West Shamokin makes history, clinches playoff spot with win
TribLIVE Sports Videos
West Shamokin is in uncharted waters.
The upstart Wolves clinched their first WPIAL postseason berth with a 36-6 win over Eastern Conference foe Leechburg on Friday night at Jack E. Boyer Field.
A team once associated with losing streaks finally has broken through.
“It's great. I'm just proud of these boys because it's all about them,” West Shamokin coach Jon McCullough said. “This group wanted to turn it around.”
West Shamokin has been around for 13 years — formed by the merger of Dayton and Shannock Valley in 2000 — but never had qualified for the playoffs. The program is one year removed from snapping a WPIAL record 46-game losing streak.
“The kids knew (what was on the line),” McCullough said. “We had a good week of practice because Leechburg is a good football team. They were going to come ready to play.”
The Wolves (6-2, 5-2) got on the board just 50 seconds into the game. On the second play from scrimmage, junior running back Andrew Wingard scored on a 65-yard run, spinning out of a tackle in the final 5 yards. He finished the game with 125 yards on seven carries.
Junior running back Zac Horner faked the hold on the ensuing extra point and ran in the 2-point conversion for an early 8-0 lead. Horner rushed for 111 yards on 15 carries.
Early in the second, West Shamokin struck again. Junior quarterback Alex Lasslo scored on a 5-yard keeper. He tacked on the extra point for a 15-0 lead that West Shamokin took into halftime.
Leechburg (2-6, 2-5) had its offense slowed before it took the field, losing senior quarterback Alex Sipolino on the West Shamokin 2-point conversion. He returned for a few plays but missed the rest of the game. There was no immediate word on the nature of his injury.
Sipolino's loss stunned the Blue Devils' offense, which had been rolling the past couple weeks.
“We lost one our physical and emotional leaders on the team,” Leechburg coach Mark George said. “That put us down for a while. I definitely believe it took some steam out of our offense.”
By the time the shock had worn off, Leechburg found itself in a hole.
The senior running back tandem of Alex Kalmar and Kris Smith couldn't duplicate their 170-plus yard rushing performances of a week ago, but Kalmar had 119 yards on 19 carries, including Leechburg's only score for the game. Smith added 96 yards on 12 carries.
“This West Shamokin team is riding high,” George said. “They've achieved some things that they haven't achieved since they started this football program.”
West Shamokin flashed that emotion in the second half, breaking the game open on two Lasslo TD passes: 63 yards to Brady Cornman and 14 yards to Jarrett Kintz.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Aliquippa quarterback Fields ready when number is called
- WPIAL Class AAAA notebook: Pine-Richland has titles in 3 classifications