The Wyoming Valley Conference has sent 15 opponents to play Scranton Prep since the start of the 2015 football season. All attempts to defeat the Cavaliers have resulted in failure.
Now it’s Lake-Lehman’s turn — for the second time this season, no less — to end the dismal streak.
The Black Knights (7-4) will play Prep (11-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Scranton Memorial Stadium for the District 2 Class 3A championship. Prep will be seeking its third consecutive D2-3A title. Lehman will be going for its first district crown since 2013 when it won at Class 2A.
Prep’s last loss to a WVC opponent came in the 2014 D2-3A semifinals when Berwick defeated the Cavaliers 51-29. Since then the victories have piled up — most of them lopsided. Prep has outscored those 15 WVC teams 571-91, including three 42-0 shutouts this year.
The Black Knights were one of those 42-0 victims on Sept. 8.
“The first time around, we did everything wrong,” Lehman coach Jerry Gilsky said. “You look at it, we had third-and-21, third-and-18, a third-and-12 and a fumble in the four series in a row and they converted. Our defense didn’t perform in those third-and-longs. Up front, they pretty much handled us. Obviously, we can’t do what we did last time because we gave up 42 points.”
Prep running back Matt Gilmartin was the biggest nemesis. He rushed for 124 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries. The senior has been a major pain for WVC teams, rushing for 642 yards (6.0 ypc) and 10 touchdowns in five games this season. Fullback Ivan Balavage and running back Brayden McAllister are also running threats. Quarterback Leo O’Boyle doesn’t throw often, but had four TD tosses in a 42-0 semifinal win over Meyers.
“They’re gifted all around,” Gilsky said. “It’s hard to find a weak spot. They’re comfortable with what they do. They have a very good line that runs their zone schemes. Overall, they’re calm with what they run. There is no sense of urgency at all. They really believe in what they do is very good.”
Lehman won five in a row after losing to Prep. The Black Knights then lost their final two regular-season games — to D2-4A top seeds Berwick and Dallas — but bounced back to defeat Western Wayne 27-26 in overtime in the semifinals.
Matt Kurtz came up big for Lehman in overtime, scoring on a 6-yard run and then making the first hit on Western Wayne quarterback Dylan Walck on a two-point conversion stop that would have won the game for the Wildcats.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar