Lake-Lehman makes crucial stop to seal win over Western Wayne

By Tom Fox - For Times Leader
Gilsky -

SOUTH CANAAN TWP. — The decision was made. Randy Wolff was going for the win.

The Western Wayne coach had no hesitation sending his Wildcat offense back on the field for the winning two-point conversion. And Matt Kurtz was going to make sure Lake-Lehman didn’t leave Wayne County with a loss.

Kurtz slid down the line, and managed to catch the foot of Wildcat quarterback Dylan Walck as the rest of the Knights’ defense teamed up for the tackle. Walck was 1-yard short of the goal line on the two-point try and No. 3 seed Lake-Lehman survived, 27-26, in the semifinals of the District 2 Class 3A tournament.

Lehman advances to play top-seed Scranton Prep, which rolled past Meyers in the other semifinal.

“Coach wanted an opportunity to put a medal over our heads, and we are fighting for that gold,” Kurtz said. “To share this with my teammates, it’s amazing. We know that Prep is going to be tough, but we are going to keep fighting. We won’t quit.”

Jerry Gilsky kind of had a feeling Wolff would elect for the two-point conversion. The Lehman coach wasn’t 100 percent sure, but he knew if the shoe was on the other foot, his decision would have been the same.

“I give him so much credit on that call,” the Lehman head coach said. “I bet you 90 percent of the coaches wouldn’t make that call. As a coach, you want to put your kids in the position to get that win.”

Lehman got the ball first in the overtime period, and on third-and-goal, Kurtz took the hand-off, found a hole in the left side, and carried two defenders into the end zone for the 6-yard score. Henry Selingo’s extra point gave the Knights a 27-20 lead.

Western Wayne, backed up five yards on a false start, lost three yards on the first play after Walck was ripped down in the back field. But on the second play, the team’s other quarterback, Matt Valanda, dropped back and found Caleb Brumgard, who made an amazing catch over a Knight defender for the 18-yard score.

That’s when the decision was made.

“Matt has made pressure throws all year. I wouldn’t expect anything less of him,” Wolff said. “I just thought it was the right time to go for the win. I think the kids wanted it, and I thought we had a good play that we could execute well. Give Lake-Lehman credit. They made a great play.”

Walck, who had success in run-option formations, took the snap and rolled to his left. But like on previous plays, there was no daylight as Kurtz grabbed his foot and his Lehman teammates finished off the tackle short of the goal line.


“We knew they were going to space us,” Gilsky said. “We knew he was going to run that keeper because they had success on that play in the second half. Our kids made one great stop there.”

It didn’t appear overtime was going to be an option. Lehman was rolling in the first half as two short scores by quarterback Nate O’Donnell gave the Knights a 14-0 lead with 5:05 left before halftime. But a short, 2-yard punt right before halftime allowed Western Wayne to crawl back as Valanda found Alex Kuha in the middle of the field for the 17-yard TD — trimming the deficit to 14-7 at the break.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the third — a Walck 4-yard run and a Casey Kaminski 90-yard kick-off return where he broke three tackles on his way to paydirt.

Western Wayne tied the game with 6:43 left on Walck’s 10-yard keeper off the right side.

D2-3A Semifinals

Lake-Lehman 27, Western Wayne 26, OT

LL`0`14`6`0`7 – 27

WW `0`7`6`7`6 – 26

Second Quarter

LL: Nate O’Donnell 2 run (Henry Selingo kick), 10:40

LL: O’Donnell 1 run (Selingo kick), 5:05

WW: Alex Kuha 17 pass from Matt Valanda (Jake Shepherd kick), 0:12

Third Quarter

WW: Dylan Walck 4 run (kick wide), 2:22

LL: Casey Kaminski 90 kick return (kick short), 2:05

Fourth Quarter

WW: Walck 10 run (Shepherd kick), 6:43


LL: Matt Kurtz 6 run (Selingo kick)

WW: Caleb Brumgard 18 pass from Valanda (run failed)

Team Statistics `LL`WW

First Downs `10`9

Rushes-Yards `45-183 `29-83

Passing Yards `36`117

Total Yards `219`200

Passing `2-5-0`11-21-1

Sacked-Yards Lost `0-0`3-15

Punts-Average `5-15.7`5-29.2

Fumbles-Lost `2-2`3-1

Penalties-Yards `5-54`5-50


RUSHING — LL, Trey Borger 20-104, Matt Kurtz 18-54, Zack Kojadinovich 4-13, Nate O’Donnell 5-12. WW, Koby Sauter 7-20, Cole Fuller 2-1, Danny Boots 1-2, Ben Burkhardt 1-3, Matt Valanda 6-11, Dylan Walck 12-46.

PASSING — LL, Nate O’Donnell 2-5-0, 36 yards. WW, Matt Valanda 6-11-0, 77 yards; Dylan Walck 5-9-1, 40 yards.

RECEIVING — LL, Zack Kojadinovich 1-29, Nate LaBar 1-7. WW, Alex Kuha 4-44, Bailey Walck 2-35, Cole Fuller 1-4, Dylan Walck 1-5, Koby Sauter 1-10, Ben Burkhardt 1-4, Caleb Brumgard 1-18.


MISSED FG — none


By Tom Fox

For Times Leader

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLSports

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLSports