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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

News and Notes: Schuylkill League

Pine Grove’s Gaffney to duel with former mentor

Fresh off a needed 26-8 victory over Shenandoah Valley that capped Pine Grove’s all-day Homecoming festivities, fourth-year Cardinals head coach Frank Gaffney will lead his squad into Schuylkill Haven’s Rotary Field searching for a second straight victory. Problem is the Cards (1-3) must get past a Haven program that once included the former Lebanon Valley All-American as its defensive coordinator. And while Pine Grove used a solid ground game fueled by Lane Lehman (28-140, 2 TDs) and Colin Ibarra (12-65, TD) to muscle by Shenandoah Valley, Gaffney’s former boss Mike Farr likely will have something ready — even though the Hurricanes (1-2) and Tri-Valley sat out last weekend while dealing with COVID issues. If Haven can gum up Pine Grove’s rushing attack in the Colonial-Schuylkill crossover, that will put plenty of pressure on Cards freshman Carson Lengle to make some plays at the quarterback position. Lengle was just 1 of 12 against Shenandoah Valley, hitting Aaron Crumrine for a 14-yard gain. When Haven has the ball, Ibarra will try to match or better the 17 tackles the senior backer accrued in the Week 4 success.

Williams Valley finds itself in unfamiliar territory

Despite receiving a career-best effort from junior quarterback Isaac Whiteash — he completed 20 of his 36 pass attempts for 349 yards and one touchdown — Williams Valley (3-1) dropped a 47-24 decision to Minersville. Alex Achenbach added 92 rushing yards and one touchdown on 22 carries, while Hunter Wolfgang latched on to six Whiteash throws, racking up 170 yards and one score. Offense was not the problem, however, as Minersville quarterback John Adams targeted 15 of his 21 heaves for 399 yards and five touchdowns. Brock Polinsky and Jared Graeff each hauled in six throws for 162 and 137 yards, respectively, while combining for four scores. Bloomsburg (1-3), meanwhile, showcased its speed at the skill positions by wheeling past Midd-West 40-21. Running back Madden Locke caught five passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Liam Zentner completed 8 of his 14 attempts for 144 yards and three scores. Zentner also ran for another score. Defensively, Bloom stuffed the box throughout, limiting Midd-West to minus-11 rushing yards. The Panthers were stung by three long touchdown passes — all in the second half — so how Mike Kogut’s club plays things will be interesting.

Tri-Valley hoping to regain form quickly

Idled last weekend by COVID issues that cost his club a date with Schuylkill Haven, Jeff Sampson’s Tri-Valley Bulldogs (3-0) will hit the road for a non-league engagement with Hamburg (3-1). Senior quarterback Jonas McGrath put together solid outings in Weeks 1 and 2 with sophomore wideout Layne Yoder his primary target. Hamburg strung together three straight victories, but ran into perennial hammer Wyomissing and its winning streak promptly went poof. Hamburg has a pair of solid runners in Diohnny Ruiz (24-273) and Tristan Baer (34-221), but the Hawks’ Xander Menapace (25-40-0, 401 yards, 5 TDs) will throw it. Kevin McFarland (10-135) has been Menapace’s main target, but Ruiz and Baer can catch it as well.

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