SCRANTON — Scranton Prep smothered the Dallas Mountaineers offense, 28-2, in the District 2 Class 3A football semifinals Saturday. The top-seeded Cavaliers advance to face Berwick for the district championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
The Dallas offense mustered just 21 yards of offense in the first half and failed to move the chains by means of its own offensive progress until the third quarter.
“I said it last week, they are going to be sound fundamentally,” Dallas coach Rich Mannello said of Scranton Prep. “They’re going to be great weightlifters, stout on both sides of the ball. I know when I turn on that film, we weren’t able to move them.”
In total, Dallas managed to gain 108 yards of total offense, a fair percentage of that coming late in the game. Tanner Gattuso had three receptions. On 27 carries, Dallas gained 33 yards.
“We have a lot of experience on defense and kids who move to the ball really well,” Scranton Prep head coach Nick Donato said. “The kids up front did an outstanding job stopping the run and containing their quarterback.”
Scranton Prep methodically bulldozed over the Dallas rush defense. Ricky Morgan ran for a 31-yard touchdown within the first 2:30 of the game. He took the ball 23 times for 100 yards.
“Ricky runs hard and gets great blocks from our fullback (Tyler Stafursky) and the offensive line,” Donato said. “They provide him with some really nice running lanes.”
Two outstanding catches highlighted the Cavaliers’ next two touchdown drives. Wesley Simons caught a 27-yard score from Kevin Holmes between two defenders’ hands in the end zone to go ahead, 14-0. Later in the second half, on a double-reverse pass, Mario Giannone made a 41-yard one-handed overhead catch while falling down onto the turf. That set up a Holmes sneak for a touchdown.
“He plays with a lot of confidence,” Donato said of Holmes. “He’s been reading defenses very well and we’ve been successful with play-action passes. Kevin’s gotten the ball to our receivers and they’ve made some big plays.”
Dallas’ only points of the game came following a great boot from its punter that pinned Prep to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Ryan Martin and Cole Dixon swarmed Holmes in the back of the end zone for a safety.
The Mountaineers finally started to gain momentum on the first drive of the second half but quarterback Matt Harrison’s throw was picked off by Holmes in the red zone to end the threat. It was Holmes’ fifth interception in three games. Offensively, Holmes completed all seven passing attempts for 134 yards.
Robert Tomkavage contributed to this story. Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-704-3941 or [email protected]