H.S. Football: A look at the weekend's matchup as the WVC reaches midseason

·10 min read

Sep. 23—Hanover Area (1-3) at Wyoming Area (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Hanover Area's Jason Majiros (1-3), 1st year; Wyoming Area's Randy Spencer (91-57) 14th year

Last Meeting: Wyoming Area 56-0 in 2019

First Meeting: Wyoming Area 25-13 in 1966

All-Time Series: Wyoming Area 31-9

Scouting Hanover Area: The Hawkeyes dropped their third in a row, falling 40-12 to Pittston Area. The running game has produced just 18 yards during the slide. Big plays were an issue last week as Hanover Area surrendered four scoring plays of 44 yards or more. The only offense score came midway through the fourth quarter. The other came on a fumble return.

Scouting Wyoming Area: The Warriors defeated Nanticoke Area 26-13 as the offense ran for 210 yards, the most since the season opener. RB Aaron Crossley scored three times, his first TDs since Week 1. However, the unit is still trying to find a solution to moving the ball through the air. The defense has surrendered long scoring runs in consecutive games.

Bottom Line: Not as bad as the last time the teams played, but Wyoming Area should still win.

Hazleton Area (4-0) at West Scranton (1-3)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Hazleton Area's Dennis Buchman (16-7), 3rd year; West Scranton's Jake Manetti (1-3), 1st year

Last Meeting: West Scranton 31-0 in 1993

First Meeting: Hazleton Area 10-7 in 1992

All-Time Series: Tied 1-1

Scouting Hazleton Area: The Cougars had their toughest game so far, holding off Wilkes-Barre Area 20-7. The offense had 330 yards, but really had to work for them much harder than in the first three games. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half, but Hazleton Area really didn't put away the game until midway through the fourth quarter. The team really needed to be tested for four quarters and WBA obliged.

Scouting West Scranton: The Invaders lost 42-13 to Dallas after a loss to Scranton and now get Hazleton Area. That's three current 4-0 teams in a row for a rebuilding program. Not idea. Evan Laybourne-Boddie scored both TDs vs. Dallas, one of a 90-yard kick return and the other on a 80-yard pass. West Scranton is playing better than during last year's winless season, but there is still a long way to go.

Bottom Line: Hazleton Area should roll into next week's showdown with Dallas.

Honesdale (2-2) at Tunkhannock (1-3)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Honesdale's Paul Russick (8-14), 3rd year; Tunkhannock's Mike Marabell (16-28), 5th year

Last Meeting: Tunkhannock 41-20 in 2020

First Meeting: Honesdale 30-12 in 2000

All-Time Series: Honesdale 4-3

Scouting Honesdale: The Hornets turned in another strong defensive effort in a 14-12 win over previously unbeaten Lackawanna Trail. They also shut out Wyoming Area in Week 2. The offense, though, hasn't been as strong as needed. RB Max Mickell had 102 rushing yards against Trail and will be Tunkhannock's main focus against Honesdale's run-heavy attack. He's also thrown the team's only TD pass.

Scouting Tunkhannock: Tunkhannock has been struggling on defense all season. Case in point was last Friday's 29-22 loss to Carbondale, a team which had scored 21 points total in its first three games. The Chargers just missed having two 100-yard rushers. The Tigers have been fine on offense, showing the ability to move the pigskin via run and pass. But the unit can't be expected to light up the scoreboard in order to win.

Bottom Line: Honesdale's defense could be the difference.

Lake-Lehman (1-3) at Nanticoke Area (1-3)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Lehman's Jerry Gilsky (83-54) 13th year; Nanticoke Area's Ron Bruza (48-77), 13th year

Last Meeting: Lehman 15-0 in 2021

First Meeting: Nanticoke Area 38-20 in 1967

All-Time Series: Lehman 26-24

Scouting Lehman: The Black Knights rallied — thanks in part of a bizarre series of penalties — to defeat Holy Redeemer 22-20. Those penalties set up the game-winning TD with 1:36 left. RB Javon Borger ran for a career-high 142 yards, a good sign for an offense which has struggled mightily. The defense gave up 310 yards in the air, but that shouldn't be an issue against the run-based Nanticoke Area offense.

Scouting Nanticoke Area: The Trojans were within a touchdown of the lead into the fourth quarter vs. Wyoming Area, only to fall 26-13. RB Zach Fox ran for 152 yards on 19 carries, but 81 came on a TD run. They had some mild success throwing the ball with a season-high 59 yards, but no doubt they will continue to run the ball. The defense has been solid except for the Old Forge game.

Bottom Line: Looks like a low-scoring game as neither offense has found its rhythm.

Valley View (3-1) at Pittston Area (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Valley View's George Howanitz (109-66), 16th year; Pittston Area's Nick Barbieri (19-34), 6th year

Last Meeting: Valley View 48-0 in 2019

First Meeting: Valley View 15-8 in 1969

All-Time Series: Valley View 11-5-1

Scouting Valley View: The Cougars have been on a roll since a season-opening loss to Crestwood. They built at 33-point lead and gave up a couple late TDs in a 33-13 win vs. North Pocono. RB Connor Hilling, one of the best in the area, had 195 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Veteran QB Adam Howanitz can keep defenses honest with his passing ability, although Valley View doesn't throw all that much.

