Wallenpaupack shuts down East Stroudsburg South
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.