Wyoming Area swim program facing adjustments

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch
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Wyoming Area may have to compete as just one team instead of two in Wyoming Valley Conference swimming this season.

Already low numbers in the program were reduced by graduation losses and the decisions of some athletes not to return this season.

Coach Natalie Carr used recruiting efforts to increase the number of team members, but was still working with just 12 this week, eight girls and four boys.

Carr said she planned to discuss options with athletic director Joe Pizano prior to the start of WVC competition Dec. 12.

If the Warriors remain in the boys league, they can compete as a co-ed team with girls swimming against boys from other schools. If they stick with a girls team, the boys can swim exhibition events against boys teams from other schools, without working toward a team score.

In either case, individuals will be able to seek qualification for district boys and girls competition based on their times during the regular season.

FOOTBALL

Former Pittston Area head football coach Mike Barrett played a key role in Valley View’s District 2 Class 4A championship and state quarterfinal appearance.

Head coach George Howanitz credited Barrett, the team’s offensive coordinator, for the patience behind the team’s approach to rallying for a tie in the fourth quarter, then beating Berwick, 24-17, in a double-overtime district final at Crispin Field.

Valley View had a 26:23-9:37 time of possession advantage over the final three quarters.

Despite playing from behind, the Cougars passed for just five yards while relying on a ball-control ground game to control field position as well as possession.

“We stuck to our game plan,” Howanitz said. “I give Mike Barrett a lot of credit for that. He calls the offense and he didn’t get out of our element.

“That’s what we’re good at doing. We said to our kids, ‘if we can’t do it, we’re not going to win anyway’. At this point, you can’t be grasping at straws and going to Plan Bs when the score is 14-7. We stuck to it and I think we wore them down a little bit in the end.”

Another coach with Greater Pittston ties guided the last team standing in District 2.

Jack Henzes, who began his career as the second-winningest coach in Pennsylvania high school history at Wyoming Area, kept his Dunmore Bucks unbeaten in last week’s state quarterfinals when three other district teams were being eliminated.

The Bucks rallied from 14 down to avenge last year’s season-ending loss with a 23-20 win over Ligonier Valley in Class 2A.

Dunmore, which had six straight shutouts earlier this season, had allowed the fewest points of any team in the eastern half of the state going into Friday night’s state semifinal against Southern Columbia.

Scranton Prep’s season ended in Class 3A with a 35-0 loss to Middletown.

Ivan Balavage from Avoca averaged more than 10 tackles per game to lead the defense for the Lackawanna Football Conference Division 2 and District 2 Class 3A champion Cavaliers.

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By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.