Spartans fall to Wallenpaupack
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.