Rematch No. 1: Expect little Hegins hospitality
While it’s been some two months since Tri-Valley hammered out a 21-0 decision at Mahanoy Area, expect even more hard-hitting action later this weekend when Jeff Sampson’s surging Bulldogs (8-1) host the Golden Bears (4-6) in the opening round of the District 11 Class 1A playoffs.
So, let’s start with that Week 2 scrap, when quarterback Jonas McGrath spent much of the night throwing to wideout Layne Yoder. McGrath’s numbers weren’t spectacular (8-of-15 for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns while getting picked off once), but they were just what a ground-happy Tri-Valley attack needed that night. Yoder collected both touchdown receptions, adding more pop to a line that ended with seven catches for 90 yards. Sampson’s Bulldogs netted only 132 rushing yards, but Jake Scheib banked 46 yards on 13 attempts and Reece Huntzinger checked in with nine rushes for 43 yards and one score. Scheib fueled a dominant Bulldogs defense with 15 tackles, but he also registered 2.5 of Tri-Valley’s seven sacks.
Fellow D-lineman Cam Carlin was credited with nine stops and 1.5 sacks, while Levi Murray and Huntzinger combined for another 16 tackles. Murray factored into last weekend’s 14-0 whitewash of Williams Valley, as his 79-yard romp with the opening kickoff staked the visiting Bulldogs to a 7-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Kameron Wetzel added another first-half score for Tri-Valley, which locked up the Colonial-Schuylkill Blue title while running its winning streak to five games. No. 6 and a berth in the 1A final may be just hours away for the fine folks from Schuylkill County’s West End.
2. Rematch No. 2: Angry group gathers along Gary Collins Way
Undoubtedly still miffed following last weekend’s 14-0 blanking, Williams Valley (7-2) likely will be anxious to take out its collective frustration on a Nativity BVM squad (5-5) the Vikings dusted in Week 9 … in Saint Clair. Difference is Tim Savage’s club will be playing at home, and the even-bigger difference is the second-seeded Vikes are facing an all-or-nothing situation in the District 11 Class 1A semifinals.
Win and Williams Valley is into next weekend’s title game at North Schuylkill, but lose and a promising campaign comes to an abrupt end. Although Pat Mason’s Green Wave led 8-0 in the earlier engagement, Savage’s Vikes responded nicely as Alex Achenbach rushed 22 times for 187 yards and four touchdowns. That’s right, four touchdowns. Gage Miller also returned a Nativity fumble 50 yards for Williams Valley’s other score.
The Vikes also dominated defensively as lineman Ezi Hite was credited with 16 tackles, three for loss and one sack. Inside linebacker Jackson Yoder added 12 stops, while Hunter Wolfgang came off the edge to rack up 10 tackles. Williams Valley also forced five turnovers, including a pair of picks by Achenbach. So, even though Savage’s Vikes missed out on the Colonial-Schuylkill Blue title, an D11 crown and a berth in the PIAA’s Class 1A tournament are still possibilities.