Lakeland knocks off unbeaten Wyoming Area. Page
Flea-flicker sets up Dippre’s go-ahead TD late in fourth quarter
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.