WVC football: Dallas dominates Hazleton Area

By John Erzar - jerzar@timesleader.com
Dallas running back Lenny Kelley, left, gets past Hazleton Area defensive back Nolan Schneider during Friday’s Wyoming Valley Conference game in Dallas Township. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area running back Damon Horton, right, gets near the goal line as Dallas’ Lenny Kelley makes the tackle during Friday’s Wyoming Valley Conference game in Dallas Township. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Dallas wide receiver Matt Maransky, right, celebrates with teammate Jack Farrell after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Starbuck during Friday’s game against Hazleton Area in Dallas Township. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area quarterback Sparky Wolk turns to hand the ball off during Friday’s game against Dallas in Dallas Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Hazleton Area’s James Bugda, left, trips up Dallas’ R.J. Wren on the opening kickoff Friday night in Dallas Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Dallas head coach Rich Mannello, left, leads the Dallas Mountaineers onto the field prior to Friday’s game against Hazleton Area in Dallas Township. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

DALLAS TWP. — Down 14 points late in the third quarter Friday night, Hazleton Area decided to try a run on a fourth-and-1 from its own 29-yard line.

The strategy was simple.

“At that point we were like, ‘We can’t give them the ball back again,’” Hazleton Area coach Mike Brennan said.

Dallas linebacker Dylan Schuster stuffed the running play, Dallas got the ball back and scored. Like the Mountaineers did so many times before in their 44-21 victory over Hazleton Area in a Wyoming Valley Conference interdivisional game.

Running back Lenny Kelley led the offensive assault, rushing for 168 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Michael Starbuck added two long catch-and-run TD passes in the first quarter — a 46-yarder to Matt Maransky and a 56-yarder to Luke Delgaudio. And the defense put the final touches on the victory as defensive lineman Mike Anderson sacked Hazleton Area quarterback Sparky Wolk in the end zone for a safety early in the fourth quarter.

It all added up to Dallas going to 3-0 and Hazleton Area falling to 1-2.

“Every week you’re measured the same way,” Dallas fourth-year coach Rich Mannello said. “But we’re at a point right now where we’ve never been as a program. We came in here 2-0 with a 6A squad coming in with tremendous players. Dealt with adversity. That was the first week we didn’t score on the first drive. We dealt with adversity immediately.”

And adversity struck again to end the first half.

Dallas had a 64-yard TD pass wiped out by a holding call, but regrouped and scored on the drive as Kelley picked through the defense for a 26-yard touchdown run. Hazleton Area, though, answered right back and moved within 28-21 when running back Damon Horton scored from a yard out on the first half’s final play.

The Cougars then received the second half kick off and drove to the Dallas 31-yard line. But on a third-and-10, defensive lineman Xander Shaner recorded a sack, one of six times Wolk was tackled in the backfield attempting to pass.

Dallas then drove 80 yards after a punt, with Kelley’s 8-yard run boosting the lead to 35-21.

“They completely controlled the line of scrimmage on the offensive side,” Brennan said. “I think the thing tonight was they appeared to executive flawlessly offensively. They took us out of some of the things we do with the pressure.”

The Dallas defense also slowed down Horton, who had 270 rushing yards entering the game. Horton had 84 yards at halftime, but added just 16 more in the final two quarters.

“He’s special, he is something,” Mannello said. “We told the kids he’s going to get his yards, we got to limited the big plays and gang tackle, stay in our lanes. But he’s a handful.”

Dallas 44, Hazleton Area 21

Hazleton Area`7`14`0`0 — 21

Dallas`14`14`14`2 — 44

First quarter

DAL — Matt Maransky 46 pass from Michael Starbuck (Ryan Fisher kick), 6:53

HA — Damon Horton 1 run (Will Garcia kick), 2:43

DAL — Luke Delgaudio 56 pass from Starbuck (Fisher kick), 2:21

Second quarter

HA — Horton 2 run (Garcia kick), 10:55

DAL — Lenny Kelley 11 run (Fisher kick), 6:20

DAL — Kelley 26 run (Fisher kick), 1:06

HA — Horton 1 run (Garcia kick), 0:00

Third quarter

DAL — Kelley 8 run (Fisher kick), 5:07

DAL — Kelley 3 run (Fisher kick), 0:10

Fourth quarter

DAL — Safety, Spark Wolk sacked in end zone, 11:16

Team statistics`HA`DAL

First downs`19`17

Rushes-yards`39-102`31-211

Passing yards`189`187

Total yards`291`398

Passing`17-31-0`7-12-0

Sacked-yards lost`6-36`1-6

Punts-avg.`3-40`2-40

Fumbles-lost`1-0`1-1

Penalties-yards`5-60`8-45

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Haz Area, Horton 24-100, Wolk 12-(minus-4), Lance Johnson 1-3, Dallas Solomon 1-3. Dallas, Kelley 21-168, Sean Cuba 1-3, Starbuck 7-37, Nikolus Gashi 1-4, team 1-(minus-1).

PASSING — Haz Area, Wolk 17-31-0-189. Dallas, Starbuck 7-12-0-187.

RECEIVING — Haz Area, Dave Smith 6-76, Jacob Hunsinger 7-73, Nolan Schneider 2-18, Horton 2-25, Johnson 1-(minus-3). Dallas, Maransky 1-46, Delgaudio 4-91, Kelley 1-17, Gashi 1-22, Jack Farrell 1-11.

INTERCEPTIONS — none.

MISSED FGs — none.

Dallas running back Lenny Kelley, left, gets past Hazleton Area defensive back Nolan Schneider during Friday’s Wyoming Valley Conference game in Dallas Township.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL090818Dallas-HazAreaFB_1.jpgDallas running back Lenny Kelley, left, gets past Hazleton Area defensive back Nolan Schneider during Friday’s Wyoming Valley Conference game in Dallas Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area running back Damon Horton, right, gets near the goal line as Dallas’ Lenny Kelley makes the tackle during Friday’s Wyoming Valley Conference game in Dallas Township.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL090818Dallas-HazAreaFB_2.jpgHazleton Area running back Damon Horton, right, gets near the goal line as Dallas’ Lenny Kelley makes the tackle during Friday’s Wyoming Valley Conference game in Dallas Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Dallas wide receiver Matt Maransky, right, celebrates with teammate Jack Farrell after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Starbuck during Friday’s game against Hazleton Area in Dallas Township.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL090818Dallas-HazAreaFB_3.jpgDallas wide receiver Matt Maransky, right, celebrates with teammate Jack Farrell after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Starbuck during Friday’s game against Hazleton Area in Dallas Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area quarterback Sparky Wolk turns to hand the ball off during Friday’s game against Dallas in Dallas Township.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL090818Dallas-HazAreaFB_4.jpgHazleton Area quarterback Sparky Wolk turns to hand the ball off during Friday’s game against Dallas in Dallas Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Hazleton Area’s James Bugda, left, trips up Dallas’ R.J. Wren on the opening kickoff Friday night in Dallas Township.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL090818Dallas-HazAreaFB_5.jpgHazleton Area’s James Bugda, left, trips up Dallas’ R.J. Wren on the opening kickoff Friday night in Dallas Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Dallas head coach Rich Mannello, left, leads the Dallas Mountaineers onto the field prior to Friday’s game against Hazleton Area in Dallas Township.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL090818Dallas-HazAreaFB_6.jpgDallas head coach Rich Mannello, left, leads the Dallas Mountaineers onto the field prior to Friday’s game against Hazleton Area in Dallas Township. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By John Erzar

jerzar@timesleader.com

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar