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Wilkes-Barre Area Offense Too Much For Scranton

November 2, 2019 GMT

WILKES-BARRE — The two-quarterback system Wilkes-Barre Area utilized this year worked about as well as anyone could have expected. But that system was cut in half on Friday night in the opening round of the District 2 Class 6A playoffs.

With Kam Taylor out because of an injury, Talee Swinney took complete control of the offense and ran it to near perfection. Swinney had a hand in five of Wilkes-Barre Area’s six touchdowns, rushing for two and throwing for three in a 41-12 victory over Scranton at Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium.

Wilkes-Barre Area, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, improved to 7-4 on the season and advanced to next week’s championship game at Delaware Valley. Scranton ends the year 6-5.

“I found out Monday after Kam (Taylor) came back from his MRI that he wouldn’t be able to play,” Swinney said. “This isn’t my first start, but it was different now that I was playing the whole game. I had a chance to show what I can do playing the whole game. I’m really happy. I hope Kam comes back and plays next week. I just want him to be healthy.”

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Scranton had the makings of a productive drive after receiving the opening kick. The Knights stayed mainly on the ground and got as far as the Wilkes-Barre Area 28. But a personal foul moved the ball back 15 yards and a third-down sack forced the Knights to punt.

The Wolfpack needed just three plays to reach the end zone when Rafael McCoy took a handoff and raced 35 yards for a touchdown. It was the first of four consecutive scores for the Wolfpack in the first half.

“They were really well prepared,” Scranton coach Steve Shumbres said. “We had a drive going to start the game but we were called for a penalty. It stalled and they went right down and scored. We just couldn’t get any momentum going after that.”

The Wolfpack seized the opportunity and took off and ran with it.

Nino Cinti caught a pass on the left sideline and raced 62 yards for a touchdown as the Wolfpack opened up a quick 14-0 lead. Swinney connected with Maleek Robinson on a 27-yard touchdown pass, and then called his own number for a 26-yard touchdown run as the Wolfpack grabbed a 28-0 lead with 2:25 left in the second quarter.

“That is a luxury we have this year with a two-quarterback system,” Wilkes-Barre Area coach Ciro Cinti said. “Talee played in 10 games prior so it wasn’t like he was a rookie coming in off the bench. He took all the snaps in practice this week. He really has come so far in 10 months with the way he progressed.”

Scranton was able to get on the board just before the end of the first half when it began a drive at the Wolfpack 47. The Knights were able to shake off a holding penalty during the series and capped it with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tylil White to RJ Overton.

Wilkes-Barre Area finished the game with 435 yards of total offense with 216 rushing and Swinney completing all eight of his pass attempts for 219 yards.

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“I thought our offensive line did a great job,” Cinti said. “They were opening up holes and the passing game opened things up for the running game. We were able to go up and down the field, and the defense did a great job.”

White scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter, but Swinney and Malachi Williams hooked up on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Swinney capped the scoring in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run.

“We’re not going to make any excuses,” Shumbres said. “We were a little banged up. We just didn’t execute when we needed to.”

 

 

 

Contact the writer:

sbennett@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2062;

@CVSteveBennett on Twitter