Western Wayne posts its biggest win of the LFC season to date
Western Wayne posted its biggest win of the 2018 season Friday night before a big enthusiastic crowd at Sharkey Rosetti Memorial Stadium.
The Wildcats hosted Lakeland in a Week Six Lackawanna Football Conference showdown that featured huge post season implications for both teams.
“It was definitely a playoff atmosphere,” said Coach Randy Wolff. “Lakeland is a quality team with a long tradition and they're always very well coached. We knew it was going to be a challenge.”
Led by the potent 1-2 punch of tailback Kobe Sauter and quarterback Dylan Walck, the 'Cats proved equal to that challenge.
The local lads scored in every quarter en route to an electrifying 30-21 victory.
By the Numbers
With the win, Western Wayne improved its record to 5-1 on the year.
Coach Wolff's squad is currently second in the Division II standings. The 'Cats (.684710) are third among all Class AAA teams in the race for this year's District Two tourney. They trail only Scranton Prep (.722549) and Wyoming Area (.702582).
Lakeland fell to 4-2, but remains in first place in Division III at 2-0.
Next up for the local lads is a Week Seven road trip to Valley View. The Cougars are unbeaten and alone atop the Division II standings.
“They're a very talented team with veteran kids at just about every position,” said Coach Wolff. “They're big up front, strong and fast. Once again, we're looking forward to the challenge.”
Opening kick-off is set for 7 p.m. Friday at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Blakely.
Western Wayne struck first in this Homecoming encounter.
The Wildcats marched 61 yards on their opening possession, eating up more than five minutes and setting the tone for what would become a brutally physical ballgame.
Sauter capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Jake Shepherd banged through the PAT and with 5:15 remaining in the first quarter, Western Wayne had a 7-0 lead.
Sauter had yet another big night, powering his way to a game-high 168 yards on 28 attempts.
“We're similar teams,” Coach Wolff said. “We both want to play power football. We want to run the ball and stop the run on defense. I knew it was going to be an interesting match-up and that the score would probably go back and forth a lot.”
As it turns out, that's exactly what happened.
Lakeland wasted no time in retaliating, taking advantage of a long kick-off return by James Lewis to tie the score. Quarterback CJ Dippre did the honors, hitting wideout Colin Walsh with a 24-yard TD strike less than a minute later.
Western Wayne surged back out front late in the second quarter, thanks to another methodical, bone-bruising march. This one covered 82 yards and ate up nearly all of the period, ending when Walck sneaked in from a yard out.
However, the conversion try was missed and Lakeland made good use of the time remaining before intermission. The Chiefs sprinted right back up the field, scoring on the final play of the half on a 40-yard pass from Dippre to James Lewis.
Billy Good nailed the PAT and Lakeland headed to the lockerroom with a razor-thin 14-13 lead.
Down to the Wire
Western Wayne received the second half kick-off and once again began marching toward the endzone.
Walck finished off this long drive, powering his way in for another TD and giving the Wildcats a 20-14 advantage.
True to form, Lakeland struck right back.
The Chiefs capped a prolonged possession of their own when Giovanni Spataro broke free on an 11-yard scoring run. The talented tailback finished out the evening with 105 yards on 17 carries.
Much to the delight of a big Homecoming crowd, though, it was all Western Wayne the rest of the way. The Wildcats would score the game's final 10 points en route to a 30-21 win.
Shepherd put his team back out in front to stay with a 29-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Then, Zane Janiszewski sealed the deal by slashing his way into the Lakeland endzone from four yards away.
Coach Wolff was thrilled with his team's play across the board, but he singled out three players for special mention.
Walck earned the start at quarterback for a second straight week in place of the injured Matt Valanda … and once again turned in an outstanding effort. Dylan ran for 76 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but also passed for 83 yards.
“He had a phenomenal game,” Coach Wolff said. “Dylan is just so poised out there. Nothing seems to bother him. He thrives in pressure situations. Every time we need a big play, Dylan gives it to us.”
Alex Kuha is a senior who starts both ways at wide receiver and corner.
While his statistical numbers weren't gaudy, Kuha's downfield blocking on offense and pass coverage on defense played major roles in the Wildcats' victory.
“Alex is the kind of kid who just never quits,” said Coach Wolff. “He gives 100 percent every single play on both sides of the ball. Alex isn't the biggest kid on the field, but he plays with a ton of heart.”
Evan Coons is a senior captain. He plays guard on offense and tackle on defense. He's a blue-collar kid who put in a great deal of hard work in the off-season … and it shows.
“Evan is what you'd call a throwback,” Coach Wolff said. “He's a hard-nosed kid who loves to play physical football. Evan doesn't shy away from contact and he really finishes his blocks. He played a terrific game for us tonight.”