FOOTBALL: Game Of The Week, Scranton At Valley West
SCRANTON at VALLEY WEST
When: 7, tonight
Last meeting: Scranton 58, Valley West 48 (2017)
Series history: Valley West leads 12-8
Scranton: Steve Shumbres (1st season, 0-0)
Valley West: Pat Keating (10th season, 76-30)
Players to watch Scranton
Running back Rodo Brown rushed for 524 yards and three touchdowns last year.
Quarterback Tylil White is expected to be the starter this year. He attempted one pass last season.
Quarterback Jake Shusta completed 59.1 percent of his passes last year. He appeared in 13 games, some of them as the starter.
Offensive guard Dave Wildey will be called upon to help anchor a line that is not as big as it has been in previous seasons.
This is always an interesting game. Scranton typically gives Valley West its best shot. Tonight’s game will be the third consecutive year the teams have faced each other in Week 1. Valley West and Scranton split the previous two season openers, while the teams have combined to score 195 points. That’s why Keating has been preaching all week to the Spartans that they can’t afford to give up too many big plays. The same can be said for Scranton, though the defense is the most experienced side of the ball. Scranton’s offense has just two starters returning. Scranton’s secondary is the most experienced group on the field. Scranton coach Steve Shumbres, who previously served as the team’s offensive coordinator, will be making his head coaching debut. He did retain last year’s defensive coordinator, so the general idea is that not too much of the scheme on each side of the ball will change much. In the past, Valley West’s offense has been triggered by the ability of the quarterback to be able to get out and run. Shusta proved to be a very good pocket passer last season. He spent the offseason working on his footwork and is expected to be more mobile this season.
Keys to the game
Get over it
This is a pretty big season opener for both teams. Mistakes are going to happen. It will be crucial to minimize them. One mistake can’t become too big of an issue where they lead to multiple mistakes. That could ultimately be the deciding factor in the game.
By no means is Valley West running a young team out there. The Spartans will be playing a group of juniors and seniors along with a few sophomores tossed in the mix. But the issue is some of those players will be starting their first varsity game. Keating will be watching to see how they react.
Along those lines
For the first time in at least two years, Valley West will not be sending out the biggest offensive and defensive line on the field. It is a bit of a change, and one the Spartans are going to have to adjust to. Scranton’s line is big on both sides. The team that wins the line of scrimmage will have the edge in this one.
If history between these two teams is any indication, and this is the game you decide to catch tonight, don’t blink. If you do, you certainly stand the chance of missing something. These two teams have had some interesting games during the series. And within those games, there have been a lot of points scored on both sides. Scranton will look to make the big plays, Valley West will try to be patient and wait to take its shots down the field. The Spartans can’t afford to give up the home run plays that Scranton traditionally likes to go for. In the end, look for the Spartans to be able to find a way to contain Scranton’s playmakers and get that first win of the year.
Valley West 34, Scranton 27