Scranton Prep Advances To Uncharted Territory
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
KINGSTON- The Scranton Prep football team came into it’s PIAA state playoff contest Friday night with a mission to surpass where they were about a year ago at this time. At the end of the night, mission accomplished. Behind quarterback Jake Ryan and the running of Matt Gilmartin, the Cavaliers cruised by the high-octane Montoursville Warriors by a score of 37-13 at Spartan Stadium to move on to the next round of the 3A playoffs and a date with Middletown at a site and time to be determined.
“This is huge for our program. It’s the first time we got past this round,” Ryan said afterwards. “We were in this situation last year and we came up short, now we can focus on next week.” Ryan completed 15 of 19 passes for 191 yards and three scores on the night.
Prep (12-1) used it’s size and strength up front to take it to Montoursville, who finished their season at 10-3. The Cavaliers got things going on their second possession near midfield and four plays later Gilmartin ripped off a 29-yard run, giving his team a 6-0 lead as the extra point was missed.
Montoursville was able to match the Cavaliers score, with an impressive drive as well, going 76 yards, culminating in a nine-yard dash by Nolan Ott. Montoursville connected on the PAT and had a brief 7-6 lead.
The Cavs would not be deterred, as on the ensuing drive, Braden Burrier was on the receiving end of a Ryan pass. That pass covered the final 11 yards of a 67-yard drive and with a made conversion, Prep had a 13-7 lead with about a minute left in the first quarter.
Warrior quarterback Brycen Mussina, who was pressured most of the night by a swarming Cavalier defense, threw an interception to Lucas Stage, giving away the the ball at the Warrior 28. Ryan fired a strike to Gilmartin on the first play of the second quarter and a 20-7 lead. Ott, who had some success running the ball, scored from five yards out with 7:30 left in the half. The point after was blocked leaving the score at 20-13. Prep then played keep-away as they chewed up most of the clock. Ryan connected with Tommy Doherty for an 11-yard score and a 27-13 lead heading into intermission.
“We gave them some different looks tonight,” said Cavalier coach Terry Gallagher. “We gave up some yards on our blitzes as we didn’t stay in our responsibilities. We’ll need to work on that this coming week and do a better job on gap integrity.”
Montoursville took possession to start the second half. They tried a fourth down fake punt, but Mussina’s pass fell short and Prep took over at the 46. That drive ended in a 40-yard field goal. Ryan closed out the scoring on a one-yard sneak with 7:28 left in the contest. Prep then picked off Mussina again at the Cavs five with about five minutes left to play. Prep used the legs of Gilmartin, who finished with 174 yards on 34 tallies, to close out the game.
— Brian Ptashinski (@BPtashinski) November 19, 2016
“The whole team did a great job tonight,” Gallagher said. “Gilmartin played tough. He has great vision as well. It all starts up front with us. We’ll need that same kind of production as we go through these playoffs.”
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