In a game that encompasses this season perfectly, the Spartans had multiple chances to capitalize on their opponents' mistakes but they didn't. Whether it was the multiple fumbles caused, personal fouls against Berwick (for the majority of the game), or the advantageous field position, the Spartans could not take advantage. They in fact gave Berwick the same exact opportunities, and unfortunately for the Spartans, Berwick took advantage of just enough of them to win the game.
Even though the final score was 44-22, for the majority of the fourth quarter it was 30-22 with the Spartans within striking distance. Then in the final few minutes of the game, Berwick struck twice in quick succession to make the final score seem worse then it was.
The Spartans look to rebound next week as they travel to Mountain Top to face off against Crestwood.
Spartan #TBT -- 1997 "Stu Put it Thru"
Friday October 10th, 1997, Crispin Field, Berwick, Pennsylvania.
The 6-0 Wyoming Valley West Spartans against the 5-1 and 3 time defending 3A State Champion Berwick Bulldogs.
It was supposed to be a matchup of two high powered offenses led by two senior QBs. However, it turned into a defensive slugfest featuring 5 turnovers, 12 punts, and one made field goal by a soccer player turned kicker. As Valley West Head Coach Jim Cantafio told the Times Leader immediately following the game, “Our offense didn’t get it done. But our defense picked a helluva time for its first shutout of the year.”
The game featured a combined 395 yards of total offense. It also featured Berwick missing two field goals in regulation, including one with only 26 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter which pushed the game into overtime. In the overtime period, Berwick would get the ball first and would be denied the end-zone on their three attempts, leading to a 29-yard field goal attempt. The kicker would push the kick wide right, which set up the Spartans to win by scoring the first and only points of the game.
Senior QB Marc Zlotek told coach Cantafio to run the ball three times and “let Matt win it for us.” The Matt he was talking about was Senior Matt “Stu” McCormick, a soccer player turned football kicker. McCormick participated with the team during the preseason, but had to miss the first three games of the season due to an appendix operation. He would also miss his first two field goal opportunities of the season leading into the Berwick game. However, that would never factor into Cantafio’s decision making. Cantafio listened to his Quarterback and the Spartans ran the ball 3 times to set McCormick up to kick a 24 yard field goal to win the game. The snap was good, the hold was good, and the kick was good. 3-0, SPARTANS!
For the first time in 11 years, the Wyoming Valley West Spartans defeated the Berwick Bulldogs. It was also the first time that Berwick had been shutout at home since 1985. After leaving Berwick, the Spartans returned home to a hero’s welcome as what seemed like the entire valley greeted them as they returned. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cruisers, and normal every day cars would form a massive parade to lead the football team, cheerleaders, and band through the towns that create the district to celebrate a win that seemed to be a lifetime in the making.
It was Berwick’s second loss on the year but the most meaningful because it prevented them from winning another WVC title. Their other loss was to St. Ignatius High School out of Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately, the loss to the Spartans would be the last loss of the season for Berwick, as they would go on to win their 4th straight PIAA 3A State Championship, even though they weren’t officially named Champions until March because program was under investigation for recruiting violations.
One other note that would come from this game is a tradition that the Spartans carried on. Each trip back to Crispin field, the Spartans would go to the far goal post making sure to touch the uprights, as a gesture to the 24 yard field goal that would be remembered simply as “The Kick.”
Scroll down or skip to the next article to see the Throwback Thursday video of the 1997 Wyoming Valley West Spartans beating the Berwick Bulldogs 3-0 at Crispin Field.
Spartan #TBT -- 1997 "Stu Put it Thru" -- Video
Spartans Roll to a Victory Over Abington Heights
In a rematch of last year's PIAA District 2 5A Championship Game, the Spartans came out and imposed their will on Abington Heights. In a performance unlike any other from this year, the Spartans gave their fans a look at the team many thought was going to appear all season. The Spartans controlled the line of scrimmage and were able to do anything they wanted to on offense. On defense, the Spartans shut down the Abington Heights offense, allowing only one touchdown on a drive that was aided by penalties.
