Wayne Highlands' B-Team will have a chance to defend its ACCJFL crown this weekend after defeating archrival Paupack in the semifinals. The American Conference champion Stingers are set to do battle with undefeated Olyphant Sunday afternoon at Lakeland.
Wayne Highlands used a perfect combination of potent offense and relentless defense in sewing up a second straight berth in the ACCJFL Super Bowl.
The Stingers B-Team rolled to its first-ever all-season title last fall via a 32-13 thumping of Taylor in the championship game. This year’s edition of the squad moved one step closer to defending that crown with a 20-0 shutout of Paupack Sunday afternoon.
“This is a perfect example of a total team effort,” Coach Pete Goyette told TWI Sports. Our defense was outstanding and the offense just kept grinding out first downs. Paupack is a good, well-coached team and we had to play very well to beat them.”
With the win, Wayne Highlands is now the owner of back-to-back division titles. The Stingers claimed the National Conference crown in ‘07 with a perfect 6-0 mark. Although the Red & Black shifted to the American Conference in ‘08, the result was the same: an undefeated record and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Wayne Highlands will square off against Olyphant in the B-Team title tilt. The Lions are unbeaten this year and will roll into this weekend’s game with a 10-0 ACCJFL record.
“Olyphant is almost a mirror image of us as a team,” said Coach Goyette. “They have a big line and big backs. I think this game will come down to who wants it more. We’re practicing hard and the boys are very excited.”
Kick-off for Sunday’s champ-ionship game is slated for 1:20 p.m. at Chapman Lake.
On the Attack
Wayne Highlands wasted no time setting the tone against Paupack. The Stingers took the opening kick-off and sprinted downfield to a quick score.
Patrick Hart turned a routine off-tackle play into a big gainer. Hart took the hand-off from quarterback Josh LoBasso, exploded through the hole and picked up 28 yards. Two plays layer, Pat blasted off right tackle for a 23-yard touchdown.
Hart tacked on the PAT and Wayne Highlands had a 7-0 lead just 1:00 into the game.
Paupack responded with a long drive of its own. The Bucks marched methodically downfield, advancing all the way to the Stinger 14-yardline before penalties did them in. Wayne Highlands eventually took over on downs at its own 25 and embarked on another scoring drive.
Tyler Canfield, Ron Krempasky and LoBasso each contributed key plays on this march; but, it was Hart who brought the crowd to its feet with an unforgettable, Marcus Allen-esque run.
Pat tried to find room around left end, but was hemmed in and turned around by Buckhorn defenders. Hart reversed field, retreating nearly 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage as he approached the opposite sideline. Once there, Pat eluded a pair of would-be tacklers and cut back once again.
By the time Hart finally broke into the clear he was almost completely out of gas. Pat was finally dragged down at the Paupack 4-yardline.
“I really don’t know what to say about that run,” Coach Goyette said with a laugh. “I’m just about speechless. We gain-ed 42 yards on that play, but I’ll bet Pat ran 150 yards altogether. It was definitely the most dramatic moment of the game.”
Coach Goyette didn’t let his star tailback rest, either. He called Hart’s number on the very next play and Pat rumbled into the endzone for his second TD of the day. When Tyler Canfield tallied on the conversion try, Wayne Highlands had a 14-0 lead with 2:21 to go in the half.
Over & Out
The two teams traded turnovers when Wayne Highlands recovered an onside kick, but then fumbled the ball right back to Paupack.
Then, with 24 seconds left before intermission, LoBasso came up with a huge play. Josh intercepted a pass and returned it into Buckhorn territory. A personal foul penalty tacked on 15 additional yards, giving the Stingers possession at Paupack’s 25.
LoBasso went to the air on the next three plays, but each pass fell incomplete. With only three seconds remaining in the half, Wayne Highlands decided on one last Hail Mary.
Josh dropped back and spotted Krempasky running free in the Buckhorn secondary. LoBasso hit him in stride and Ron won a footrace to the pylon. Wayne Highlands didn’t convert the PAT, but still took a 20-0 lead into the lockerroom at intermission.
“That was the play that broke their back,” said Coach Goyette. “We really took the wind out of their sails with that touchdown.”
The Stingers and Bucks battled to a stalemate in the second half. Both teams mount-ed long drives, but neither could penetrate the other’s endzone.
Hart ended the day with 152 yards rushing on 14 carries. Pat scored two TDs and one extra point.
The Red & Black defense bent, but never broke. Coach Bob “Bubba” Hessling’s lads allowed just one Paupack play of more than 10 yards.
Score by Quarters...
Stingers 7 13 0 0 - 20
Bucks 0 0 0 0 - 0