Gorman: Wasko fulfills ‘Lopes hopes |

Gorman: Wasko fulfills ‘Lopes hopes

As Avonworth’s fullback, Brandon Wasko had to overcome an impactful injury in front of him while dealing with a devastating death behind him.

Wasko made three pivotal plays in the final minutes of Avonworth’s 28-21 victory over top-seeded Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic to complete what he calls “the game of my life.”

“As a captain of the team, I like the pressure,” Wasko said. “I love putting the team on my back when I need to and have them rely on me in tough situations like Friday night.”

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior threw a pitch-pass to quarterback Josh Drwal for a first down, then capped a 16-play, 93-yard drive by scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard run.

Wasko intercepted a North Catholic pass with 49 seconds left to clinch Avonworth’s first trip to the WPIAL finals since 1959.

“For him to score and seal it with that interception was a great reward and tribute to him,” Avonworth coach Duke Johncour said of Wasko, a two-year starter at middle linebacker. “He’s the heart and soul of our defense.”

Wasko still is shaken by the sudden loss last December of his best friend, Tyson Kirk, who would have been the tailback.

“Losing him as a friend and football player,” Wasko said, “has been a very rough thing to go through.”

When Avonworth lost quarterback Zach Chandler to a broken leg, Wasko took on a greater role to keep alive the ‘Lopes hopes of playing for the Class A title.

“Tyson expected a state championship,” Wasko said. “Now, we’re at the WPIAL championship, one step closer. And we’re not going to be stopped short. We had to finish what we started.”

After answering tragedy with triumph, Wasko proved that anything is possible at Avonworth.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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