Scouting Pittston Area: QB Drew DeLucca had three TD passes as Pittston Area put away Hanover Area early in a 40-12 victory. The Patriots were up 40-0 at the break in winning their second in a row. The running game has shown some life as well. The defense has surrendered just one touchdown in the last two games, but will be facing its toughest test since the opener vs. Hazleton Area.

Bottom Line: Valley View is picking up steam toward another district title run.

Wilkes-Barre Area (2-2) at Berwick (2-2)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: WBA's Ciro Cinti (87-90), 17th year; Berwick's Mike Bennett (2-2), 1st year

Last Meeting: Berwick 28-7 in 2021

First Meeting: Berwick 55-7 in 2019

All-Time Series: Berwick 2-0

Scouting WBA: The Wolfpack did a solid job slowing down unbeaten Hazleton Area's offense, but couldn't get their offense in gear in the 20-7 loss. They moved the ball at times, but a handful of plays just didn't go their way. The secondary was minus two starters yet played well against Hazleton Area's aerial assault. It was a one-score game midway through the fourth quarter.

Scouting Berwick: The Dawgs had a second consecutive strong defensive game in a 34-10 win vs. Williamsport. They've allowed 157 yards rushing total in the last three games and are creating momentum-swinging turnovers. The offense has also popped off some big plays in the last two games. However, WBA will be bring a better defense into Crispin Field than Williamsport did.

Bottom Line: If the Wolfpack can limit Berwick's recent quick-strike ability, they could come home with a win.

Williamsport (1-3) at Crestwood (3-1)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Williamsport's Mike Pearson (22-33), 6th year; Crestwood's Ryan Arcangeli (21-15), 4th year

Last Meeting: Williamsport 33-13 in 2021

First Meeting: Williamsport 21-14 in 2008

All-Time Series: Williamsport 6-5

Scouting Williamsport: There is a major red flag flying over Williamsport recently. The Millionaires are simply giving up way too many long touchdown runs. Dallas and Berwick have combined for five TD runs of 50 yards or more the past two weeks, including two of 75 yards or more. Obviously, unacceptable. WR Jamaire Harden had a breakout game vs. Crestwood last year, but Williamsport hasn't been able to pass consistently thus far.

Scouting Crestwood: Crestwood kicked in the mercy rule at halftime in its 49-21 win vs. Wyoming Valley West. RB Noah Schultz has rushed for 360 yards and seven TDs in the last two games and will be running against a defense which hasn't been able to stop the run. Freshman QB Jaden Shedlock hit on all four passes vs. the Spartans, a good sign going forward as the passing offense develops.

Bottom Line: Crestwood can run the ball; Williamsport can't stop the run. Case closed.

Wyo. Valley West (0-4) at Dallas (4-0)

7 p.m. Friday

The Coaches: Valley West's Jack Baranski (8-24), 4th year; Dallas' Rich Mannello (57-28), 8th year

Last Meeting: Dallas 28-27 OT in 2021

First Meeting: Valley West 41-6 in 1967

All-Time Series: Valley West 17-14

Scouting Valley West: The Spartans lost their 10th in a row, falling 49-21 to Crestwood. There have been some close losses in the streak, but not the last two games. A couple fourth-quarter TDs made the Crestwood score look closer. The offense is averaging less than 200 yards per game. The running game has 391 yards so far. By comparison, it had 350 rushing yards in last season's loss to Dallas.

Scouting Dallas: The Mountaineers had a tougher-than-expected time with West Scranton before pulling away in the second half for a 42-13 win. RB Parker Bolesta continued to trample defenses at a torrid pace, gaining 173 yards, and could be the first back over 1,000 yards rushing with a typical (by his standards) game vs. WVW. Any concerns about first-year starting QB Brady Zapoticky have seemed to dissipate.

Bottom Line: Dallas has the tools to wear down the Spartans.

Milton (3-1) vs. Holy Redeemer (2-2)

7 p.m. Saturday

at King's College

The Coaches: Milton's Phil Davis (14-49), 6th year; Redeemer's Tyson Kelley (5-23), 4th year;

Last Meeting: Milton 35-21 in 2021

First Meeting: Milton 35-21 in 2021

All-Time Series: Milton 1-0

Scouting Milton: The Black Panthers were off to their best start ever under Davis' guidance until losing to powerful Mount Carmel 41-19. Milton, though, led 13-12 at halftime and trailed 28-19 going into the fourth quarter. QB Cale Bastian had a big night running the ball, although his passing was off compared to previous games. Xzavier Minium is another running threat who must be corralled.

Scouting Redeemer: The Royals had a bundle of consecutive penalties late in its game with Lake-Lehman, allowing the Black Knights to pull off a 22-20 victory. The penalties also included an ejection. The whole mess prevented Redeemer from winning three in a row for the first time in the program's history. The passing offense was very good once again, but the running game took a step backwards.

Bottom Line: Milton played better than last Friday's final score indicated.