NEPA Sports Nation

Today in NEPA Sports Nation, 11/19

The two most hotly contested titles in District 2 will be settled Friday night while three teams from the district begin state competition as the football playoffs continue.

Class 4A and 3A each have three rounds of district play because the two mid-sized classifications are the ones in which District 2 has the most teams.

That three-step process culminates in quality matchups with North Pocono (10-2) at Valley View (11-1) in Class 4A and Wyoming Area (10-1) at Scranton Prep (10-0) in Class 3A.

While those titles are being decided, Delaware Valley, Lackawanna Trail and Old Forge try to make progress in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs.

Delaware Valley (9-3) meets State College (6-5) in Class 4A at Hazleton Area. Lackawanna Trail (8-3) plays at Northern Lehigh (9-3) in Class 2A and Old Forge (10-0) takes on Williams Valley (9-2) at Dunmore in Class A.

All games are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts.

Defense and sturdy ground games will be on display when North Pocono and Valley View meet.

North Pocono posted its fifth shutout of the season against Honesdale to open the district playoffs. Valley View reached the final by making Berwick its third shutout victim during last week’s semifinals.

The Trojans, who held six straight opponents to seven points or less during a late stretch of the regular season, are coming off a different type of effort in their semifinal win. They defeated Dallas, 41-26, by outrushing the Mountaineers, 337-61.

Valley View outrushed Berwick, 208-54.

Each offense has a 1,000-yard weapon – Valley View runner Connor Hilling and North Pocono passer Will Soma. Soma also led the ground game last week with 164 yards on 18 carries.

The Cougars have passed less, but, with the exception of the regular-season finale against unbeaten Scranton Prep, kept winning since losing quarterback Adam Howanitz to a season-ending knee injury in the middle of the season.

Inside linebackers Ty LaFave and Zach Hoover and defensive end A.J. Ambrossechia lead a North Pocono defense that both makes stops and produces its own big plays.

Andrew Heid, Jordan Rebar and Dante Randle are the top tackles for Valley View. Sean Mackinder, also the team’s leading receiver, has six interceptions.

Valley View is ranked seventh in the state among Class 4A teams by while North Pocono is one of the eight honorable mentions listed after the top 10.

The Scranton Prep-Wyoming Area game is a meeting of state-ranked teams. Scranton Prep is third in Class 3A, according to Wyoming Area joined the rankings this week in 10th.

Division championship teams meet in a rematch of the 2019 District 2 championship game that Wyoming Area won, 27-0, on the way to the district’s only state championship of the 2000s.

Scranton Prep’s offense is built around the explosive talents of London Montgomery, who is averaging 270 yards per game and 13.6 per carry on the ground. In 8 games, he has 2,160 yards and 34 touchdowns rushing while also scoring once on a return and by taking his only pass reception of the season 53 yards for a score.

Mike Golay, Mick O’Malley, Aidan Colleran and Andrew Durkin are the top tacklers on a defense that is coming off its first shutout of the season, 42-0, over Mid Valley in the semifinals. The Lackawanna Football Conference Division 2 champions also held three other opponents scoreless until after the offense had put the game into the Mercy Rule.

Wyoming Valley Conference Class 3A Division champion Wyoming Area suffered its only loss to defending state Class 2A champion Southern Columbia on a touchdown in the final minute.

Blaise Sokach-Minnick has passed for 1,171 yards and a 15-1, touchdown-to-interception ratio while running an offense that has picked up more than 250 yards from 5 rushers and 3 receivers.

Jayden Rusyn, Aaron Crossley and 300-pound lineman Nick Elko are the top tacklers.

Delaware Valley, which opened the season with three straight losses against tough competition, carries a nine-game winning streak into its state Class 6A game.

The Warriors are facing one of the teams they have had trouble getting past in their frequent state playoff trips.

State College eliminated Delaware Valley, 38-7, on the same field two years ago. State College also won, 56-19, in 2018 and, 21-14, in 2017 in games played in Danville.

Delaware Valley posted its first state win on the Class 6A level last season when it advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Altoona, 35-14.

Joe Sciascia has 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing while C.J. Ross has thrown for 1,327 yards by spreading the ball among four receivers who have between 17 and 21 catches.

Justin Kalitsnik is the leading tackler while Ryder Machado has five interceptions, including the one he returned 94 yards to clinch the 35-20 district championship game victory over Hazleton Area.

The Little Lions come into the game off a 17-14 District 4-6 Subregional championship game victory over Williamsport, a team Delaware Valley defeated, 26-0.

State College did come four points closer while losing to Downingtown East, the teams’ other common opponent.

Delaware Valley, the LFC Division 1 champion, is one of six honorable mention teams in the Class 6A state rankings.

Lackawanna Trail tests itself on the Class 2A level after reaching the state final and semifinals in 2018 and 2019 in Class A.

Kody Cresswell leads the Lions with 1,107 rushing yards.

R.J. Schirg and Cole Choplosky lead the defensive front and are part of the blocking that makes the wing-T offense go.

Northern Lehigh is coming off a wild, 64-34 victory over Palmerton in the District 11 championship game in which Matt Frame ran for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The two teams are among the five honorable mention Class 2A teams in the state rankings.

Old Forge puts its No. 1 state ranking on the line against No. 6 Williams Valley.

James Sobol has had to shut it down early in many Old Forge blowouts, but the quarterback has put up incredible numbers for his limited opportunities. He is 73-for-98 (74.5 percent) for 1,373 yards with 18 touchdowns and just 1 interception.

The LFC Division 4 champions have allowed only 20 first-half points all season while limiting opponents to 101.6 yards per game.

Angelo Fumanti, John Greenfield and Josh Spindler are the leading tacklers.

Williams Valley is led by Alex Achenbach with 1,657 yards and 16 touchdowns rushing and Isaac Whiteash with 1,334 yards and 11 touchdowns passing.

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