In keeping with the tradition of this website, once one of the Spartan senior football players makes a choice as to where they will be continuing their academic and/or athletic careers, we will bring you the announcement.
Now over the summer, Sr OL Chris Bleich committed to UCLA to continue his football career. However, due to changes on the coaching staff, Chris reopened his recruitment, and closed it just as quickly as he opened it. Throughout the year, even though he was fully, 100% committed to UCLA, Chris kept in contact with many schools and even visited a few of them. He recently had to cancel a trip to Mississippi State University because of the Spartans Quarterfinal matchup against Archbishop Wood. Once the UCLA board decided to make a change with their football coaching staff, Chris started talking more seriously with a few schools.
Chris then took a few days after his season ended, waited for a few of the major coaching decisions to be announced, talked with his family, and decided on his next step: The University of Florida Gators. "They waited on me since last summer even with committing to a different school. They still went for me. Also, my friend from IMG will be attending there which is another benefit," Bleich told us shortly after his announcement went public.
On his social media feeds, Chris is quoted as saying "I would like to thank the staff at UCL, especially Coach Mara, Farley and Bradley for their interest in me. Unfortunately, in light of current changes, I will be de-committing from UCLA. This was a hard decision but I was also blessed to multiple opportunities. I also want to thank all the coaches and staff over the last four years who have recruited me and offered me an opportunity to play for them. After considering all of my options, I have decided to close my recruitment and announce that I am committing to the University of Florida. #GoGators"
We are humbly proud of Chris and all of the accomplishments he has had with us over the past 4 years here. We cannot wait to see what he does at the next level. Keep checking back to see what the rest of our Spartan Seniors will be doing in the future!
Spartans Run Ends with Loss to Archbishop Wood
In the state of Pennsylvania, only 6 teams end their season truly happy, celebrating a state championship. For the rest, they are left ending their season on a loss and trying to find positives in a disappointment. For the Wyoming Valley West Spartans, their season ended with a loss to Philadelphia powerhouse Archbishop Wood, so they are left to look for positives, and there were many.
In a game where many people expected the Spartans to be in a mercy rule situation by halftime, the Spartans held tough with the Vikings, trailing by a score of 14-0 for the majority of the second quarter and ultimately ended up heading into halftime 21-0. The Spartans would give up another 20 points in the second half, and enter into mercy rule timing before they put some points on the board themselves. Sr QB Rob Dwyer found the endzone on a 4th down scramble and later found Sr WR Jake Blaski on a 4th down crossing route that Blaski would take to the house. In all, the Spartans would fall by a score of 41-14 and end their season with a record of 7-7.
Even though their season did not end with a state championship, this group of Spartans has nothing to hang their heads about. From where they started, with a 1-5 record through the first 6 games, to where they ended, playing in the PIAA 5A STATE QUARTERFINALS for the first time in Wyoming Valley West history is truly astounding. These young men stuck with the program, they trusted themselves, they trusted their coaches, and most importantly they trusted each other. They left everything out on that field every single time they stepped out there.
To play for 14 weeks including 4 playoff games, to hold 5 offenses under 10 points in the later part of the season after allowing 28+ points 6 times in the first 8 games, to go into a District 11 school and dominate them on their own (grass) field, and to play in a state quarterfinal game, these young men have a lot of positives to look back on. They may not be the most talented bunch and they may not have the winningest record, but the 2017 Wyoming Valley West Spartans will be remembered. Starting 1-5, then going on a 6-1 run to guarantee that they continued the streak, and playing in the state quarterfinals for the first time in WVW history, from all of us in #SpartanNation, we say THANK YOU to the 2017 Wyoming Valley West Football team.
In what seemed like a surprise to many, except those in the winning huddle at the end of the night, the Wyoming Valley West Spartans traveled down to Whitehall and dominated the home team to win the Districts 2/11 Subregional Championship by a score of 32-21.
Starting with the first drive, the Spartans threw a wide variety of formations at Whitehall, formations that even the most veteran Spartan Faithful have not seen in quite sometime. And all of those formations worked to perfection. The Spartans were able to move the ball at will and kept the high-powered Whitehall offense on the sidelines for the majority of the game. The Spartans ran a total of 69 offensive plays, outnumbering the plays that Whitehall ran by double digits.