Stats (correction: Sean Mikovitch has a long run of 71 yards):
Spartans Drop Fifth Game of the Season
After what everyone thought was a turning point in the season against Williamsport, the Spartans have seemed to return to their earlier form, dropping the last two games, this one by a score of 28-21.
After taking a 7-0 lead early in the game, the Spartans seemed to be back to playing solid football. However, a fumble return for a 93-yard touchdown gave the momentum to Wallenpaupack. After falling behind 14-7 in the second quarter, the Spartans rallied to tie the score before halftime.
Then more mistakes hit in the second half which halted numerous drives including a few fumbles and interceptions. Wallenpaupack also capitalized with a punt return for a TD, which turned out to be the game winning score.
The Spartans return to Spartan Stadium next week to face off against Abington Heights.
Spartans Come Out Flat, Get Beat by Dallas
After an emotional comeback win last week, the Spartans came out flat at home this week. And because of that, the Spartans dropped the game 31-18, and have fallen to 1-4 on the season. The Spartans will look to rebound next week and pick up an extremely important win against Wallenpaupack.
Welcome to another edition of Spartan #TBT. Last week, the 2017 Spartans collected their first win of the season when they defeated Williamsport by a score of 48-34. However, with the game being played in Williamsport, many of the Spartan Faithful didn't get a chance to see the game. So we are here to help. We have chosen some of the more memorable plays that helped the Spartans pull off what some "experts" considered an "upset."
In the video below, you will see touchdown runs by Sr. Zach Davies, a punt return followed up by a spectacular 35 yard TD run by Sr. Sulaiman Ismail, a TD run and throw by Sr. Robby Dwyer with the pass being completed to Sr. Dylan Jockel. And the final play is a fan's favorite play, the VICTORY FORMATION KNEE to run out the clock.
Make sure you head to Spartan Stadium on Friday September 22 at 7 to see your Spartans face off against Dallas.
Spartan #TBT -- WVW v Williamsport 9/15/17 (Video)
Spartans Finally Close Out a Game, Beat Williamsport
After dealing with three crushing defeats in a row, the 2017 version of the Spartans can finally celebrate. The Spartans defeated Williamsport 48-34 in Williamsport for their first win of the season. The Spartans used an offense that efficiently moved the ball on the ground to take over the game in the second half. The Spartan defense allowed only 7 points in the second half.
The Spartans now return home with some momentum to face Dallas next Friday. Citizens Voice WNEP
Spartans Fall Late to Delaware Valley
In what many turned out to be a close game, when many prognosticators thought it wouldn't, the Spartans were able to hang with Delaware Valley, even leading into the 4th quarter, but were just not able to overcome the same mistakes that have plagued them all year. From penalties that stalled their own drives or continued drives for the other team, the Spartans couldn't get out of their own way to win the game. Following a touchdown that brought the Spartans within 3 points, Delaware Valley grabbed the onside kick and returned it for a touchdown which sealed the fate of the Spartans and dropped them to 0-3 on the season. The last time the Spartans started 0-3 was 2005. That year, the Spartans first win came in week 4, at Williamsport, which is where this year's version heads to next week.
Week 3 Rosters
If you decided not to come out and enjoy the beautiful fall night tonight, or you didn't receive a handout, here are the rosters for tonight's game.
For the first time since Coach Keating's first season in charge (2009), the Spartans have opened the season with two consecutive losses. After putting up 48 points against Scranton, the WVW offense was non-existent for the majority of the game, only putting up 15 points total. The WVW defense rebounded with a strong game, only allowing 17 total points. If you put those two stats together, you can see that the Spartans dropped Friday night's contest by a score of 17-15.
Media Coverage: Times Leader WNEP Citizens Voice
Week 2 Rosters
In case you do not receive a roster handout at tonight's game, or are watching from home, click below to see the roster's for tonights game.
