LEHMAN TWP. – When the offense isn’t quite clicking, like on Friday night, Wyoming Area knows it can rely on its defense.
Just like the Warriors did once again in a Wyoming Valley Conference Class 3A/A Division showdown with Lake-Lehman.
Wyoming Area forced four turnovers in the third quarter and added another in the fourth as the Warriors eventually pulled away for a 29-7 victory.
Wyoming Area (6-0) opened up a two-game lead in the division over Lake-Lehman and Meyers, both of which are 4-2.
“Our defense has done an exceptional job all year,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said. “Lake-Lehman does a great job on the ground; they pushed us. But we got in a situation where we got stout when we needed to. And coming up with five turnovers throughout the course of the game really was the difference.”
Wyoming Area led 6-0 at halftime on the strength of a 35-yard touchdown pass from Dominic DeLuca to Brian Williams late in the first quarter where Williams dove to topple over the right pylon for the score. But aside from that, the Warriors did little on offense, as they had 62 total yards and two first downs going into halftime.
Meanwhile, the Black Knights moved into Wyoming Area territory four times, including to the 15-yard line, only to come up empty on every occasion.
Lake-Lehman also dominated ball control, running 32 plays to Wyoming Area’s 13 through the first two quarters. Everything changed after halftime as the Black Knights turned over the ball three times on their first six plays.
The first turnover, a diving interception by Darren Rodney, set up a six-play, 38-yard drive where DeLuca carried the ball on three consecutive plays before finding Williams in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown.
DeLuca then picked off a pass on Lake-Lehman’s fourth play from scrimmage but fumbled the ball back to the Black Knights on the interception return. The Black Knights, though, fumbled it right back with Warriors defensive lineman Dante Bovani flopping on top of the ball.
The recovery set up a 22-yard field goal by Aleah Kranson, giving Wyoming Area a 15-0 lead at 4:30 of the third quarter.
DeLuca intercepted another pass late in the quarter.
Lake-Lehman appeared to get back into the game when Tyler Billotti scored on a 66-yard pass from Ethan Adams at 8:14 of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 15-7. But Wyoming Area answered the score.
A 27-yard pass to Dimitri DiPietro on a third-and-10 from the Wyoming Area 36-yard line kept a drive alive. DeLuca finished it off with four consecutive rushes, including a 9-yard TD run.
Lehman’s final gasp ended when Wyoming Area defensive lineman Tom Wycoski intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage. He immediately headed for the end zone, but the 275-pounder didn’t get very far. No matter because running back Corey Mruk darted up the middle four plays later for a 36-yard touchdown.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.