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Friday, September 29, 2023

Colonial-Schuylkill League News and Notes: Tri-Valley’s Kameron Wetzel mending; Vikings looking to start a streak and Pine Grove searching for first ‘dub

Based on his efforts last weekend, Kameron Wetzel’s leg must be just fine.

And if Tri-Valley’s senior running back isn’t 100% healthy, he’s been able to fool a few people already.

For those outside the Hegins-Valley View Metroplex who just might have missed what he accomplished in the Bulldogs’ 48-0 thumping of Colonial-Schuylkill Blue Division playmate Shenandoah Valley, Wetzel wheeled for 250 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries.

While those in Tri-Valley’s camp might be flashing some of those knowing grins, the folks from Shenandoah are undoubtedly shaking their collective heads. Particularly since Wetzel racked up touchdown runs of 52, 73 and 10 yards in his first action since a Week 1 lower leg injury put him in a walking boot for a bit.

Oh, did we mention the state-ranked Bulldogs (6-0, 1-0 C-S Blue) are unbeaten heading into this weekend’s Blue Division scrap with Nativity at Saint Clair’s Depression-Era playpen?

Wetzel wasn’t the only Bulldog player to post some spiffy numbers against the Blue Devils (1-5, 0-1), as bruising Jake Scheib needed just five attempts to roll up 93 yards and two scores. Tri-Valley, which totaled 432 rushing yards and 445 overall, was able to get soph Nolan Dieffenbach four touches, and he responded with 71 yards.

For those wondering, the Bulldogs completed just one pass for 13 yards – and that went to Layne Yoder.

Since Wetzel’s presence lightened the offensive load on Reece Huntzinger, the senior took it out on the Shendo attack by ringing up a team-high 13 tackles (one sack). Scheib, defensive end Shawn Bowman and freshman Cole Gemberling added six stops apiece with Scheib and Bowman combining for a pair of sacks.

Jolten Flory may not have had any offensive touches, but the senior receiver/defensive back impacted Tri-Valley’s Blue Division opener by returning a pair of interceptions for touchdowns covering 35 and 40 yards.

As for Nativity (2-4, 0-2), Pat Mason’s Green Wave didn’t get much going in a 48-12 loss to Williams Valley at home. The Vikings used the big play to dishearten Nativity, totaling 435 offensive yards on just 35 snaps.

Williams Valley looking for second straight win

Finally back in the win column following consecutive setbacks to Minersville and state-ranked Loyalsock Township (Class 3A), Tim Savage’s Williams Valley program (4-2, 1-0) hopes to tack up another result this weekend when the Vikings visit Mahanoy Area (4-2, 1-0) for a Blue Division engagement.

Remarkably productive outings were commonplace in last weekend’s 48-12 romp at Nativity, as junior Alex Achenbach rushed for 215 yards and three touchdowns (9, 21, 64) on just 14 carries. Achenbach, who needs just 57 yards to reach 1,000 for the second straight season, surpassed 3,000 yards for his career last weekend.

Quarterback Isaac Whiteash only attempted nine passes, but he completed six of them for 189 yards and three scores – all to favorite target Brady Evans. Whiteash, who was picked off twice, needs 66 yards to reach 1,000 this season. He atoned for his two picks by swiping a Nativity throw.

As for Evans, he rolled up 168 receiving yards on just four catches for a Williams Valley side that led Nativity 35-6 at the halftime break. The 6-foot-4 Evans is averaging just south of 30 yards per catch and has scored eight times.

Senior Bryant Hoover also had a strong outing, totaling 12 stops – with one sack and three tackles for loss.

Mahanoy popped two runners over 100 yards, as quarterback Ben Manley rushed 23 times for 115 yards and touchdowns covering 14 and 12 yards, while Colm McGroarty carried the ball 21 times for 119 yards and a 7-yard score as the Golden Bears rallied past Marian 34-18 by outscoring the Colts 20-0 after the break.

Manley also threw touchdown passes to Michael Oblas and Chris Cuff, the latter a 26-yarder that was part of Mahanoy’s pivotal closing kick. The Golden Bears outgained Marian 311-110 – Mahanoy racked up 240 rushing yards – and rolled up a decisive advantage in time of possession while running 60 plays to the Colts’ 27.

What’s worrisome for Williams Valley is Mahanoy limited Marian to just 14 rushing yards on 15 tries. Matt Martin, the Colts’ dependable hammer at running back, picked up just 28 yards on nine attempts.

Pine Grove still chasing first Red Division win

While Dave Shiffer’s Pine Grove squad displayed much more offensive pep in last weekend’s Red Division engagement with Palmerton – the Cardinals (1-5, 0-4) totaled 370 yards – it didn’t prevent a 53-28 loss to the high-octane Bombers and quarterback Matt Machalik.

Perhaps a trip to Tamaqua this weekend will see things turn out differently for the Cards.

Machalik completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 347 yards and six touchdowns, but he also ran the ball 11 times for 117 yards and two more scores. All told, Palmerton posted 569 offensive yards.

And that number was too large for the tandem of feature back Lane Lehman and quarterback Mason Kroh to overcome, especially since the Cards trailed 34-7 at halftime – even though the determined Lehman ripped off a 79-yard TD run to put Pine Grove on the board first.

Lehman finished the contest with 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts, adding scoring runs of 12 and 2 yards to his early long-distance jaunt. Kroh rushed 11 times for 62 yards and another score, but he also threw for 132 yards (5 of 13 passing) despite getting picked off twice.

Lehman also led Pine Grove with nine tackles.

Tamaqua (2-4, 1-3) was limited to just 1 rushing yard in the first half by a Jim Thorpe side that closed out a convincing 42-6 victory by returning a pair of interceptions for scores.

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