Typically, for these #TBT videos, we like to look at victories. However, since the first game of the season took place on the road, we thought it would be a good idea to show a clip from last week's season opening loss. In the clip, Jr QB Jake Shusta throws a perfectly placed ball to Jr WR Darrian Tyson for a TD that brought the Spartans back to only a 10 point deficit. Even though the Spartans would go on to drop the game, there were many positives that has the Spartan Faithful in the upcoming season.
Come out to Spartan Stadium on September 1st to see the Wyoming Valley West Spartans take on Hazleton Area in the first home game of the season.
Spartan #TBT -- WVW v Scranton 8/25/2017 (Video)
Spartans Drop Opener to Scranton
In what can only be described as one of the more interesting games in recent memory, the Wyoming Valley West Spartans dropped the 2017 season opener to the Scranton Knights by a score of 58-48.
After digging themselves a deep hole (33-7) at the start of the second half, the Spartans were able to mount a comeback of sorts to get the game within three scores on multiple occasions. However, everytime the Valley West seemed to be mounting a comeback, they would create their own misfortune with a turnover, negative play, or allow a big play to the Knights.
There were a few bright spots in the game, as the Spartans showed some fight to stay in the game and keep it competitive until the very end, when a missed two point conversion and a failed onside kick recovery gave the ball to the Knights with a 10 point lead and less then two minutes on the clock.
As in years past, once local media outlets make their game stories available, we will post them on here. And the stats for the game will be posted on Sunday. Times Leader WNEP Citizens Voice
Stats from week 1:
The Spartans look to rebound next week at home against Hazleton.
Welcome to the 2017 Season
Typically on Thursdays, we take a look back. But this week, we decided to look ahead. We would like to introduce you to the 2017 Wyoming Valley West Spartans Varsity Football Team:
Over the past few days, we have spent time compiling up the preview stories of our Spartans that were written by the local media. Here they are:
So please, take a look around the website, check out our roster for this upcoming season, over the weekend check out the photos from media day. And don't forget to check here during the game for our live scoring updates (We promise to do better this year) and our postgame wrap-ups usually posted during the early morning hours on Saturdays.
Spartan #TBT - WVW v Hazleton '16
In this week's version of Spartan #TBT we take a look at last year's matchup with Hazleton Area. We continue to spolight players that look to play big roles for the team during this coming season. In this week's video, we can see Seniors Cortes Adams, Chris Bleich, Zach Davies, Derek Doreskewicz, and Sean Mikovitch, as well as Juniors Quaid Braddy and Darrian Tyson, and Sophomore Sammy Solomon.
This year's matchup with Hazleton Area will take place on September 1, 2017 at Spartan Stadium. But before that game, the team led by Coach Keating will travel to Scranton on August 25th.
Also, don't forget that we are still taking donations for our telethon. The telethon runs until August 7th, so please get those donations in! Click here to donate!!
Spartan #TBT -- WVW v Hazleton '16 (Video)
WVW Football Telethon Opens!
Tonight, the Wyoming Valley West Football Team conducted their first ever telethon. The players on the varsity football team were asked to contact family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. to try to raise money for their team. The boys did a great job and had a great time while participating in this fundraiser and we still need help to reach our goal! We are always looking for donations and we need your help. All of the money raised from this fundraiser goes to help our team for this upcoming season. Please click on the link below and consider donating any amount of money that you can. Even if our goal is reached on the tracker, your donation is still needed. The fundraiser runs for 21 days and will close on August 7th. Please donate to help our players become the best that they can be!!
After too long, the Spartan edition of Throwback Thursday has returned! During our absence we have been collecting many films from past seasons to help expand our database. So stay tuned for some old time Spartan highlights in the coming weeks and months, including what may be (in our opinion) one of the biggest kicks in WVW and District 2 history!
