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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Schuylkill League News and Notes

And it all comes down to this …

Already revved up after taking a preseason peek at their favorite football program’s schedule, the folks who call the Hegins-Valley View Metroplex home and those along either side of U.S. 209 have been waiting for Week 10 to arrive. Well, it’s finally here. So, that means the long-awaited backyard showdown between Tri-Valley (7-1, 4-0) and Williams Valley (7-1, 3-0) is about to kick off between those stately tall pines in Williamstown. 

While Tri-Valley holds a slight lead in the Colonial-Schuylkill Blue Division standings — Williams Valley lost a scrap to league rival Shenandoah Valley that might have enabled Tim Savage’s squad to pull even — Jeff Sampson’s Bulldogs also sit atop the District 11 Class 1A power rankings. Plus, these two were forced to share last season’s 11-1A championship. We could go on and on and on … Victors in four straight, Tri-Valley has been leaning heavily on its potent ground game since dropping a non-league outing at Hamburg.

So, look for fullback Jake Scheib and electric halfback Kameron Wetzel to get plenty of chances to carry the ball. Scheib picked up 113 yards and one touchdown on just seven carries in last weekend’s 45-0 whitewash of Shenandoah Valley, while Wetzel posted 80 yards and one score on 15 attempts. Wetzel also returned the second-half kickoff for another touchdown, the third time in four games he accomplished that feat. Defensively, Scheib and Cameron Carlin hope to put pressure on Williams Valley QB Isaac Whiteash, who is capable of having a huge night whenever he frequently gets the ball to 6-foot-3 wideout Brady Evans.

If not, look for Savage to get plenty of looks for sophomore Alex Achenbach, who last week piled up 187 yards and four touchdowns on 22 tries in the Vikes’ 37-14 triumph at Nativity. While a big, experienced line will try to move the Bulldogs up front and create time or space, the likes of Ezi Hite in the trenches, Jackson Yoder at middle ‘backer and Hunter Wolfgang coming off the edge can cause problems galore for opposing offenses. Those three combined for 38 tackles and three stops for negative yardage. Bottom line is this game should have plenty of energy on and off the field, so those planning to go might want to invest a $5 bill and take a shot at what could be a healthy 50-50. Since these outfits could meet again in two weeks, we’re also talking about a potential 11-1A championship preview as well.

Pine Grove hoping to end strong

Struggling mightily, Pine Grove (1-8) will try to close out the regular season on a high note when Frank Gaffney’s Cardinals encounter a Marian Catholic (2-7) club that’s won its last two. Gaffney’s Cards dropped their fifth straight last weekend, falling 40-17 to Colonial-Schuylkill White rival Mahanoy Area. Lane Lehman rushed for 95 yards and one score, while Mason Kroh reeled in seven catches for 68. Colin Ibarra had a monster game defensively, recording 16 stops.

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