Western Wayne hopes to continue building momentum Friday night versus GAR
For the better part of three quarters on Friday night, Western Wayne and Honesdale were locked in what can best be described as a defensive struggle.
The two teams had managed just a touchdown apiece with a big, raucous crowd hanging on every play. However, that’s when the rains came and two notable things occurred.
First, the stands emptied as fans from both sides ran for cover. Second, the Wildcats’ ground game began taking control.
Kobe Sauter took full advantage of situation, slashing his way to another 100-yard performance and scoring what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.
Sauter’s 48-yard scamper late in the third period stood up as Western Wayne held on for a 13-7 victory.
“I think our kids really rose to the challenge,” said an emotionally drained coach Randy Wolff.
“Honesdale is a good football team. They’re tough, physical and well-coached. I’m very proud of the effort I saw out there tonight. We played hard and never gave an inch.”
With the win, Western Wayne improved its regular season record to 2-1. The Wildcats will be back in action Friday night for a non-conference home game against Wilkes-Barre GAR.
“We’re going to enjoy this win for a little bit and then it’s right back to work,” said Coach Wolff.
“GAR has good team speed and some very athletic kids. We’ll have to be prepared and execute our gameplan.”
Opening kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sharkey Rosetti Memorial Stadium.
Western Wayne struck first in this Week Two Lackawanna Football Conference battle.
The Wildcats forced a turnover on Honesdale’s first possession of the game, then marched right to The House.
The drive culminated with an 11-yard touchdown run by Sauter. Jake Shepherd split the uprights with his PAT try, giving the visitors an early 7-0 lead.
That margin held up into the second quarter before the home team retaliated.
The Hornets drove deep into Western Wayne territory, but the drive appeared to stall just inside the Red Zone. However, Ethan Dunn took matters into his own hands with a brilliant improvisation.
On third down at the 19-yardline, the senior signal caller took the snap and turned to hand off the ball. There was some confusion on the play, though, as Dunn and Andy Carroll collided in the backfield.
For a moment, it looked like disaster ... but, Dunn made a stellar split second decision. The veteran quarterback spun back toward the line, tucked the ball away and took off.
Ethan sprinted around the end and won a foot race with two Wildcat defenders to the front pylon.
Robbie Campen’s conversion try was true and, with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half, the score was tied 7-7.
Despite the happy outcome of that particular play, Hornet Coach Mike Jurkowski was not pleased with his team's execution.
“We made a ton of mistakes tonight and we just have to play better,” he said. “Western Wayne is a darned good football team and I’m definitely not taking anything away from them. But, we just shot ourselves in the foot over and over again.”
The Wildcats broke the tie midway through the third period thanks to an electrifying run by Sauter.
Kobe took a hand-off from quarterback Matt Valanda near midfield. He paused for just a moment behind the line, then put his foot in the ground and cut sharply to his left.
Sauter sliced through the first wave of would-be tacklers, veered to the visitors' bench and rocketed down the sidelines. Forty-eight yards later, he was celebrating in the endzone with his teammates.
“Kobe runs hard and he has great field vision,” said Coach Wolff. “He's been a varsity player for four years now, so he understands the game well. You may keep him under wraps for a little while, but it's just a matter of time before he breaks a big one.”
Sauter closed out his night with a game-high 113 yards on 17 carries.
Zane Janiszewski also elicited high marks from his mentor. A sophomore who plays inside linebacker and running back, Zaniszewski earned game ball honors for Western Wayne.
“I love his motor,” Coach Wolff said. “He;s always hustling. Zane is an emotional kid. He wears his heart on his sleeve and gives us everything he has on every play.”
Over & Out
Honesdale never got its offense untracked against Western Wayne.
The Hornets were held to less than 200 yards of total offense and one score.
Senior tailback Andy Carroll carried the ball 15 times, but managed just 22 yards against a fired-up Wildcat front seven.
Dunn did complete a dozen passes, good for 97 yards. His main targets were Justin LoBasso and Cameron Baker, who combined for seven catches and 67 yards.
The Red & Black did mount one last, desperate drive as time wound down in regulation, but the 'Cats stopped them cold.
“This was a total team effort,” Coach Wolff said in conclusion. “Everybody worked hard and did their job. I couldn't be happier and I hope we continue moving forward.”
Score by Quarters...
WW (2-1) 7 0 6 0 – 13
HHS (1-2) 0 7 0 0 – 7