Johnson drives Cavs
Junior scores two TDS and strip sack leads to another as Prep heads to final.
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.
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.
Scranton Prep’s Tucker Johnson breaks past Western Wayne’s TJ Hess (22). outside