SCRANTON – Normally, Ricky Morgan is a quiet leader.
Morgan, however, had no problem making sure his teammates knew what Saturday afternoon’s game meant to him.
“As soon as the schedule was released, I circled this game,” said Morgan, a Shavertown resident who ran for a game-high 143 yards and scored two touchdowns against many of the teammates from his youth while leading Scranton Prep to a 48-0 rout of visiting Dallas. “I basically have been working all year for this.”
Morgan sprinted 45 yards through the secondary with 4:42 remaining in the second quarter, then scored again from the 1 with 6:22 left in the third quarter while stretching a 20-point lead to 34-0.
“Every game is special, but this is just a little bit more and I was just happy to be a part of it,” said Morgan, who played junior football and junior high football with much of the Dallas lineup. “I made it known that this is a meaningful game to me.”
Morgan said a great effort blocking and a big game from quarterback Jake Ryan made it easy for him to excel.
Scranton Prep, which defeated Dallas in the semifinals on the way to last year’s District 2 Class 3A championship, dominated up front. The Cavaliers outrushed the Mountaineers, 353-37.
Ryan carried 6 times for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns while going 6-for-10 for 64 yards and another touchdown passing. All of those statistics were compiled in the first half. He did nothing but hand off in the second half before giving way to the second and third quarterbacks while the Cavaliers (3-1) went deep into their bench.
“They’re good all the way around,” Dallas coach Rich Mannello said. “They have great skill kids. You look at those linemen and they can move.
“Their quarterback does a great job. They ran the ball right at us. They really have a nice combination of speed, strength and skill going right now.”
That combination also includes two other players from Wyoming Valley school districts in prominent roles, linebackers Ivan Balavage from Avoca and Lucas Stage from Tunkhannock.
Balavage and Stage were Scranton Prep’s second- and third-leading tacklers Saturday. Balavage led the team with four tackles in the first half and also had two assists and two plays where he rushed the passer into an incompletion. Stage had an interception to go along with four tackles and an assist.
Dallas had its own defensive standout while battling to stay in the game early.
Linebacker David Schuster had six tackles and two assists in the first quarter when Scranton Prep only scored once for a 6-0 lead. Schuster added two tackles, including one for a loss, in the second quarter and assisted a third-quarter tackle before both teams began substituting heavily.
Dallas fell to 1-3 and was shut out for the second time. The Mountaineers, who had six freshmen receive significant playing time Saturday, have to face Wyoming Valley West next.
Mannello said all the Mountaineers could do was move on to preparing for that game. As he left the Scranton Memorial Stadium for a bus ride home, he said that process was about to start.
“We’ll turn the page in the next hour and half,” he said. “That’s what you have to do.
“These guys are going to keep playing.
“Guys are growing up right in front of us. It’s just got to happen faster.”
Scranton Prep 48, Dallas 0
SP – Sam Dickson 10 pass from Jake Ryan (kick blocked), 1:50
SP – Ryan 75 run (Alec Buttner kick), 11:36
SP – Ryan 2 run (Buttner kick), 6:34
SP – Ricky Morgan 45 run (Buttner kick), 4:42
SP – Morgan 1 run (Buttner kick), 6:22
SP – Matt Gilmartin 15 run (Buttner kick), 0:57.8
SP – Cullen Chesnick 24 run (Buttner kick), 3:10
RUSHING — DAL, Justin Hutchins 13-31, David Schuster 3-7, Dylan Schuster 2-3, Michael Starbuck 2-0, Stone Mannello 5-minus 4. SP – Morgan 19-143, Ryan 6-101, Gilmartin 9-59, Chesnick 1-24, Michael Greco 3-13, Brayden McAllister 3-11, Ryan Cosgrove 2-3, Braden Burrier 1-2, Joe Walsh 1-1, Team 5-minus 4.
PASSING — DAL, Mannello 3-11-1-18, Starbuck 0-1-0-0. SP – Ryan 6-10-1-64.
RECEIVING — DAL, Da. Schuster 2-6, Chris Murray 1-12. SP: Jake Grady 3-35, Burrier 1-12, Dickson 1-10, Mario Giannone 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS — DAL, Leonard Kelley 1-42. SP – Lucas Stage 1-minus 1.
MISSED FGs — None