Wal­len­pau­pack shuts down East Strouds­burg South

The Times-Tribune - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - BY MARTY MY­ERS STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: mmy­ers@timessham­rock.com; 570-348-9125; @mmy­er­stt on Twit­ter

EAST STROUDS­BURG — Af­ter an 0-2 start, there were plenty of doubters in the Wal­len­pau­pack camp.

Even head coach Mark Wat­son won­dered where the sea­son was headed, given the myr­iad of in­juries com­pli­cat­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

“We were 0-2, and banged up bad,” Wat­son said. “I came home and told my wife, I’m in a lot of trou­ble.

“I’m a re­al­ist. We’ve been in his sit­u­a­tion be­fore and ev­ery­body says, it’s Wal­len­pau­pack. We can’t han­dle the pres­sure. We’re not go­ing to get there.”

That all changed Satur­day night.

Adam Haupt atoned for an early dropped pass, haul­ing a 29-yard TD for the game’s first score, the de­fense picked off three passes for the sec­ond week in a row, and the of­fen­sive line wore down East Strouds­burg South as the Buck­horns posted a 29-7 road win to claim the Dis­trict 2-11 Class 5A subre­gional cham­pi­onship Satur­day night.

Next up for the Buck­horns (9-3) will be the school’s first PIAA play­off game, Fri­day night against Dis­trict 6-10 sub­re­gion champ Hol­l­i­days­burg.

And just like last week’s semi­fi­nal win over South­ern Le­high, a dom­i­nat­ing sec­ond half spelled the dif­fer­ence.

“I think we just wear peo­ple out,” Wat­son said. “We’re big, we’re strong, we’re phys­i­cal. Ev­ery first half, we’re beat­ing them up. By the sec­ond half, they’re ready to give up.

“They can only take so much. And we preach phys­i­cal­ity, on the ball and hats all over it. I think they re­ally wore them out.”

Wal­len­pau­pack had two chances to take the lead, the sec­ond a golden op­por­tu­nity but Adam Haupt dropped a sure touch­down pass from Tom Mccormick.

Four plays later, he atoned, haul­ing in a 29-yard strike for the game’s first points and a 7-0 lead with 2:03 left in sec­ond quar­ter.

“That was a great ball, a great play call,” Haupt said of the one that got away. “I messed up, yeah, but I want to thank my coaches for giv­ing me an­other chance to fix the mis­take and my team­mates for telling me to get the next one.

“That’s what our team is about. We come back from when we’re down. We play a com­plete game.”

Es­pe­cially on de­fense, where the Buck­horns dom­i­nated the Cava­liers (8-4) when it mat­tered.

“We­fl­y­aroun­dand­getto the ball,” said line­backer Tyler Neglia, who had 11 tack­les in­clud­ing six solo. “It can’t be one or two guys. It has to be eight or nine.”

The lead grew on the first se­ries of the sec­ond half, Nick Rug­gieri capping the drive with a 2-yard run.

In­ter­cep­tions by Matt Ho­rak and Haupt shut down the Cavs in the sec­ond half, and Joe In­gulli and Manny Obeng added short TD runs to build the lead to 29-0 be­fore South scored on an of­fen­sive fum­ble re­cov­ery in the end zone with 58 sec­onds left to spoil the shutout.

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