HS FOOTBALL: Valley View Handles West Scranton
SCRANTON — West Scranton was right where it wanted to be against Valley View on Friday night.
Its defense bent, but didn’t break on the Cougars’ first three possessions, and a goal-line interception late in the first half kept it a one-score game.
However, two plays after forcing that turnover, the Invaders committed one of their own. All the momentum shifted and stayed with Valley View the rest of the way.
Janaasah Boone ran for three touchdowns, Cam Ceccotti booted two long field goals and the No. 1 Cougars topped No. 4 West Scranton, 26-7, in a hard-hitting Lackawanna Football Conference Division II game at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
After having some trouble handling the West Scranton passing game early, the Valley View defense kept the Invaders offense in check for the final 2½ quarters.
Junior linebacker Cain Bennett had six tackles (5 solo, 1 assist), one sack and recovered the game-changing fumble. Senior defensive end Kevin Duffy added four tackles (3,1), 2½ sacks and forced a fumble as the Cougars improved to 3-0 overall (1-0 league).
“We thought we struggled in the first half defensively,” Duffy said. “But we had a great second half. We played with a lot of energy.”
For the first part of the game, West Scranton (1-2 overall, 0-1 league) matched Valley View’s intensity.
Two plays, however, hurt the Invaders. One was the fumble. The other was a dropped pass of what looked like a sure touchdown.
“Drops are going to happen,” West Scranton coach Brian Fahey said. “Against good teams like Valley View, though, you have to capitalize on those opportunities.
“The fumble, we had them going into the half at a one possession game. That turnover, giving them that short field, obviously was a big momentum swing for them.”
Valley View took the opening kickoff and moved 60 yards in eight plays with Boone scoring on a 6-yard run to make it 6-0 with 9:26 left in the first quarter as the extra point was blocked.
Recovering a fumble on the first West Scranton series, Valley View extended the lead to 9-0 when Ceccotti booted a 42-yard field goal with 5:24 left in the first.
On the ensuing possession, West Scranton answered. Nick Gioia hit Avery McAullife for 39 yards on a third-and-11 play from his 19. On the next play, Gioia found Quentin Vassill for the 42-yard touchdown. Mike Gowarty’s extra point made it 9-7 with 3:57 to go in the first.
Back came the Cougars. Chase Combs returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards to the West 35. Eight plays later, Ceccotti nailed a 39-yard field goal to make it 12-7 with 11:16 left in the second.
“They have faith in me,” Ceccotti said. “Whenever they give me the chance, I’m going to try my hardest to make it. When I do, it feels great.”
The dropped potential touchdown came on the Invaders’ next possession and could have given them the lead.
Instead, Valley View moved into scoring position again before McAullife halted the threat with an interception at the West 2 with 3:29 left before halftime.
But, on second down, the Invaders fumbled and Bennett recovered for Valley View at the West 3.
“That was just a huge confidence booster and helped us get the win,” Duffy said.
Boone knew the Cougars needed to capitalize on the turnover.
“Because we didn’t score before that, we got into the huddle and I said, ‘Guys, we’re scoring on this. Let’s go,’ ” Boone said.
Mason Kordish gained two yards on first down and then Boone snuck it in from the 1 on second down for the touchdown. Ceccotti’s kick made it 19-7 with 2:04 left in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Valley View put together a 9-play, 57-yard drive with Boone scoring his third touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run with 5:30 left.
He finished with 49 rushing yards and 141 passing yards. Kordish added 75 rushing yards.
“We knew they were going to be keying on me,” Boone said. “So we used Mason Kordish and when we got into the pass a little bit, it was hard for them to stop us.”
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