WVC football: Big plays propel unbeaten Dallas past Valley West

By John Erzar - jerzar@timesleader.com
Dallas’ Nikolus Gashi makes a leaping catch before running the rest of the way for a 50-yard touchdown on Friday night against Wyoming Valley West. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Dallas’ Jack Farrell holds up the ball after catching a 10-yard TD pass off a fake field goal to end the first half Friday night. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader
Dallas wide reciever Matt Maransky stays ahead of the pack for a gain against Wyoming Valley West on Friday night. - Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

DALLAS TWP. — On the third play Friday night, Dallas quarterback Michael Starbuck threw a strike to Matt Maransky behind the Wyoming Valley West defense for a 61-yard touchdown.

It was a sign of things to come.

Dallas scored on four plays of 50 yards or more and special teams and the defense each chipped in a touchdown as the Mountaineers routed Valley West 42-6 in a Wyoming Valley Conference interdivisional game.

Dallas improved to 5-0, winning a fifth consecutive game for the first time since 2012. Valley West fell to 3-2 with its second consecutive loss.

“I just told the kids they executed in all three phases of the game,” Dallas coach Rich Mannello said. “That (Valley West) offense is a real challenge to handle and get aligned. Our kids did a nice job with it all night long. The special teams, the kick cover unit that made a difference.”

Big plays did as well.

Dallas struck again on the third play of the second quarter. Starbuck threw a short pass to running back Nikolus Gashi, who speared the ball over his head, turned and ran 41 more yards for a 50-yard touchdown.

“They made us throw the football and the kids executed because there were a lot of guys stacked in that box,” Mannello said. “We took what they gave us and the kids executed it well.”

Special teams got into the act on the final play of the half. Dallas lined up for a 27-yard field goal, but instead holder Maransky got up, rolled to his right and hit Jack Farrell in the end zone for a 21-o advantage.

“There’s just a lot of things,” Valley West coach Pat Keating said. “We kind of got stuck in quicksand there. Just a couple big plays, stuff that we were prepared for and we just didn’t make plays. A couple big plays early on. It wasn’t like they were grinding things out … we just let the big plays get to us.”

They got to the Mountaineers as well.

“The kids went into that locker room ready to keep playing, which was good,” Mannello said.

Two of the WVC’s top rushers — Dallas’ Lenny Kelley and Valley West’s Carson Canavan — had mundane first halves. Kelley changed his fortunes in the third quarter.

On a second-and-5 from the Dallas 22-yard line, Kelley took a handoff and tried to find something up the middle. Just when it appeared a short gain would be the result, he darted right down the middle of the field for a 78-yard touchdown.

Four plays later, Dallas enacted the 35-point mercy rule. Farrell intercepted a pass intended for the right flat and scored easily on a 24-yard interception return.

R.J. Wren also had an interception for Dallas, while two sacks in the first half stalled Valley West drives.

Valley West got on the board on the third play of the fourth quarter when Canavan ended a 10-play, 61-yard drive with a 9-yard TD run. Dallas, though, got the points right back as Luke Delgaudio hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass three plays later.

Dallas 42, Wyoming Valley West 6

Wyo. Val. West`0`0`0`6 — 6

Dallas`7`14`14`7 — 42

First quarter

DAL — Matt Maransky 61 pass from Michael Starbuck (Ryan Fisher kick), 11:09

Second quarter

DAL — Nikolus Gashi 50 pass from Starbuck (Fisher kick), 11:26

DAL — Jack Farrell 10 pass from Maransky (Fisher kick), 0:00

Third quarter

DAL — Lenny Kelley 78 run (Fisher kick), 7:28

DAL — Farrell 24 interception return (Fisher kick), 6:22

Fourth quarter

WVW — Carson Canavan 9 run (kick blocked), 11:53

DAL — Luke Delgaudio 53 pass from Starbuck (Fisher kick), 10:17

Team statistics`WVW`DAL

First downs`14`10

Rushes-yards`35-132`24-135

Passing yards`131`223

Total yards`263`358

Passing`12-19-2`7-11-0

Sacked-yards lost`2-9`3-14

Punts-avg.`3-48`3-32.3

Fumbles-lost`3-0`0-0

Penalties-yards`8-48`4-35

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — WVW, Canavan 17-73, Jake Shusta 8-13, Darius Redguard 7-39, Josh Koval 1-2. Zach Tomascik 1-2. Aziz Martin 1-3. Dallas, Kelley 11-137, Starbuck 3-(minus-14), Gashi 2-4, Maransky 2-29, Jake Delgaudio 3-(minus-8), team 3-(minus-4).

PASSING — WVW, Shusta 12-19-2-131. Dallas, Starbuck 6-8-0-213, Maransky 1-1-0-10.

RECEIVING — WVW, Nah-Syr Garner 4-36, Canavan 5-57, Dylan Nastanski 1-13, Redguard 1-13, Jayden Watkins 1-12. Dallas, L.Delgaudio 2-83, Maransky 1-61, Kelley 1-3, Gashi 1-50, Farrell 2-26.

INTERCEPTIONS — Dal, Farrel 1-24, RJ Wren 1-14.

MISSED FGs — None

Dallas’ Nikolus Gashi makes a leaping catch before running the rest of the way for a 50-yard touchdown on Friday night against Wyoming Valley West.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL092218DallasWVWFB1-1.jpgDallas’ Nikolus Gashi makes a leaping catch before running the rest of the way for a 50-yard touchdown on Friday night against Wyoming Valley West. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Dallas’ Jack Farrell holds up the ball after catching a 10-yard TD pass off a fake field goal to end the first half Friday night.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL092218DallasWVWFB3-1.jpgDallas’ Jack Farrell holds up the ball after catching a 10-yard TD pass off a fake field goal to end the first half Friday night. Sean McKeag | For Times Leader

Dallas wide reciever Matt Maransky stays ahead of the pack for a gain against Wyoming Valley West on Friday night.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL092218DallasWVWFB2-1.jpgDallas wide reciever Matt Maransky stays ahead of the pack for a gain against Wyoming Valley West on Friday night. Sean McKeag | 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