WILKES-BARRE — After carrying the ball 39 times Saturday night, what’s the difference if Wyoming Area’s Jeff Skursky carried it one more time.
The difference was victory.
Skursky bashed his way into the end zone from 3 yards out with 35.5 seconds to play as Wyoming Area rallied to defeat Meyers 14-8 in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2A-A game.
Skursky’s previous high for carries was 27 set a week earlier in a victory over Holy Redeemer. His 40th rush Saturday, coming on a banged up knee, gave him 171 yards for the night and gave the Warriors (3-4) their third win in their last four games.
“I had to put it all out for my team,” said Skursky, a 210-pound junior. “Our line stuck their backs out for me. I wasn’t going to let them down. This was a big game, and the coaches trusted me with the ball on the last play.”
Victory didn’t come with some nervousness on Meyers’ last possession. A short kick and a personal foul penalty eventually put the Mohawks (2-5) at the Wyoming Area 43-yard line with 7.3 seconds left. Quarterback Zahir Dunell rolled left and then took off, weaving his way down to the 16 where he was stopped at the clock ran out.
Dunell, normally a receiver, quarterbacked nearly the entire second half. Starter Matt DeMarco, the WVC’s top rushing quarterback with 914 yards, aggravated a right ankle injury suffered last Friday against Hanover Area. Even before he did, it was obvious the ankle was bothering him on his two rushes that netted 7 yards.
“He was about 50 to 60 percent,” Meyers coach Corry Hanson said. “We put sets in where he could just handoff the ball and see if we could get a little bit of running out of him. Early on in that first quarter he tweaked that ankle a little bit, so we pulled him.
“We made the decision at halftime to go with Zahir. We probably should have made the decision a little sooner. Zahir played well for us.”
No one played as well as Skursky, who carried the ball nine times in Wyoming Area’s 11-play opening possession. He put Wyoming Area on the board at 6:04 of the second quarter with a 1-yard TD run.
Wyoming Area maintained that lead with a goal-line stand late in the third quarter when a botched Meyers option play resulted in a 15-yard loss to the Warriors’ 21-yard line.
The Warriors dug themselves out of the hole, only to be tossed back into it when Meyers’ Raheem Twyman returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown with 7:07 to play. It was Twyman’s second special teams touchdown in two games. He returned a blocked punt for a score against Hanover Area in a 42-36 loss.
Meyers then went for a two-point conversion since its kicker is hurt, and Dunell got just enough of the right corner to slice in for it and an 8-7 lead.
“That’s the way you go through the year and the adversity you face,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said. “What we talked about this week with the team was, as a program we pride ourselves not just on years where you go to the playoffs or find yourself in championship game, but we always pride ourselves on getting better throughout the year.”
Wyoming Area’s game-winning drive of 70 yards included conversions of third-and-5 and fourth-and-1. Both times Skursky carried the ball.
Wyoming Area 14, Meyers 8
WA — Jeff Skursky 1 run (Danielle Stillarty kick), 6:04
MEY — Raheem Twyman 85 punt return (Zahir Dunell run), 7:07
WA — Skursky 3 run (Stillarty kick), 0:35
Team statistics`Wyo Area`Meyers
RUSHING — Wyoming Area, Skursky 40-171, Marty Michaels 2-4, Ryan Gorki 9-49, Ryan Murray 1-(minus-6), Jason Wilson 3-5, Kyle Burton 1-5, team 1-(minus-20). Meyers, Matt DeMarco 2-7, Nate Mahalak 7-29, Mark Robinson 13-49, Josh Schiowitz 1-4, Dunell 7-25.
PASSING — Wyoming Area, Burton 0-1-1-0, Gorki 0-1-0-0. Meyers, DeMarco 2-6-0-34, TJ Cistrunk 0-1-0-0, Dunell 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING — Meyers, Robinson 1-0, Twyman 1-34.
INTERCEPTIONS — Meyers, Schiowitz 1-0.
MISSED FGs — None.