Lake­land knocks off un­beaten Wy­oming Area. Page

Flea-flicker sets up Dip­pre’s go-ahead TD late in fourth quar­ter

The Times-Tribune - - SPORTS - BY STEVE BEN­NETT STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: sben­nett@cit­i­; 570 821-2062; @Cvsteveben­nett on Twit­ter

WEST PITTSTON — Lake­land fooled Wy­oming Area once, and it helped set up a quick touch­down. Lake­land fooled the War­riors twice, and it led to the game-win­ner.

Lake­land went to its bag of tricks early on its first pos­ses­sion and called for a flea-flicker on its first of­fen­sive play of the game. The Chiefs used it again on its next-to-last pos­ses­sion of the game and it was enough for Lake­land quar­ter­back CJ Dip­pre to score from 1 yard out as the Chiefs de­feated Wy­oming Area, 21-14, Satur­day night at Wy­oming Area in the Class 3A dis­trict semi­fi­nals.

The win sends the Chiefs to next week’s cham­pi­onship game, where they will play de­fend­ing champ Scran­ton Prep. Wy­oming Area’s only loss of the year ended its sea­son, as the War­riors fin­ished 11-1.

“They think we are go­ing to run the clock out at the end,” Lake­land coach Jeff Wasilchak said. “I said that no­body thinks you would run a flea-flicker twice in one game. I fig­ured take a shot. The kids ex­e­cuted it.”

Lake­land’s fi­nal pos­ses­sion be­gan at its 49-yard line fol­low­ing a Wy­oming Area punt. Dip­pre hit Thomas Pid­geon on the flea-flicker for a 45-yard gain. Af­ter a screen pass picked up 3 yards, the War­riors were called for a de­fen­sive pass in­ter­fer­ence in the end zone and an un­sports­man­like penalty that moved the ball to the 1-yard line.

On the en­su­ing snap, Dip­pre called his own num­ber and bulled his way into the end zone to put the Chiefs ahead for good with 6.9 sec­onds re­main­ing in the game.

“It’s a sit­u­a­tion where you can’t let any­body be­hind you whether it is a spe­cial play or a reg­u­lar snap,” Wy­oming Area coach Randy Spencer said of Lake­land’s trick play. “It was some­thing we talked about go­ing back on the field. (Pid­geon) made a play on the ball.”

The same com­bi­na­tion on the flea-flicker in the first quar­ter helped the Chiefs take a quick 7-0 lead. Af­ter Lake­land re­cov­ered a Wy­oming Area fum­ble, Dip­pre and Pid­geon con­nected on a 40-yard pass play down to the Wy­oming Area 5-yard line. On the next snap, Gio­vanni Spataro scored to give the Chiefs the quick lead 37 sec­onds into the game.

Faced with a fourth-and-4 from its 46, Wy­oming Area called for a fake punt, but Dom Deluca’s pass fell in­com­plete. Lake­land went to work quickly, and Dip­pre hit Colin Walsh on a 46-yard touch­down pass to make it 14-0.

But the War­riors re­sponded. Deluca scored from the 9-yard line near the end of the first half to cut the Lake­land lead in half. He then added an 18-yard touch­down run near the end of the third quar­ter to even the score. But the War­riors could not find their of­fen­sive rhythm in the fourth quar­ter, and the Chiefs cap­i­tal­ized on the big play to move on to next week’s ti­tle game.

“We cer­tainly didn’t play our best foot­ball early,” Spencer said. “The response was there and we put our­selves in po­si­tion. There were some key things in those sit­u­a­tions. A few penal­ties took us from a short field to where we were backed up. Lake­land did a great job tonight. We were right there, just hop­ing to have a dif­fer­ent fin­ish.”


Lake­land’s Gio­vanni Spataro steps into the end zone for a touch­down in the first quar­ter of a Dis­trict 2 Class 3A semi­fi­nal against Wy­oming Area on Satur­day.


Lake­land’s Colin Walsh (2) cel­e­brates with Billy Good af­ter the Chiefs de­feated Wy­oming Area, 21-14.

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