DALLAS – The void is, perhaps, too big to expect any one player to fill.
Mike Baur, though, did his best to do so on Saturday afternoon.
The junior quarterback – making his first start replacing graduated Eugene Lewis – ran for three touchdowns and accounted for 245 yards of offense as Wyoming Valley West knocked off Dallas 28-14, spoiling the debut of Mountaineer coach Bob Zaruta.
"I thought for a first start he played tremendous," Valley West coach Pat Keating said. "He ran the ball extremely tough, which I knew he could do. And he didn't make any crucial mistakes that cost us."
Lewis thrilled the Wyoming Valley Conference as a runner and thrower, parlaying his incredible athletic ability into a football scholarship at Penn State.
Baur, though, showed both aspects.
He completed 8-of-12 passes for 154 yards. He rushed 21 times for 91 more.
Valley West snapped a scoreless tie on a 5-yard run by Baur at 9:49 of the second quarter.
It also gave Baur a boost of confidence.
"I'd say after my first touchdown run where we did the fake," Baur said, "and see the whole crowd going crazy and (Dallas fans) are silent. I realized we could do this, this is for real."
Baur added a pair of 1-yard TD sneaks, the final coming with 1:04 left until halftime for a 21-7 advantage.
Big plays led to all three short TD runs.
On the first scoring drive, Baur hit running back Derrick Simms with a screen pass that turned into a 46-yard gain to the Dallas 11-yard line. On the second, receiver Lucky Williams caught a 68-yard pass before being stopped at the Dallas 1. Simms had a 38-yard run to the Dallas 5 on the third.
"On the good side, they didn't drive the football on us," Zaruta said. "But we also gave up those three big plays and that's part of the game. There were probably a couple that on the offensive side of the ball that could have been big plays for us and they weren't. That happens in football and you go with that."
Dallas quarterback Ryan Zapoticky, an All-WVC selection last season, had a big game statistically. He hit on 16-of-24 passes for 172 yards, including a beautifully-place 34-yard TD toss to Darik Johnson in the second quarter.
What Zapoticky's stats didn't show was the relentless pressure he faced. He was sacked seven times for minus-55 yards.
"It was very important to get pressure," said Valley West senior nose tackle Tony Le, who had his hand in a few sacks. "He's a very good quarterback. He can really sling it."
Even when Dallas moved within 28-14 on a 59-yard TD run by Kris Roccograndi with 9:47 to play, the Mountaineers couldn't sustain the rally because of the pressure. Their final two drives ended at the Valley West 5 and 28 after Zapoticky had to hurry throws.
Wyoming Valley West 28, Dallas 14
|Wyoming Valley West||0||21||7||0||—||28|
WVW – Mike Baur 5 run (Ian Ultsh kick), 9:49
WVW – Baur 1 run (Ultsh kick), 5:49
DAL – Darik Johnson 34 pass from Ryan Zapoticky (Ryan Kozloski kick), 2:52
WVW – Baur 1 run (Ultsh kick), 1:04
WVW – Derrick Simms 2 run (Ultsh kick), 2:36
DAL – Kris Roccograndi 59 run (Kozloski kick), 9:47
|Team Statistics||Valley West||Dallas|
RUSHING – WVW, Derrick Simms 15-82, Mike Baur 21-91, Brett Good 4-19, Josh Oritz 4-18, team 2-(minus-3). Dallas, Kris Roccograndi 10-73, Ryan Zapoticky 14-(minus-10), Bill Gately 1-(minus-3), Zach Macosky 1-8, Ryan Kozloski 1-5.
PASSING – WVW, Baur 8-12-0-154. Dallas, Zapoticky 16-24-0-172, team 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING – WVW, Lucky Williams 4-89, Good 2-15, Simms 2-50. Dallas, Roccograndi 3-15, Darik Johnson 5-68, Jason Simonovich 5-67, Kozloski 3-22.