There are certain events, which define a community. For some communities the event is a football game. For the Greater Pittston Area, a once a year football game brings an entire community together.
“I’ve always had the good fortune to have been a part of this in some way shape or form,” said fourth-year Wyoming Area Head Coach Randy Spencer. “My family, from my father to me as a player participating in the rivalry. Then I’ve had years and years as a coach. What a great expression of our community to see the kind of crowd that we had tonight and the emotion and the care that everybody has around the game and around the rivalry. It’s really very special. It’s very special to me and I think it’s very special to everybody."
When you are part of a rivalry game for as many years as Coach Spencer has been, you can experience it on the winning side and the losing side. It was the Patriots who walked away victorious this time with a 24-21 victory. There were tears, there were hugs and there was a whole lot of love on the field after the Patriots earned just their third win of the season.
For the seniors, the tears represented four years of hard work. The hugs represented the family the team had become in just a short time.
Although 3-7 isn’t normally considered a solid season, this year it was monumental.
First-year Pittston Area Head Coach Mike Barrett walked into a Pittston Area football program that he knew the only way to go was up. He earned the respect of his players and turned the program around in just one season. Following the victory every Patriots player mentioned Coach Barrett and his staff at least once. Among those players was senior quarterback Anthony Schwab.
“Coach Barrett and I have grown so close, it’s unexplainable,” Schwab said. “He will call me up and we can talk about plays. On or off the field he is always there for me.”
The Patriots won the game, because they played with heart, and each guy on the field played for the one he lined up next to.
“I couldn’t have imagined a better ending to the season,” senior tight end Brian Delaney said. “We won it as a team and we’re a family. I love these guys with all my heart and I am so proud to be on this team.”
The family Delaney speaks of consists of more than just seniors.
“It was my first time playing in this game and I loved the intensity we played with. We did it for the seniors and they deserved it,” freshman running back Kyle Gattuso said. “I hope everyone saw how good we really are tonight. and don’t worry, we will be back next year.”
It was also a big win for the program. There are some people around the greater Pittston Area who probably feel as though the Patriots could have lost every game of the season, but if they beat the Warriors the season is a success and vice versa.
"It was a huge win for the program. In Week 1 we got the monkey off our back and we competed all year," Barrett said. "Tonight we played four quarters of football and we played great. I am so proud of these kids and I love every single one of them."
The Pittston Area-Wyoming Area rivalry is more than just a football game. It is a tradition that has been part of the Greater Pittston area since long before these players were born. It doesn’t necessarily matter who won the game, but the fact the game was played is all that matters.
Dispatch Correspondent Josh Horton has covered Pittston Area football for the past two seasons.