AP NEWS

Scranton Prep Defeats Lakeland; Wasilchak Resigns

November 17, 2018
1 of 2

Scranton Prep Defeats Lakeland; Wasilchak Resigns

SCRANTON — Don’t call junior tailback Tucker Johnson a backup. Scranton Prep head coach Terry Gallagher has another word for him. “He’s a stud,” Gallagher said. “Tucker is one of the best football players we’ve had... here. “If he had to play offensive tackle, he would do it. He’s not worried about numbers. He’s got a crazy motor, a great attitude, he’s a tough, tough kid. And he’s a heckuva athlete.” Johnson may not worry about numbers, but he produced them, rushing for 231 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters, and leading Scranton Prep to the District 2 Class 3A championship, 47-19, over Lakeland in head coach Jeff Wasilchak’s final game. Wasilchak told his players of his resignation in the post-game huddle, adding that he is stepping down to spend more time around his young sons. “I told them right now, thanks for being part of my story,” an emotional Wasilchak said. “Thanks for being part of my story.” In 22 seasons as a head coach, including his first 11 at Lackawanna Trail, Wasilchak had a record of 179-85. He was 81-47 in 11 years at Lakeland. Meanwhile, Scranton Prep advances to the PIAA quarterfinals against the District 4 champion, Danville or Montoursville, which play tonight. Johnson filled in for injured 1,000-yard rusher Ryan Cosgrove in Saturday’s title game at Memorial Stadium and was up to the task — and then some. Five of his carries went for 22 yards or more. “It all started with the big boys up front,” Johnson said. “Without them, it wouldn’t be possible. “I wouldn’t want to run behind anyone else.” Prep’s fourth straight district title didn’t come easily, however. Lakeland struck on its first play as CJ Dippre dropped a 58-yard bomb into the lap of Thomas Pidgeon for a 7-0 lead. “They came out and got us on our heels a little bit,” Gallagher said. “I thought our kid had pretty good coverage on the first touchdown pass. The ball just dropped perfectly over his hand.” Prep answered in 10 plays, with quarterback Leo O’Boyle scrambling out of the pocket and hitting Michael Grady with a 10-yard touchdown dart. Johnson’s 44-yard burst with 1:42 left in he first gave Prep a 13-7 lead, but Dippre blocked the extra point. Lakeland countered, thanks in part to a pair of 15-yard penalties against Prep. The Chiefs (9-4) tied the game when Dippre lofted a 44-yard pass that James Lewis hauled in one-handed with 9:11 left in the half. “Give credit to our kids because they fought and played hard the whole time. We gave it everything we had,” Wasilchak said. “Against a team like that you have to be nearly perfect because they do so many things well and they’re a senior-laden team,” he said. That Lakeland couldn’t do, and Johnson had a lot to do with it. He carries six times for 66 yards on Prep’s next drive, capping it with a 3-yard touchdown run. “I’m just doing whatever I can to get the job done,” Johnson said. “You just have to keep pushing no matter what. You have to grind through it.” Lakeland threatened one more time, starting the second half, but a sack by Robert Dibileo and Dan Belardi snuffed out the threat, and Johnson ripped off runs of 38, 30 and 10 yards before O’Boyle lobbed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Colleran. “It’s the first time we’ve been through a little adversity in the last couple weeks and I thought we leaned on the older guys to set the tone in the second half,” Gallagher said. “I thought the second half we got our feet underneath us and played a little better.” Ben Jones capped Prep’s next drive with a 5-yard scoring run with 58 seconds later, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, Belardi intercepted a screen pass in the end zone to make it 41-13. “It was very cool,” said Belardi, a two-way lineman for the Cavaliers. “I’ve always wanted to score a touchdown and I was in the right place at the right time. “The ball came right to me, tipped it up and I was right there.” Prep added its final score when Nick Terrery raced 16 yards with 5:28 left in the game. Pidgeon connected with Dippre for a 6-yard score off a reverse with 1:18 for the final touchdown under Wasilchak. Contact the writer: mmyers@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9125; @mmyersTT on Twitter

AP RADIO
Update hourly