyson fin­ished with seven catches for 108 yards and one touch­down. He also ran for 47 yards and a score. Blaski wound up with four catches for 122 yards. Dwyer threw for 116 yards and a touch­down and he also had a rush­ing touch­down. Shusta threw for 171 yards.

Rug­gieri led Wal­len­pau­pack on the ground with 76 yards and a touch­down. McCormick was 7 of 14 pass­ing for 117 yards and a touch­down.

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