WILKES-BARRE – Al it took was a 61-yard touchdown by GAR running back Justice Lomas for the Wyoming Area Warriors to wake up.
The Warriors had shot themselves in the foot with penalties to cut the previous two drives short, and with Lomas’ long score, the game was suddenly tied.
It was not for long, though.
The Warriors received their wake-up call loud and clear, and Darren Rodney took over in the second quarter. The junior running back scored a pair of touchdowns as Wyoming Area went up by two scores before half.
From there, the Warriors (5-0) coasted to a 41-7 over the Grenadiers (1-4), scoring their final 34 points unanswered.
“It helped us a lot. Got our motivation going. Helped us perform better,” Rodney said. “It was a good win. We just have to keep going.”
Lomas’ touchdown took the Wyoming Area defense for surprise — something Warriors head coach Randy Spencer wasn’t pleased about.
GAR quarterback Kam Taylor took the snap and looked to throw a swing pass to the senior running back. Taylor’s throw skipped off the Wilkes-Barre Memorial turf and into the hands of Lomas, who darted for the end zone.
The pass was backwards, making the play legal.
“Have to play snap to whistle,” Spencer said. “That was a question whether it was a lateral or it was a backwards. Obviously, it was called a live ball and you have to play snap to whistle — bottom line. There was no whistle on the play. We have three guys there that are able to make a play and you just have to keep playing football.
“Hats off to GAR. Justice made a good play. They certainly have the speed and athleticism. If you give them opportunities they’re going to make plays.”
Rodney, who rushed for the two scores and 76 yards on 10 carries, led a multi-faceted rushing attack that saw 13 different Warriors carry the ball for 324 yards. Junior running back Corey Mruk, who got the first touch of the game, finished with 67 yards on six carries.
With the running game working, Wyoming Area went to it early and often as the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.
Of the 62 plays the Warriors ran, 47 of them were rushes.
“We expected to see eight or nine in the box and that’s what they did,” Spencer said. “Little inconsistent at times, but as we got into the flow of the game, I think we saw where we wanted to approach it. We played a little more consistently as we got into the game.”
But before Rodney could score his second touchdown of the game, making it 20-7, a somber hush fell over the crowd after the running back was tackled after a 3-yard gain.
Wyoming Area center Stephen Sokach-Minnick got caught underneath the pile, where he fractured his right leg.
The senior offensive lineman left the game on a stretcher with an air cast on his right leg.
“One of our leaders — senior. Outstanding center, outstanding long snapper. Does a lot of things for us,” Spencer said. “Thoughts and prayers go out to him. That’s certainly where our thoughts were at that moment and then through the rest of the game.”
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.