John­son drives Cavs

Ju­nior scores two TDS and strip sack leads to an­other as Prep heads to fi­nal.

The Times-Tribune - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - BY JOE BARESS STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: jba­ress@timessham­rock.com; 570-348-9125; @sport­stt on Twit­ter

SCRAN­TON — Dif­fer­ent set­ting. Sim­i­lar script. Same re­sult.

Tucker John­son ac­counted for three touch­downs as No. 1 seed Scran­ton Prep ad­vanced to the Dis­trict 2 Class 3A fi­nal Satur­day with its sec­ond 28-0 vic­tory over No. 4 Western Wayne in two weeks.

The Cava­liers (11-1) will face Lake­land, a 21-14 win­ner over Wy­oming Area in their semi­fi­nal, next week at Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in the dis­trict ti­tle game.

Scran­ton Prep trav­eled to Western Wayne (6-6) on Oct. 26 as the teams bat­tled to the same out­come.

John­son pro­vided the early spark Satur­day.

On Western Wayne’s first pos­ses­sion, the ju­nior jarred the ball loose when he sacked Matt Va­landa as the quar­ter­back brought his arm back to throw down field. The ball rolled into the end zone where Daniel Be­lardi jumped on it for a 7-0 lead with 3:56 in the first quar­ter.

“That was huge, es­pe­cially when they came out and stopped us,” John­son said. “For us to just put one on the board and we just kept rolling from there.”

Western Wayne’s Alex Kuha halted the Cava­liers’ open­ing drive be­fore the strip sack with an in­ter­cep­tion in the red zone. He added a one-handed pick in the third quar­ter.

“Alex is a silent leader,” Western Wayne coach Randy Wolff said. “He re­ally shows by ex­am­ple. He had an un­be­liev­able game last week and made some great plays for us to­day.”

Scran­ton Prep started its next drive at its 5.

John­son led the charge with 44 yards on eight car­ries dur­ing the drive. He also bowled over a Wild­cats de­fender en route to a 9-yard touch­down run to give the Cava­liers a 14-0 ad­van­tage with 2:33 in the sec­ond quar­ter. The run capped a 21-play, 95-yard drive, which took about nine min­utes off the clock.

“That’s just Prep foot­ball,” John­son said. “Wear­ing them down and run­ning right at them.”

Matthew Para, who re­turned a fum­ble for a touch­down in the teams’ first meet­ing, in­ter­cepted a Va­landa pass and ran 35 yards down the side­line for a score.

Bryce Genello, Michael Grady and Richard Pasko also had in­ter­cep­tions for Scran­ton Prep as the Cava­liers held the Wild­cats to just 105 yards of of­fense.

John­son added a 2-yard touch­down run in the fourth quar­ter to cap the scor­ing. He fin­ished with 93 yards and two touch­downs on 20 car­ries.

“We were very good,” John­son said. “It started with our O-line and D-line. With­out them we wouldn’t be able to come out with this win.”

Scran­ton Prep’s Ryan Cos­grove re­turned from in­jury and ran for 95 yards on 23 car­ries.

JESSE CAREY / CON­TRIBUT­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Scran­ton Prep’s Matthew Para cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter re­turn­ing an in­ter­cep­tion for a touch­down in the third quar­ter of a Dis­trict 2 Class 3A semi­fi­nal against Western Wayne on Satur­day.

JESSE CAREY / CON­TRIBUT­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Scran­ton Prep’s Tucker John­son breaks past Western Wayne’s TJ Hess (22). out­side

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