DALLAS TWP. – Dallas took control in a span of four plays in the first half.
It put Pittston Area away Friday night with a steady pounding throughout the second half.
The Mountaineers turned fumbles into scores twice in 12 seconds midway through the first quarter then held the ball for all but 50 seconds of the fourth quarter to polish off a 38-7 Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A Division win over the Patriots.
“We don’t make those two mistakes at the beginning of the game and maybe it’s a different game,” Pittston Area coach Nick Barbieri said.
Chris Murray picked up a fumble at the Pittston Area 20 and returned it to the 3 where quarterback Michael Starbuck was able to score on the next play.
It got worse for the Patriots from them.
When they did not cleanly field the kickoff, Dylan Schuster recovered the loose ball and older brother David Schuster took a pass from Michael Starbuck 17 yards on the next play.
“We keep doing that,” Barbieri said of the mistakes. “They’re too good to do that. Then, in the second half, their offensive line destroyed us.
“They just ran the ball right down our throats.”
Pittston Area answered the early Dallas flurry by driving 86 yards in eight plays. Walter Coles hit three straight passes for 71 yards in the last four plays.
Kevin Krawczyk slipped a tackle along the sideline to turn an eight-yard pass into a 42-yard gain. He then scored on an 18-yard touchdown by reaching high on a leaping catch over two defenders in the back of the end zone and still managing to get a foot down in-bounds.
Mike Mikitish added the kick to cut the Dallas lead to 14-7 with 1:49 left in the first quarter, but Pittston Area did not score again.
Dallas scored a touchdown and field goal in its two remaining first-half possessions, then pulled away in the second half.
Pittston Area lost four turnovers and did not force any.
“We need to get tougher mentally and tougher physically,” Barbieri said.