KINGSTON – The final three minutes of the Eastern Conference Class 4A semifinal compensated for the painstakingly colorless 45 minutes of playoff football previously displayed.
Wyoming Valley West scored the only points of the game with 27 seconds remaining to defeat Emmaus 6-0 on Friday. The Spartans advance to Eastern Conference final, where they will host Nazareth.
The Spartans stopped a potential game-winning drive with 90 seconds left and drove 75 yards – more than a third of their total offense for the game – to find the end zone. Alan Sakosky cut inside on a slant pattern to pick off Emmaus' Andrew Kerson on the Spartan 23-line.
I don't think it was the best game from an execution standpoint but it was as good of a game that we've played from a heart and intensity standpoint, Wyoming Valley West coach Pat Keating said. Our guys fought all game. It was that heart that came out and won the game for us in the fourth quarter.
Michael Baur ran a bootleg 10 yards into the end zone, solidifying the Spartans' first win over an Allentown-area opponent since a 1972 (coincidentally, also 6-0) victory over Dieruff.
After the interception, we go into two-minute mode and try to win the football game – and that's what we did, Keating said.
A devastating penalty scarred Emmaus and revived the Spartans' touchdown drive. A late pass interference call nullified an incomplete fourth down pass attempt that would have given the Hornets' possession with 38 second remaining. Instead, the Spartans advanced to the Emmaus 25 and scored two plays later.
Emmaus coach Joe Bottiglieri contended that his players believed the ball was tipped at the line.
All of our guys were saying the ball was tipped, he said. The other thing I was wondering is was why the flag came out so late. The play was over, and I didn't think there was a penalty. Of course, it was fourth down.
Penalties were a recurring problem for the Hornets, which finished with 55 yards of penalties. A penalty reversed a Kyzir White interception return that would have supplied Emmaus a touchdown in the second quarter.
Emmaus' defense and special teams gave the Spartans' few drives that advanced past the 50-yard line. The Hornets' defense held Wyoming Valley West running back Derrick Simms to 2 yards per carry and limited wide receiver Lucky Williams to just 24 receiving yards.
Bottiglieri said he was planning to play for field position and hope to benefit from the short field.
When we had them pinned down there, it is nothing-nothing, Bottiglieri said. If we kick off to them, now maybe they get better field position. I would have just pinned them back there the way our defense was playing. We just couldn't convert.
Eastern Conference Class 4A Semifinal
Wyoming Valley West 6, Emmaus 0
|Wyoming Valley West||0||0||0||6||—||6|
WVW – Michael Baur 10 run (kick missed), :27
RUSHING – EMM: Wyl Miller 6-19, Andrew Kerson 7-29, Daniel Velasco 8-46, Tom Bisko 1-1, Jake Maehrer 1-(minus-2), Prosper Jolo 1-3; WVW: Baur 17-80, Derrick Simms 16-32, Alan Sakosky 2-(minus-1), Brett Good 2-7, Eric Acosta 1-45
PASSING – EMM: Kerson 10-19-2-64; WVW: Baur 5-16-0-38
RECEIVING – EMM: Kyzir White 5-43, Maehrer 3-16, Noah Bertram 1-4, Bisko 1-1; WVW: Lucky Williams 4-24, Josh Ortiz 1-14
INTS – WVW: Sakosky 1-2, Williams 1-30
MISSED FGS – EMM: Dalton Landis, 36