WEST PITTSTON — Faced with a 14-point deficit just 3:20 into the game, Wyoming Area appeared to be in danger of a letdown after its big win last week at Berwick.
Brian Miles made sure that did not happen.
The senior tailback bulled his way to 194 yards and four touchdowns Friday night as the Warriors stormed past visiting Coughlin, 38-14, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A Division game at Jake Sobeski Stadium.
“It feels great, knowing how hard we worked in the offseason and how much of a family we’ve become,” Miles said after the Warriors improved to 4-0, including wins over their top two in-division challengers the past two weeks. “We’re just getting hungrier every week.”
Miles led the response to Coughlin’s shocking start.
Vincent Todd covered 148 yards without being touched the first two times he got his hands on the ball, allowing the Crusaders to sprint to a 14-0 lead.
Todd returned the opening kickoff 82 yards. He then took Coughlin’s third offensive play – and its first with Todd as the Wildcat formation quarterback – 66 yards for another score.
Miles took an option pitch 15 yards to convert a third-and-4 into the first Wyoming Area first down, and the Warriors were off and running from there.
P.J. Angeli’s 25-yard pass to Marc Anthony Minichello highlighted the 10-play, 62-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 1-yard Miles touchdown.
The score was the first of four touchdowns by Miles in a span of 19:12 to put Wyoming Area ahead, 28-14, early in the second half.
“What we can look at for the first several weeks of the season now, whenever we face adversity, whenever a team has come and scored on us, we’ve been able to come right back,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said. “That’s really one of the things that I can say as far as the highest praise for this team to this point is our ability to respond to those situations.”
The Warriors set themselves up for another big game next week at home against Scranton Prep by keeping Coughlin from getting closer than the 33 the rest of the game.
Miles tied the game with his most impressive single effort. He bounced off one tackler, then ran straight over another on the way to a 61-yard touchdown with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter.
Brandon Charney, who finished 5-for-5 on extra points and made his only field goal attempt from 29 yards, added the tying kick.
James Eslick’s fumble recovery and 12-yard turn to the Wyoming Area 41 set up the go-ahead score.
Dylan Kostak caught a 15-yard pass from Angeli to convert fourth-and-4, but left the game one play later with a lower leg injury.
With the fullback missing the rest of the way, Miles seemed to run even harder.
Miles scored from the 1, one play after Angeli found Minichello for 18 yards on fourth-and-9.
Wyoming Area broke the game open by making it scores on six straight drives.
Miles ran 16 yards off left tackle for a touchdown after Angeli took a quarterback sweep 30 yards.
Steve Homza took over at quarterback when Angeli left the game with leg cramps. Homza hit Minichello in the back of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal after four penalties in the series.
Miles also contributed to the defense. He made seven tackles, including two for losses and one momentum-stopper for no gain, and assisted on another.
Coughlin fell to 2-2.
Wyoming Area 38, Coughlin 14
COU – Vincent Todd 82 kickoff return (Michael Cinti kick), 11:49
COU – Todd 66 run (Cinti kick), 8:40
WA – Brian Miles 1 run (Brandon Charney kick), 4:12
WA – Miles 61 run (Charney kick), 10:58
WA – Miles 1 run (Charney kick), 4:52
WA – Miles 16 run (Charney kick), 9:00
WA – Marc Anthony Minichello 29 pass from Steve Homza (Charney kick), 1:35
WA – Charney 29 FG, 8:38
RUSHING — COU, Todd 12-101, Jake Cole 9-52, Jervon Young 5-26, Eric Sovan 2-3, Matt Zalaffi 1-2, Kevin Kozerski 1-minus 3. WA, Miles 26-194, P.J. Angeli 3-33, Jesse Cegelka 2-31, Dylan Kostak 4-15, Steve Homza 2-9, Minichello 1-6, Justin Joseph 5-6.
PASSING — COU, Kozerski 2-4-1-14. WA, Angeli 5-9-0-70, Homza 3-5-0-68.
RECEIVING — COU, Malik Diop 1-10, Todd 1-4. WA, Minichello 3-72, Dante DeLuca 2-40, Kostak 1-15, Brian Williams 1-10, Miles 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS — COU, None. WA, Minichello 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – None.