Scil­lia’s pick sparks War­riors past Ha­zle­ton

The Times-Tribune - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - BY HERB SMITH STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: hsmith@timessham­; 570-348-9125; @sport­stt on Twit­ter

MILFORD — As a quar­ter­back, Zach Scil­lia tries to avoid in­ter­cep­tions. On de­fense, that’s a dif­fer­ent story.

Scil­lia made a leap­ing in­ter­cep­tion in the end zone early in the fourth quar­ter to swing mo­men­tum back to Delaware Val­ley and the top-seeded War­riors pulled away for a 35-14 win over No. 2 Ha­zle­ton Area to cap­ture their third straight Dis­trict 2 Class 6A cham­pi­onship on Satur­day at War­rior Sta­dium.

Delaware Val­ley (9-3) will face Dis­trict 6 cham­pion, State Col­lege, in the first round of the state tour­na­ment. State Col­lege beat Mcdow­ell, 55-20, on Fri­day in the Dis­trict 6-10 subre­gional cham­pi­onship.

Ha­zle­ton Area (7-5) had cut the deficit to 28-14 mid­way through the third quar­ter and then forced two straight punts. Da­mon Hor­ton then broke a 45-yard run down to the War­riors’ 24. On the next play, Scil­lia jumped in front of his man on a pass into the end zone for an in­ter­cep­tion.

“I saw the ball and I wanted to make a play for the team and I went up there and got it,” Scil­lia said.

Start­ing at the 20-yard-line af­ter the touch­back, Delaware Val­ley went 80 yards on 15 plays. The War­riors con­verted two third downs on the drive, the sec­ond on an 11-yard run by Scil­lia on third-and-4 from Ha­zle­ton’s 44.

“He made a lot of re­ally big plays for us to­day,” Delaware Val­ley coach Keith Ol­som­mer said. “Some­times the kids get caught up in the ex­cite­ment and he’s smooth with what he wants to do.”

Later in the drive, Scil­lia hit Josh Bal­car­cel on a swing pass for a 17-yard gain. Then on sec­ond-and-goal from the 4, Scil­lia faked a hand off, ran around left end and dove to the py­lon, beat­ing a de­fender for the touch­down.

Delaware Val­ley took a 7-0 lead in the first quar­ter when Scil­lia hit Colin Wal­ters for a 41-yard touch­down pass. On fourth-and-1, Scil­lia rolled out to his right and found Wal­ters, who turned up field and raced to the end zone.

“I saw the open field and I heard coach say ‘run it,’ but I saw Colin wide open so I just threw it,” Scil­lia said.

Hor­ton tied the game at 7 with a 13-yard touch­down run late in the first quar­ter, but Delaware Val­ley an­swered on its next drive. Bal­car­cel re­turned the kick­off 31 yards to the Cougars 40. On the six-play drive, Scil­lia com­pleted two passes, in­clud­ing a 29-yarder to Hunter Klein on third-and-6. Then on third-and-goal from the 5, Scil­lia ran around the right end for a touch­down.

Later in the sec­ond quar­ter, Ha­zle­ton Area tried a fake punt, but was stopped at mid­field with 2:52 left in the first half. Delaware Val­ley put to­gether a nine-play drive and Bal­car­cel scored on a 3-yard run to give Delaware Val­ley a 21-7 lead with three sec­onds left in the first half.

“When we needed to we made some big plays and that was the dif­fer­ence,” Ol­som­mer said. “We made a few plays in some key sit­u­a­tions and we were able to get the ball and turn it around and put points on the board.”

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