Wayne Highlands will head into Saturday's showdown with Pocono Mountain on a genuine roll. The Stingers swept to four victories this past weekend over the Moosic Raiders. Both the B-Team and C-Team remain atop the American Conference standings.
One of the hallmarks of a truly great team is the ability to improvise. On Sunday evening in Moosic, Wayne Highlands’ B-Team had to adjust on the fly versus a surprisingly stubborn Raider defense.
In the first quarter of this Week Six ACCJFL match-up, the Stingers’ vaunted rushing attack simply wouldn’t work against Moosic. Coach Pete Goyette’s squad received the opening kick-off and marched all the way to the 1-yardline. There, the Raiders forced a fumble and took possession.
Moosic reeled off three straight first downs before finally having to punt the ball away. Once again, undefeated Wayne Highlands tried running the ball. No dice.
So, Coach Goyette decided on an all-out aerial blitz. He turned to Josh LoBasso, a talented young gunslinger with a big arm and excellent vision. This change in strategy quickly rejuvenated the Stingers and led to an offensive explosion.
“Moosic has a tough defense,” Coach Goyette told TWI Sports. “Their kids are big & strong and we really couldn’t run against them. Josh did a great job for us. He went though his progressions well and hit the open receiver.”
With LoBasso leading the way, Wayne Highlands broke open a close game and rolled to victory. The 28-6 win was the Stingers’ sixth straight. Coach Goyette’s lads currently sit all alone atop the American Conference standings at 6-0.
Next up for Wayne Highlands is a stern test against Pocono Mountain. The Cardinals will bring a 5-1 record with them to the Maple City this weekend. Opening kick-off for this crucial B-Team game is slated for about 6:45 p.m. at the newly-renovated Honesdale High School football complex.
Super Bowl Bound?
Wayne Highlands’ B-Team lost just one game in ‘07 and eventually captured the Super Bowl crown. The Stingers are trying for a rare repeat this year and have just two more hurdles to clear en route to a perfect regular season.
On Sunday, Pat Hart put Wayne Highlands on the scoreboard with a 34-yard TD run. The Stinger tailback burst off left tackle and outran Moosic’s secondary to the endzone. Tyler Canfield rolled in for the PAT giving the Red & Black a 7-0 lead.
With the exception of that early TD run, Hart struggled on the ground against a fired-up Raiders’ defense. Still, he found other ways to make an impact.
On the Stingers’ third possession, Hart began focusing on the aerial game. Pat caught a short pass from LoBasso, cut to the sidelines and turned on the jets. Moments later, he was back in the Moosic endzone after a 72-yard TD scamper.
“Once Pat gets in the open field, nobody’s going to catch him,” said Coach Goyette. “He ran a nice pattern, made a nice catch and then was off to the races. Pat Hart can beat you in alot of different ways.”
Hart, who is among the ACCJFL’s leading rushers, managed just 47 yards on the ground. However, he piled up 94 yards receiving and scored two of Wayne Highlands’ TDs.
With less than a minute remaining before intermission, the Stingers forced a turnover and put the game away.Ron Krempasky recovered a Raider fumble near midfield. LoBasso then went right work and directed a textbook drive.
Josh hit Hart for a 22-yard gainer, then hooked up with Krempasky on a beautiful 30-yard TD strike. Ron ran a slick ‘flag’ route and LoBasso threw a perfect pass to cap the march.
After intermission, Brian Reed brought Wayne Highlands fans to their feet with an electrifying TD run. Reed broke his arm early in the season and missed the past five weeks of action. How-ever, the tough-as-nails Stinger tailback rebounded in fine fashion. Brian took an inside hand-off from LoBasso, bounced it outside and was gone.
This 35-yard TD run left the B-Team skipper smiling from ear-to-ear.
“I’m very happy for Brian and he was just ecstatic,” said Coach Goyette. “Brian was really excited to get back on the field and we’re thrilled to have him there.”
Johnny Sabolick provided the key play in this drive, a 15-yard run into the teeth of Moosic’s defense. Sabolick also erupted on a 50-yard TD run, but it was called back on a holding penalty.
Hart split the uprights with a perfect conversion attempt. Wayne Highlands has now made two of its three extra point tries this season.
LoBasso finished the game with 124 yards and two TDs through the air.
Defensively, the Stingers’ were paced by Hart, Krempasky and Spencer Goyette. Pat and Spencer each snagged an interception, while Ron recovered a fumble.
Another Big Win
Wayne Highlands and Wallenpaupack Area remain tied atop the C-Team standings after Week Six action.
The Stingers improved their overall record to 5-1 via a 32-0 shutout of Moosic. With this win, the Red & Black moved to 4-0 in the American Conference.
“Our entire defense played really well this week,” said Head Coach Lee Donat. “They couldn’t do much of anything against our kids.”
The Red & Black front seven dominated Moosic in this one. Stinger defenders swarm-ed all over enemy ballcarriers, holding the Raiders to -22 yards of total offense.
Garyn Barnes led the assault with stellar play at nose tackle. He was aided & abetted by fellow defensive linemen Tyler Lazaro, Trevor Bryant, Tyler McConnell, Mark Ambrose, Jason Reed and Dylan Canfield.
Offensively, Wayne Highlands jumped out to a quick lead, then cruised to victory.
Konnor Burke opened the scoring with a 28-yard TD run off a reverse. The fleet-footed wingback also added a touchdown reception off a screen pass from quarterback Nick Krempasky.
Jared Martin was the next Stinger to find his way into Moosic’s endzone. A converted guard who now holds down the starting fullback job, Martin rumbled four yards to paydirt.
“He carried about four kids with him into the endzone,” said Coach Donat with a hearty laugh. "Jared is doing a great job at fullback. He’s very hard to bring down.”
Tristan Petroski got into the act next. Perhaps the league’s top C-Team tailback, Petroski roared into the Raider endzone on an 11-yard off-tackle run.
Justin LoBasso rounded out the Stingers’ scoring with a six yard TD scamper. The key play of this final drive was a 52-yard gallop by LoBasso.
Over & Out
The D-Team turned in yet another sterling performance on Sunday. With longtime coach Jim O’Dell calling the shots, Wayne Highlands posted a 21-6 victory over Moosic.
“This is one of the best groups of kids I’ve ever had,” said Coach O’Dell. “They work really hard and they’re so much fun. They’re a pleasure to be around.”
While there was no shortage of big plays in the D-Team victory, the entire Stinger staff was unanimous in selecting their Play of the Day.
Eli Hanson sprung tailback Ethan Dunn on a long gainer by taking out two Raider defenders with one block. What made the play even more remarkable is the fact that Hanson is the Stingers’ quarterback and his block came on a broken play.
Hanson’s big hit drew cheers from the crowd and rave reviews from Eli’s mentor.
“That was the best block I’ve ever seen in all my years in football,” said Coach O’Dell. “It was just incredible. Honestly, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.”
Dunn led the Wayne Highlands offensive attack with a 50-yard TD run on the very first play from scrimmage. Ethan also tallied on a 10-yarder late in the contest.
Justin Camerato added a 25-yard touchdown run right up the middle.
The Stinger defense also came up huge against Moosic. Wayne Highlands made a memorable goal line stand as time wound down. The Raiders ran nine consecutive plays inside the 10-yardline and couldn’t punch the ball in.
Finally, on the A-Team scene, Wayne Highlands moved to 3-3 overall (2-2, American Conference) with a forfeit win over Moosic.