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West Shamokin moves to 3-0 with win over Riverview

Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
West Shamokin quarterback Alex Lassio throws a pass against Riverview on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, at Riverside Park in Oakmont.

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By George Guido
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 5:33 p.m.

Three weeks into the season, the feel-good story of 2013 is emerging.

After winning just 16 games in 13 previous seasons, West Shamokin is off to the first 3-0 start in school history.

The Wolves won their fourth in a row, dating back to Week 10 last season, with a 41-12 victory Saturday afternoon at Riverview.

The victory also tied the school record for wins in a season (three), the same total the team recorded last year.

West Shamokin (3-0, 3-0) is tied with North Catholic for first place in the Eastern Conference. Avonworth, which West Shamokin plays next week, lurks a half-game behind at 2-0.

“It's nice,” West Shamokin coach Jon McCullough said of the 3-0 start. “I don't want to think too much about it. It's only three games. We've got a long way to go. You don't want to look too far ahead and focus on who you have next week.”

“It's great to start turning around and beating teams like they were beating us,” said junior running back Andrew Wingard, who ran for 136 yards and three touchdowns. “The community, they're all coming together. There's a bigger turnout at our home games; everybody's just supporting us now.”

West Shamokin took the opening kickoff and drove 76 yards in six plays. Wingard's 24-yard run to the Riverview 3 set up Zac Horner's touchdown run on the following play.

Riverview (0-3, 0-3) answered with a 63-yard drive in nine plays with Keir Barber taking an inside handoff from 8 yards out.

Horner scored again, on a 1-yard run, early in the second quarter and Wingard scored behind a block from Sam Buffone on a 10-yard run.

But perhaps the key play of the game came with 35 seconds left in the half.

Riverview was driving for an apparent touchdown when Wolves defensive back Alex Lasslo wrestled the ball away from Zach Hanus in the end zone.

“That was just a great athletic play by Lasslo,” McCullough said. “If they would have scored, they would have had a great shot at coming back in the second half.”

“West Shamokin is a good football team,” Raiders coach Todd Massack said. “They're big, they're strong and we saw that last year when they beat us. I told their coach they looked impressive on film and they're just as impressive in person.”

Riverview stopped West Shamokin on downs early in the third quarter as Dillon Provenza wrapped up Wingard at the line of scrimmage.

But the Raiders couldn't get any momentum, and the Wolves scored on a 54-yard run by Lasslo to put West Shamokin ahead 28-6 with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Wingard scored on a 26-yard run with 1:11 left in the third quarter and again on a 27-yard run with 9:39 left in the game to put the PIAA's continuous clock rule in effect.

Raymar McCombs scored a late touchdown for Riverview, culminating a 91-yard drive.

“We need to get better in a lot of areas on both sides of the football,” Massack said. “There's no magic pill to take. It's got to be hard work. As coaches, we're going to continue to push our kids.”

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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