KINGSTON — The decision was made before Michael Baur lunged his way into the end zone on fourth down, even before Chris Baranski’s show-stopping catch to save the drive.
And for what it’s worth, even in hindsight, both coaches agreed it was the right call to make.
Easton stopped a two-point conversion attempt with 20 seconds remaining to end Wyoming Valley West’s championship hopes. The stop put the Red Rovers on top 35-34 in the District 2/4-11 Class 4A quarterfinal Friday at Spartan Stadium.
“I decided it when we were going on the last drive,” Wyoming Valley West coach Pat Keating said. “I knew we were going for it at home and we were having a hard enough time stopping them defensively. Ten yards, stopping them consistently would be tough for us. We had momentum.
“I thought three yards on our home field. Let’s take a shot and go get the win.”
Since both District 2 teams fell in the quarterfinals, Wyoming Valley West will host Scranton for the District 2 championship next Friday.
In the end, it was a matter of execution gone wrong. A mixup on the handoff on the reverse run call allowed the Easton defenders to swarm Bill Davison. Davison had no where to go and was tackled at the 3-yard line. Wyoming Valley West nearly converted an onside kick but the Red Rovers pounced on it to end the game.
“We went for the reverse,” Keating said. “I think we had a bit of a mix-up on the handling of the ball. That’s football. That play you could run a 100 times and 99 times we could run it well.”
“Not surprised at the call,” Easton coach Steve Shiffert said. “Surprised with the play. We were all telling our kids to watch out for the quarterback to roll out the ball. I guess they tried to catch us.”
Baur put the Spartans on his back in the fourth quarter after trailing 14 points with less than 10 minutes remaining. Baur scored two of his three rushing touchdowns in the waning minutes and was a two-point conversion from sending the game to overtime.
He finished with 112 yards rushing on 123 carries. Baur threw for 219 yards, hitting Michael Sands seven times for 151 yards.
“They’re as good as anybody we play in the Lehigh Valley Conference, I tell you that,” Shiffert said. “That quarterback is a heck of a football player. He’s going to make some college coach real happy.”
An unfortunate turnover proved to be the differencemaker for most of the game as the Spartans and Red Rovers seemed to trade touchdowns. Easton’s Kyle Bambury fumbled the ball on a 13-yard scamper, and Wyoming Valley West’s Jordan Mason recovered the ball in the end zone with less than 90 seconds remaining. Two plays later, Wyoming Valley West fumbled the ball. Easton scored on a 20-yard pass to Dalvyn Reynolds to go into the break with a 28-14 lead.
Sands set up an Eric Acosta score with a over-the-shoulder 48-yard catch in the third quarter.
The Spartans had difficulty stopping Easton’s Kyle Bambary. Bambary finished with 266 yards on 35 carries.
D2/4-11 4A Quarterfinal
Easton 35, Wyoming Valley West 34
Wyo. Val. West`7`7`7`13`—`0
EAS — Joey Ford 6 pass frm Bradley Wilkins (Matt Semanick kick), 9:50
WVW — Michael Baur 6 run (Ian Ultsh kick), 6:05
EAS — Kyle Bambary 1 run (Semanick kick), 3:02
WVW — LJ Wesneski 17 pass from Baur (Ultsh kick), 3:47
EAS — Dalvyn Reynolds 20 pass from Wilkins (Semanick kick), :57
EAS — Bambary 6 run (Semanick kick), 3:31
WVW — Eric Acosta 1 run (Ultsh kick), :07
EAS — Reynolds 30 run (Semanick kick), 9:55
WVW — Baur 2 run (Ultsh kick), 7:34
WVW — Baur 2 run (run failed), :20
RUSHING — EAS, Bambary 35-266, Wilkins 1-2, Reynolds 6-45, Ford 1-9, TEAM 2-(minus-3). WVW, Baur 23-112, Jordan Mason 1-0, Acosta 11-57, Sean Judge 1-2, Troy Yashinski 2-6, TEAM 1-(minus-1).
PASSING — EAS, Wilkins 4-8-0-45, Ford 1-1-0-45. WVW, Baur 12-21-0-219.
RECEIVING — EAS, Bambary 1-9, Ford 1-6, Wilkins 1-45, Reynolds 1-20, Kyle Walsh 1-10. WVW, Chris Baranski 3-53, Michael Sands 7-151, LJ Wesneski 1-17, Acosta 1-(minus-2)
INTERCEPTIONS — None
MISSED FGs — EAS, Semanick, 39