By Michael Bullock:
Here we go yet again — this time at The Stauff
In a possible preview of the District 11 Class 1A championship game — and a matchup between neighboring programs that have met in the last two 11-A title games — Williamstown’s Stauffenberg Field will be the site for Friday night’s collision between host Williams Valley (5-1, 5-0) and heated Schuylkill 2 rival Tri-Valley (3-0, 3-0). Although Tri-Valley started the season after everyone else had played several games, Jeff Sampson’s Bulldogs have rattled off three straight wins … all in impressive fashion and all featuring dominant ground games. Chase Herb cracked 200 rushing yards for the second straight weekend, collecting 215 yards and three touchdowns on 17 attempts as Tri-Valley muscled past Marian Catholic 47-7. Sophomore Kameron Wetzel also had a big night against the struggling Colts, rolling up 103 yards and one score on just four carries. Need a quick stat break? Sampson’s Bulldogs are averaging just over 345 yards rushing thus far and have thrown the ball sparingly. Senior Caden Richards also had a big night for the ‘Dawgs defensively, totaling 10 stops and one sack as Marian managed just 38 total yards. Williams Valley’s high-flying aerial attack wasn’t as prominent last weekend, totaling just 145 yards in a grind-it-out 22-7 victory at Schuylkill Haven. Bryce Herb likely will become the Vikings’ all-time leader in passing yards, as the 6-foot-1 senior needs some 30 yards to pass his father, Paul Herb. Freshman Alex Achenbach was effective running the ball, totaling 101 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Tim Savage’s Vikings also picked up a short touchdown run from Logan Williard. Inside ‘backers Jesse Engle and Jackson Yoder combined for 25 stops and two tackles for loss. Engle also registered a 40-yard pick-6. Ezi Hite, a real load up front, added seven tackles, three for losses and one quarterback sack. We’d be remiss for not bringing up that, under typical conditions, Friday’s scrap would generate a sizable 50-50 kitty that would make proprietors at local watering holes extremely happy.
Pine Grove looking for second straight success
Buoyed by a balanced attack that piled up 400 yards — including 181 through the air — Pine Grove (2-4, 1-3) will play host to Schuylkill 1 playmate Lehighton (2-4, 0-4) in southern Schuylkill County. Stepping in at quarterback, sophomore Mason Kroh threw for 181 yards (6-of-11) and four touchdowns as Frank Gaffney’s Cardinals roasted Panther Valley 49-6. Shea Morgan was Kroh’s primary target, catching four passes for 114 yards and three scores. Kroh, who took control with regular starter Josh Leininger idled, also hooked up with Ayden Ney for a 43-yard TD. Feature back Brody Robinson also performed effectively, rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns on just eight attempts. Robinson also was one of four Cardinals to post 10 or more tackles, as he piled up 12 stops. Freshman linebacker/safety Lane Lehman paced Frank Gaffney’s club with 15 tackles. Ney (14) and Colin Ibarra (11) were the other Cards that found the ball frequently. Lehighton dropped its second straight decision last weekend, falling 35-0 to Blue Mountain.