THROOP — Wyoming Area officially crossed the threshold from Big School to Small School in football when the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association recounted its enrollment figures for the new two-year cycle that began Friday night.
That does not mean the Warriors are required to play like the little guys.
Wyoming Area scored three times in the first 10 minutes, then showed off a depth uncommon among Class 3A teams while overpowering host Mid Valley, 48-7.
With 31 players making at least one tackle and nine runners sharing ball-carrying duties, Wyoming Area outrushed Mid Valley, 304-27.
Corey Mruk joined Dominic DeLuca in leading the offense with two rushing touchdowns each and joined F.J. Braccini and Cameron Carr in leading a defense that gave up just 40 yards of total offense in 50 plays by the Spartans.
“We created short fields,” Warriors coach Randy Spencer said. “All things considered, playing a lot of guys in the first game, I thought our defense performed well.”
That defense held Mid Valley to minus-3 yards offense in the first quarter while Wyoming Area was opening a 21-0 lead and kept the Spartans frozen at that number through halftime.
“We wanted to stop them from the jet sweep, trap and belly and we did that pretty well,” DeLuca said.
Mid Valley played without one returning 1,000-yard rusher in Colin Hazleton, who watched the game from the sideline, and Wyoming Area held the other, Joe Chylak, to minus-6 yards on 13 carries.
Chylak took over at quarterback for part of the game after Patrick Ferke left early with an injury.
Wyoming Area lost Sammy Solomon, its Division I prospect who was making his debut with the Warriors after transferring from Wyoming Valley West. Solomon left the game midway through the first quarter with a lower leg injury and was taken out of the stadium on a cart at halftime.
The Warriors still had far too many weapons for the Spartans.
DeLuca ran 24 yards on the game’s second play and Mruk carried four times in a season-opening, 10-play, 53-yard drive to score exactly three minutes in. Mruk converted fourth-and-two, then scored from the 6 on the next play.
Wyoming Area pushed Mid Valley back and forced a punt, which DeLuca returned 17 yards to the Spartans 35.
DeLuca converted another fourth-down situation, ran 19 yards on the next play, then scored on a 4-yard run to make it 14-0 with 2:58 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors scored again less than a minute later when Braccini picked up a fumble and returned it 29 yards for the touchdown.
A turnover also figured prominently in Mid Valley’s only score.
Sebastian Brudnicki broke up a screen pass, popping it up into the air where Josh Angelo picked it off and returned it 14 yards to the 7.
After two plays netted just one yard, Chylak got to the left flag on third-and-goal.
Wyoming Area regained the three-touchdown lead in the final minute of the half when DeLuca scored again from 4 yards out after sacks by Anthony Scalzo and Mruk pushed Mid Valley back and allowed the Warriors to gain possession at the Spartans 41.
The Warriors could not move on their first two possessions of the second half, but the defense pinned the Spartans again, leading to a 30-yard scoring drive that culminated in Mruk’s 1-yard touchdown for a 35-7 lead after three quarters.
Freshman Leonardo Haros got all six of his carries in the next drive, gaining 62 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown.
Then, sophomore Vincenzo Giambra turned his only carry into a 65-yard touchdown to put the last 55.3 seconds of the game in the Mercy Rule.
In one run, Giambra matched DeLuca for the team rushing lead. Mruk ran for 50 yards and Darren Rodney 34.
“We have some players that have game experience from last year,” Spencer said. “We didn’t have a featured back really coming back from last year.
“We have some guys who can play that role. Night-to-night, it’s going to be who’s running well, who’s feeling good, who gets a little momentum. And, obviously, if we can keep some guys fresh, a running back-by-committee is not a bad thing.”
Carr had a team-high six tackles, including one for a sack, and added another pass rush. … Wyoming Area had statistical edges of 14-3 in first downs and 325-40 in total offense. … One of Mid Valley’s first downs came via penalty. … A strong kicking game combined with the defense to give Wyoming Area an average field position of starting drives from its 43. … DeLuca had two punts for an average of 42.5 yards, pinning Mid Valley at the 7 with one. … Aleah Kranson, an all-star soccer player and starter on a playoff basketball team, made her football debut by going 3-for-3 kicking extra points.
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