YATESVILLE — Those Pittston Area fans who decided to file out of chilly Charley Trippi Stadium during the fourth quarter didn’t miss much. What happened before they left happened after they were gone.
And that was Wyoming Area senior running back Jeff Skursky being pounded at the Patriots defense again and again and again.
Skursky rushed 38 times for 236 yards and four touchdowns as the Warriors defeated their cross-river rivals 28-7 Saturday evening.
Skursky’s 236 yards were the second-highest total he’s had for a single game, topped only by a 284-yard effort last year. His 38 carries fell three shy of the 41 he had last year against GAR.
Both teams concluded their seasons at 3-7.
“Nothing could be more greater than this victory,” Skursky said. “I don’t know how to express it. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to end your senior season with a victory over your rivals across the bridge. This makes up for all the losses.”
Skursky’s performance took all the suspense out of which player would be giving the Carmen Falcone Award presented for the past 37 years to the game’s MVP. Even Pittston Area coach Jim Norris waited for his chance to congratulate Skursky.
“This game is always played really competitively by both sides,” Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer said. “You look at the record of the series and it’s a one-game, two-game gap. It is that type of rivalry and the kids raise their level to play at the highest potential.”
Skrusky noticed that from his linemen — center Cade Bekanich, guards David Vincent and Frank Yurek, tackles Justin Steinberger and Nick Shedlock and tight ends Dante Deluca and Jeremy Stach.
“Our line came out and blocked better than they have all year,” Skursky said.
Overshadowed by Skursky’s exploits was a gutsy performance by Pittston Area senior quarterback Kyle Gattuso. With the backfield depleted by injuries, Gattuso did the bulk of the rushing, gaining 111 yards on 25 carries. He also passed for 127, having his hands in all but four of the Patriots’ yards. All this despite being helped off the field in the fourth quarter.
“Kyle is a pure football player,” Norris said. “He has a ton of passion for the game. He is going to enjoy the game in college wherever he gets an opportunity to play. I’m happy for a guy like him to have the opportunity to play at the next level because he deserves it.”
The game started off well for Pittston Area as Wyoming Area fumbled the opening kickoff and John McDonald pounced on the ball at the Warriors 28-yard line. Gattuso scored five plays later.
After that, it was all Wyoming Area. The Warriors responded with a 10-play drive with Skursky carrying the ball nine times, including a 1-yard TD run.
The Patriots then drove deep into Wyoming Area territory, but disaster struck on the second play of the second quarter. Linebacker Robert Wargo cut in front of a pass in the left flat and returned the interception 61 yards. A horse-collar tackling penalty moved the ball to the Patriots 14. Three plays later, Skursky was in the end zone again.
The Warriors finished off the half with an 11-play drive that covered 87 yards. A 17-yard pass from Ryan Gorki to A.J. Lenkaitis placed the ball at the 2 where Skursky carried it in.
Skursky added a 1-yard TD run on Wyoming Area’s first possession of the third quarter.
NOTE: The fieldhouse at the stadium was dedicated to former Pittston Area coach Bob Barbieri before the game. Barbieri coached the Patriots from their inaugural season in 1966 to 1988. He spoke at halftime surrounded by many of his former players.
Wyoming Area 28, Pittston Area 7
PA — Kyle Gattuso 6 run (Steve Pugliese kick), 9:23
WA — Jeff Skursky 1 run (AJ Lenkaitis kick), 4:44
WA — Skursky 6 run (kick failed), 9:15
WA — Skursky 2 run (Skursky run), 0:23
WA — Skursky 1 run (Lenkaitis kick), 7:58
RUSHING — WA, Skursky 38-236, Brian Miles 5-14, Ryan Gorki 4-7. PA, Gattuso 25-111, Niko Cinquegrani 2-4.
PASSING — WA, Gorki 3-6-0-31. PA, Gattuso 15-30-3-127.
RECEIVING — WA, Marty Michaels 1-8, Lenkaitis 2-23. PA, Paul Brady 6-55, Josh John 2-10, Angelo Aita 6-57, Cinquegrani 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS — VIS, WA, Robert Wargo 1-61, Ben Steve 1-0, Miles 1-0.
MISSED FGs — None.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar