Facing a second consecutive backyard scrap for the second time in as many weeks, Pine Grove (1-0) hopes to best neighboring Williams Valley (1-0) in a Colonial-Schuylkill crossover that will tell both sides plenty.
Dave Shiffer’s Cardinals will be tested by a Williams Valley squad that can move the football on the ground and through the air. So, Pine Grove may opt to ride feature back Lane Lehman as long as possible while moving the sticks and controlling the clock.
Lehman rushed 27 times in the Cards’ season-opening 14-9 win over Northern Lebanon, collecting 216 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Mason Kroh added 38 yards on the ground as Pine Grove rolled up 316 yards on the Lebanon County Vikings.
While Kroh completed just 3 of 11 passes for 14 yards – to three different receivers – he may need to be more proficient throwing the ball since Tim Savage’s Vikings likely will come after the senior QB. Defensive tackle Ezi Hite totaled seven stops (three for loss) and one sack.
Lehman was credited with seven tackles – two fewer than linebacker Xavier Yeagley – as Shiffer’s cards held on for the dub. Yeagley actually picked up his own side’s fumble in the final quarter and hammered his way into the end zone for the game-winning points.
More of those types of opportunistic plays need to happen against the Vikes.
Speaking of Williams Valley, junior feature back Alex Achenbach racked up 305 yards rushing on 35 attempts and scored five touchdowns as Savage’s bunch rallied from an early 16-0 deficit. Logan Williard added 100 yards on 11 totes as the Vikes churned out 416 rushing yards behind senior O-Line standouts Hite, Brayden Shadle and Cruz Banda.
QB Isaac Whiteash chipped in 71 passing yards – Whiteash was 4-for-10 with one interception – hooking up with Brady Evans for his lone TD pass. Evans caught two balls for 51 yards. How the Vikes deal with Pine Grove’s sizable fronts will be one storyline.
Conversely, how Pine Grove fares against Williams Valley fronts flush with experience also will play a critical component on which side prevails … and eventually celebrates.
TRI-VALLEY TO BE TESTED IN ITS HOME OPENER
Still wound up by a 20-13 triumph at Minersville last weekend, Jeff Sampson’s Tri-Valley Bulldogs (1-0) will square off against Panther Valley (1-0) in a matchup of Colonial-Schuylkill playmates that call the Blue and White Divisions home, respectively.
Tri-Valley picked up a combined 251 rushing yards from the senior trio of Reece Huntzinger (17-95), Kameron Wetzel (9-91) and Jake Scheib (11-65). Wetzel scored once, while Scheib bulled for two short-yardage TDs, the second breaking a 13-all tie midway through the third quarter.
Scheib’s six tackles paced the Tri-Valley defense – Scheib collected the Bulldogs’ lone quarterback sack – while Huntzinger and freshman Cole Gemberling totaled five apiece. Gemberling, Kole Miller and Jake Tietsworth added interceptions.
Panther Valley also banked a 20-13 decision, knocking off Salisbury while snapping a 10-game skid that dated back to the 2020 season. The Panthers used 203 rushing yards from 240-pound quarterback Michael Pascoe, who scored on runs of 35, 7 and 4 yards.
Pascoe’s 4-yard score snapped a 13-13 deadlock with 7:47 to play. Pascoe attempted just one pass on the night, but it was intercepted.
Trey McAndrew picked off two passes to help Panther Valley preserve its season-opening win.