By Michael Bullock:
Tri-Valley to encounter familiar foe in District 11 playoffs
Sitting at No. 2 when District 11 wrapped up its Class 1A regular-season power rankings, Tri-Valley (4-1) will encounter the same Nativity program (5-3) when the semifinal round of the four-team event begins to unfold Friday at North Schuylkill. Yet while Jeff Sampson’s club popped the Green Wave 41-17 in last year’s semis, Pat Mason’s squad defeated Pottsville and pushed Williams Valley to the limit during the regular season. So, this scrap has lots of explosive potential. Tri-Valley rebounded from its loss to Williams Valley last weekend, unleashing a powerful ground game en route to a 41-10 conquest of Marian Catholic. Chase Herb fueled Tri-Valley’s rushing attack, collecting 177 yards and four touchdowns on 17 tries. Sampson’s Bulldogs also picked up 103 yards and another score from Jake Scheib, while Kameron Wetzel tacked up Tri-Valley’s final rushing TD. Caden Richards led Tri-Valley’s defensive effort, totaling eight stops — including two quarterback sacks. Nativity was tied with Jim Thorpe at the halftime break, but the Olympians broke the 7-7 deadlock and went on to a 35-13 victory. Thorpe also registered 10 tackles for loss and sacked Nativity quarterback Cody Miller a handful of times.
Williams Valley begins defense of its District 11-1A championship
Angling for a return trip to the District 11 Class 1A title game, Williams Valley will begin its quest for a second straight championship Friday night when Mahanoy Area pays a visit to Stauffenberg Field. Tim Savage’s Vikings (7-1) defeated the Golden Bears 28-20 during the regular season, as Bryce Herb passed for 293 yards and three touchdowns — Jesse Engle caught two and Logan Williard added one — while the combination of Herb, Hunter Wolfgang and Alex Achenbach added 144 yards on the ground. Jake Herman added five catches for 164 yards, and he also picked off three passes. Williams Valley, which forced seven turnovers, also watched Engle (12 tackles), Jackson Yoder (17 tackles) and Ezi Hite (15 tackles) recover fumbles. Savage’s Vikings last weekend secured their sixth straight victory, clipping Marian Catholic 41-10 as Herb passed for 179 yards and three scores. Achenbach also was productive, as the freshman banked 118 rushing yards and one TD. Mahanoy Area eased into the 11-1A semis by socking Shenandoah Valley 47-0.
Pine Grove to meet Lancaster-Lebanon League adversary
Although Pine Grove (2-6) did not qualify for the District 11 Class 3A playoffs, Frank Gaffney’s Cardinals will entertain Pequea Valley (1-5) in their regular-season finale. Josh Leininger passed for 167 yards and two touchdowns but also ran for 131 yards and one score, yet it wasn’t enough as Pine Grove tumbled 38-26 at Tamaqua. Both of Leininger’s touchdown passes went to Shea Morgan, who hauled in five passes for 110 yards. Morgan also rushed for a 50-yard touchdown on a fake punt. Friday’s scrap will give Morgan another chance to add to the single-season record (47) for receptions he set last weekend by passing Larry Zimmerman. Linebacker Brody Robinson recorded a single-game record 24 tackles — Robinson established the previous mark of 21 earlier this season — yet he also took over the single-season record set in 2004 by Chuck Brightbill. Pequea Valley will arrive in Pine Grove still stinging from a 29-28 overtime loss to Annville-Cleona. The Braves feature a two-pronged rushing attack fueled by Antonio Lazar and quarterback Nate Fisher. Fisher ran for three TDs and threw for a fourth in the loss to Annville-Cleona.