1. ‘Port to make state debut ... finally: Thanks to a decisive 26-7 victory over York Catholic in Saturday night’s District 3 Class 2A championship game, Newport (10-1) is headed for the PIAA’s Class 2A tournament for the first time. Yet while the Buffaloes may be celebrating the run-up to Friday night’s (7 p.m.) state debut at Susquehanna Twp.’s Roscoe Warner Field, the ‘Port will run into a state playoff fixture in District 2 Class AA champion Dunmore (12-0). Newport, nonetheless, will attempt to parlay sophomore Ethan Rode’s 197 rushing yards and three touchdown runs into yet another success and a date with Ligonier Valley (12-0) or Bishop McCort (10-2) next weekend at a site and time to be determined. As for Dunmore — Dunmore trimmed Carbondale 35-8 in last weekend’s 2-AA title game — the Buffs will encounter a balanced outfit that runs and passes with equal aplomb. While quarterback Gavin Darcy has thrown for 1,319 yards, among his 65 completions are 25 touchdown passes with eight apiece going to wideouts Nate Fangio (25-599) and Steve Borgia (14-324). Darcy also has thrown three TDs each to tight end Noah O’Malley (14-324) and running back Frank Damiano (4-51). Damiano is the Bucks’ top rusher (77-549/12 TDs), but Billy Donvito (82-493/8 TDs) and Caleb Kilmer (84-490/4 TDs) also have received plenty of touches.
2. Williams Valley hoping to return to state quarters: Repeating as District 11’s Class A champion last weekend with a 26-6 triumph over backyard rival Tri-Valley, undefeated Williams Valley (12-0) will place its unblemished mark on the line Friday night (7 p.m.) at Lehighton against Old Forge (11-1). Defeating Tri-Valley for the second time in three weeks — Williams Valley claimed the regular-season scrap 50-7 — Tim Savage’s Vikings picked up 305 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Dylan Rabuck as well as a 19-yard touchdown reception from Jake Wolfgang in turning back the Bulldogs. Wolfgang, who had missed the two previous weeks, also returned an interception 60 yards to put the capper on last weekend’s win. Williams Valley also is likely to unleash its aggressive defensive unit on Friday night, as defensive end Devon Rabuck has 75 stops, 30 tackles for loss, 21.5 sacks and an 82-yard interception return. Inside backer Dylan Wolfgang also is a force as he’ll lug 132 tackles (13 for loss), two picks and a pair of fumble recoveries into this weekend’s action. Old Forge, meanwhile, will be chasing its third straight victory after blanking Delco Christian 41-0 last weekend. The Blue Devils are led by senior running back Brendan Mozeleski, who has piled up 1,955 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns thus far. Freshman QB Dante Lucarelli has thrown for 1,375 yards and 18 scores, but he’s picked off just three times. Lucarelli’s favorite targets include wideouts Anthony Rios (21-398/2 TDs) and Tommy Souriyavong (16-323/6 TDs). Tight end Brett Wargo also has caught 13 balls for 297 yards and a handful of scores. Friday’s victor will meet District 4-A champ Wyalusing or 3-A winner Steel-High in next weekend’s quarters.