With kickoff of the 2017 season just over a month away, we are going to take a look at some of the plays made by players you will be seeing on Friday nights this coming fall.
While many of the skill positions have faced major turnover due to graduations, there are still many returning key players from last year's team. In the video below, you will see a big stop on 3rd down by many returning players including Senior DL Cortes Adams, Sophomore DL Sammy Solomon and Senior OL/DL Chris Bleich. Also Senior RB/LB Zach Davies comes up with a big interception. The last two plays focus on two of the main offensive weapons for this coming year. First, Senior QB Rob Dwyer (who spelled Aaron Austin occasionally last season), picks up a big 1st down in the 4th quarter of the game, and Junior WR/DB Darrian Tyson comes up with a big time catch on a 2 point conversion to seal the victory.
We hope to see you at Scranton Memorial Stadium on August 25th supporting the Spartans as they take on the Scranton Knights at 7 o'clock!
Spartan #TBT -- Wyoming Valley West v Scranton '16
Bleich Commits to UCLA
After a little less than two months after reopening his recruitment, now Senior OT Chris Bleich has decided where he will be continuing his academic and athletic careers. After non-stop coaches visits, letters, calls, etc... and taking a few unofficial visits, Chris has decided to attend the University of California Los Angeles, commonly known as UCLA.
In his initial post on twitter, Chris says "I told my dad I want to play football where no one ever did from this valley... and today I can say I kept my word to my dad."
A short Q and A with Chris: RP: You were committed to Penn State for over a year and a half. What is the difference between PSU and UCLA? CB: The biggest difference for me is the location. With UCLA being on the West Coast it has a completely different atmosphere than PSU. PSU is in a little section of the state by itself. With UCLA, it is right in Los Angeles, playing home games in the Rose Bowl, and just the different life style that comes with it.
RP: You were talking with a bunch of schools for the past few weeks/months. What was the deciding factor that made you want to commit to UCLA? CB: I was talking with a lot of schools, and I thank them for their interest in me. But the ultimate deciding factor was all of the opportunities that UCLA could offer me. Again, being in LA, its a different lifestyle that I am interested in.
RP: Throughout your high school career, playing and being a key member of the varsity team since your freshman year, you have been involved in a number of big games/big moments for the team. What is the moment/game that sticks out the most to you on a personal level? CB: While I have been involved in many big moments/games, the one that sticks out to me on a personal level is the District 2 4A Championship game during my freshman year. We were playing at Delaware Valley and I was lined upp against Connor Lutz, who went on to play at Delaware. I felt that we had a great game against each other, going toe to toe for the entire game. That game taught me what it meant to never give up and it made me appreciate every moment of football becuase the seaon was over after that game. I realized that the player who took me under his wing was gone, I was never going to play football with him again. And in all reality, I miss all of the players who were on that team, seniors on down to the other freshmen, everyone was genuinely nice and made each other better. That team laid a great foundation for the next team, and we were then able to go undefeated during the regular season.
RP: Finally, what is one piece of advice that you would give to a younger teammate, or a younger player in general, who has the opportunity get recruited like you have been? CB: I would tell them not to rush the process like I did. Wait until you are going into your senior year to make your decision. Take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you. But when you do find the right school, you will know it in your gut.
Bleich Re-Opens his Recruiting
During a phone call Thurday evening, Junior Offensive Lineman Chris Bleich decommitted from Penn State University. Bleich, rated a 3 or 4 star recruit depending on the recruiting service, originally committed to Penn State while he was enrolled at IMG Academy last spring. In a note posted on his Twitter timeline, Bleich said "After many months of discussions with my family, I came to the conclusion it's in my best interest to Re-Open my recruitment ... This only happens once and I just want to make sure I explore all of my options."
His decision comes a few days after returning from an unofficial visit at Nebraska. He has also taken an unofficial visit at Mississippi State, with a few more planned for the coming weeks.
We will have more information on Chris and our other stand-out athletes as it becomes available. Keep checking back for updates.