KINGSTON - After the loss of Eugene Lewis and other key players, Wyoming Valley West coach Pat Keating felt people wrote his Spartans off this season.
After getting off to a 3-3 start, the Spartans finished the regular season 7-3 with a 48-14 win over winless Williamsport on Friday night at Spartan Stadium in Kingston.
"You know we played a real gauntlet of a schedule early on," Keating said. "But the way these kids responded and finished off the regular season just makes me so unbelievably proud."
Mason Jordan of Valley West catches Devin Miller of Williamsport in the backfield Friday night.
Senior running back Derrick Simms paced the Spartan offense with two touchdowns and 217 yards on 19 carries. His effort put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
"(Simms) is a huge part of this team and really all the seniors are," Keating said. "I was really happy we were able to get him over 1,000 tonight and it's going to be tough to see these seniors go."
The Spartans' offense struck first with 5:07 left in the first quarter as Eric Acosta busted his way into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. Ian Ultsh's kick was wide right and Valley West led 6-0 midway through the opening quarter.
"We played very well on offense tonight," Keating said. "Our game plan has always been we are going to take what the opponent gives us and tonight we established the run early and even did some good things through the air."
Valley West struck through the air on its next drive as Mike Baur found a wide-open Lucky Williams in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown with just 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
It was a big play for the Spartans as the 10-yard reception came on a fourth-and-goal from the 10. Baur ran up the middle for the two-point conversion, making it a 14-0 game.
The Simms show began early in the second quarter as the senior running back scored twice on an 8-yard rush and a 17-yard jaunt with 4:20 left in the first half.
The Spartans nearly put the game into mercy-rule territory at the end of the first half when Brett Good pounded his way through the line and into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown. However, Ultsh hit the left upright on the PAT and the score remained 34-0 at the half.
Valley West picked up where it left off in the second half as Baur scored on a 9-yard keeper, Ultsh added the kick, and the Spartans led 41-0 early in the third quarter.
Williamsport got on the board at the 8:59 mark of the fourth quarter when Jerah Reeves found Sadiq Burkholder for a long 32-yard touchdown to make it 41-7.
The Spartans answered when Acosta broke loose for a 72-yard touchdown run to make it 48-7 with 8:09 left in the game.
Williamsport's Devin Miller went over 1,000 yards with a 52-yard touchdown run with 4:35 left in the game. It was the third time in his career that he finished the season with more than 1,000 yards. The senior finished the game with 139 yards on 19 carries.