With the win, the Spartans have earned the right to play after Thanksgiving for the second time in the past 3 years. It is also the first time in school history that the football team has made it to the State QuarterFinals. One other note to come out of the game, and it is a note very near and dear to many of the players, coaches, and alumni, is that the Spartans have guaranteed that they will finish the season with a winning percentage of at least .500. With that fact, the Spartans have kept the streak alive of .500+ winning seasons, with the streak dating back to 1994.
Spartans Overcome Slow Start, Win Gold Medals!
On a wet and miserable Thursday night, an hour away from home, the Wyoming Valley West Spartans came out of the gates slow. On the first drive of the game, Wallenpaupack completed a 3rd down pass for a 39 yard touchdown. That play capped a 58 yard drive for Wallenpaupack, and many of the home fans in attendance thought it was a sign of things to come for the remainder of the game. Little did they know that the yards picked up during that drive would account for 71% of their total yards for the ENTIRE GAME.
The Spartan offense started the game just as slowly as their defense did, beginning the game with 3 straight 3 and outs. But, once they got started, they were tough to stop. Senior QB Rob Dwyer ran for 3 touchdowns, threw for another, and Senior RB Zach Davies added another rushing touchdown. Senior K Jake Gurtis put all 5 of his PATs through the uprights to give the Spartans a 35-7 victory.
With the victory, the Spartans (6-6) captured the first District 2 5A Football Championship in school history. The Spartans will now face Whitehall in the District 2/11 Subregional Championship game. That game will be played at Whitehall on Friday November 17th at 7:00 PM.
Spartans Rout Abington Heights, Advance to Face Wallenpaupack
In a rematch of a game played 4 weeks earlier, the results of the second game were even more one sided than the first meeting. In October, the Spartans beat Abington Heights by a score of 38-7. In the rematch, the Spartans man-handled Abington Heights by a score of 63-14.
Following a string of very well played games by the Spartans, they may have put together their best performance of the season on this night. However, there were still mistakes that need to be corrected. After taking an early 21-0 lead, the Spartans allowed Abington Heights to hang around and get the score as close as 28-14. From there, the Spartans put on a clinic of how to win in all three phases of the game.
The score at halftime was 47-14 in favor of the Spartans, with them adding to their lead early in the second half to put the game into a mercy rule setting.
With their big win on Friday, the Spartans now move on to face Wallenpaupack in a rematch of another game that took place earlier this year. The Spartans will travel to Wallenpaupack on THURSDAY November 9th to face off against Wallenpaupack at 7:00 PM.
Again the District 2 Class 5A Championship game will take place on THURSDAY November 9th.
Playoff Game Rosters
Here are the rosters for the game against Abington Heights.
Spartans Mercy Rule Coughlin, End Regular Season with a Victory
On a perfect fall night for a football game, the Spartans put together a near perfect game. They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, which severely limited what Coughlin was able to do offensively and hurt their chances of stopping the Spartan offense.
Valley West took control of the game in the second quarter, scoring 21 points. Then after halftime, they put the game away by scoring one touchdown in the 3rd quarter and another on the first play of the 4th quarter. With the JV offense on the field, they were able to punch in another score, to make the final score 42-0. The Spartans finish the regular season at 4-6, which is the worst regular season record since 1993. However, they have a chance to improve that record in the postseason.
With the results of this week's games, WVW will be at HOME next Friday 11/3 and they will be playing Abington Heights.
After a rough opening minute to the game, many people thought the Spartans were in for another long night. But, they were wrong. After fumbling a snap on the opening drive and allowing a touchdown on the first defensive play of the game, the Spartans turned the game around, and in a BIG way.
The Spartans would take a 32-7 lead into halftime after multiple forced turnovers gave them good starting field position and even a defensive touchdown for the second week in a row. The Spartans would then tack on one more touchdown in the second half to get to the final score of 39-7.
The Spartans return home on Friday October 27th for their annual homecoming game against Coughlin.
Stats (correction: Brendan Woods also had a Fumble Recovery):
Spartans Fall to the Bulldogs
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.