HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Furious Fourth Quarter Lifts Valley West Past Scranton
KINGSTON — For the second straight season, Valley West won the fourth-quarter battle against Scranton.
This year, it was good enough to seal the victory.
Carson Canavan had a big night, racking up almost 250 yards of offense and scoring twice in the fourth quarter as the Spartans pulled away for a 24-13 victory Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
“After last year seeing how slow we started, I kept telling these young guys that we had to start strong and keep grinding through,” said Canavan, who had 133 yards rushing and 113 receiving. “I didn’t think I had the second one in me, but the burners just turned on.”
No doubt, Valley West needed a spark.
While the offense numbers were stout with almost an even split between rushing and passing, holding onto the ball was an issue for the Spartans. They fumbled seven times, but the final one was almost the back-breaker as Scranton’s James Vieira ripped the ball from a VW rusher and went 23 yards to the end zone for a 13-10 lead right at the end of the third quarter.
Canavan provided the flint that lit the Spartan offense on fire in the fourth.
Taking advantage of excellent field position after a Knight punt, Valley West needed just four plays to drive 29 yards for the game-winning score as Nate Baranski took the first-and-10 snap, rolled out and found the senior near the right pylon for the 16-yard score with 6:06 remaining.
“It was a heck of a read by Nate on that play because they sent a corner blitz,” WVW head coach Pat Keating said. “We had the right call at the right time, and Nate read it right. Carson, what can I say? He made a heck of a play and had a great second half. But that’s Carson. He’s the type of kid that prides himself on his conditioning. He gets better as the game goes along.”
After the Spartan defense held Scranton to a quick, three-and-out on the next possession, Canavan put the game away three plays later, busting through the line of scrimmage and rumbling 70 yards for the score .
He had a similar play in the first half where he beat the Knight secondary, but was caught from behind after a 67-yard reception.
There was no catching him on his second touchdown.
“The first time when they caught me, I kind of turned my shoulder a little bit,” Canavan said. “This time, I knew I was getting into the end zone.”
While the Spartan offense shows glimpses of brilliance with the two-quarterback system of Baranski and Jake Shusta, the defense was pretty special itself – holding Scranton to just 117 yards and sacking quarterback Will Cobley three times.
“We just made too many mistakes and had a lot of missed assignments,” Scranton head coach Steve Shumbres said. “Valley West has a good football team, and they took advantage of our mistakes. Once they put that score up to make it 17-13, we couldn’t regroup. It’s a long season, and this one game won’t define us. We will correct the mistakes and use this as a starting point for us.”
Scranton jumped out to the quick lead in the opening quarter. After a blocked punt set up the Knights deep in Valley West territory, Jerrod Brown rumbled from 25 yards out for an early, 6-0 lead.
WVW answered on the next possession. Following the 67-yard connection from Baranski to Canavan to set up the Spartans in the Knights’ red zone, Darius Redguard broke through the middle of the line for the 10-yard touchdown and the 7-6 lead after one.
“We told the kids that we still have a lot of correct,” Keating said. “At times early, we let our emotions get the best of us. But in the end, we stood together and kept positive. We believed we could win the game, and that’s a tribute to these seniors and their leadership. I’m proud of the guys.”
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