KINGSTON — Wyoming Valley West picked the perfect time to start playing its best football of the season.
For the second straight week, the Spartans dominated their opponent at home.
In the District 2 Class 5A semifinal Nov. 3, they avenged a loss to Abington Heights in the district championship game a year ago by thrashing the Comets, 63-14.
With the victory, Valley West (5-6) has won four of its last five games and advances to the district title game against face top-seeded Wallenpaupack at 7 p.m. Nov. 9.
The Spartans sprinted out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter, thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns by Sean Mikovitch and a passing score from Jake Shusta to Jake Blaski.
But a long second quarter that consisted of six touchdowns and lasted about an hour saw the Comets get back in the game.
After a 80-yard interception return for a touchdown by Sulaiman Ismail put the Spartans up 28-0 on the first play of the quarter, Abington Heights scored on a 72-yard touchdown run by Kaleb Sherman, and followed that up with a fumble recovery and another score from Sherman to cut the lead in half at 28-14 with 7:28 left in the first half.
That was the last threat the Comets had, though, as Valley West scored five unanswered touchdowns to put the game away.
“They kind of knew that we let things get away from us there for a couple minutes and they were able to regroup and get back on the same page,” Valley West coach Pat Keating said about his team’s lapse in the second quarter.
The Spartans’ defense kicked it into high gear after allowing the two second-quarter scores.
In addition to Ismail’s pick-six, Blaski picked off three passes, including returning one 50 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter that extended the score to 61-14. The Valley West defense also forced three fumbles, recovering two of them, sacked Comets quarterback George Tinsley three times for 27 yards lost, and recorded a safety.
“It was definitely their best performance of the year so far tonight,” Keating stated about his defense. “We’ve really been struggling in the turnover category most of the year.”
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