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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Schuylkill League News and Notes: Tri-Valley looks to reach 9-0; Pine Grove celebrates a ‘dub’; and Williams Valley’s Tim Savage celebrates win No. 100

While Tim Savage’s high-powered Williams Valley football program appears to have its feet back under them following a midseason slide, the Vikings have one more week of preparation remaining before they square off against neighborhood rival Tri-Valley for the Colonial-Schuylkill League’s Blue Division crown.

Of course, that’s assuming both squads hold serve this weekend.

And for the Vikings (6-2, 3-0 Blue Division), Week 9 means a visit from struggling Shenandoah Valley (1-7, 0-3) awaits this weekend at The Stauff. Trap game? Yeah, but …

Williams Valley spent last weekend walloping Marian Catholic 40-7 in Williamstown. Savage pocketed his 100th career victory and became the winningest coach in Williams Valley’s proud history. Savage’s historic success moved him past his former coach, the late Jerry Stauffenberg, and he accomplished his feat in his 11th season fronting his alma mater’s program.

“I would like to thank every player I have coached, every coach that I have coached with and, finally, every coach that has ever coached me,” Savage stated on Twitter, a short time after Williams Valley closed out its latest victory. “One hundred wins in under 11 years is an accomplishment shared by many throughout a football life.”

Alex Achenbach rolled up his third game in as many weeks with 200-plus rushing yards — Achenbach carried the ball 21 times for 219 yards and one touchdown and added 49 yards and a score receiving — and the Vikings’ defensive unit shut down the visitors’ ground game.

Senior quarterback Isaac Whiteash completed seven of his 20 attempts for 130 yards and four touchdowns — one each to Achenbach and Logan Williard, along with a pair to favorite target Brady Evans (four receptions, 81 yards).

Williard sparked a Williams Valley defensive unit by making 10 tackles (one fewer than Bryant Hoover) as Marian managed just 26 rushing yards on 29 attempts. The Vikings also forced five turnovers, four fumbles and a pick from Achenbach.

Shenandoah Valley, meanwhile, dropped its third outing in as many weeks, falling 21-6 to Nativity. Nick Ryan enjoyed a huge night, catching 12 passes for 172 yards and the Blue Devils’ lone touchdown.

Quarterback Ben Dempster finished with 14 completions in 20 attempts for 191 yards — he was picked off twice — and his touchdown pass to Ryan. He added 48 rushing yards on 18 tries. Junior linebacker Kelvyn Cordero paced the Blue Devils with 11 tackles, including a pair behind the line of scrimmage.

Tri-Valley looking to remain perfect

State-ranked Tri-Valley (8-0. 3-0) turned back a dangerous Mahanoy Area 21-6 at the Hegins-Valley View Metroplex, remaining unbeaten in Blue Division play and strengthening its grip on the No. 1 spot in the District 11 Class 1A power rankings.

Yet with a Week 10 showdown with neighborhood rival Williams Valley looming, Jeff Sampson’s Bulldogs cannot lose focus since a visit to Marian Catholic (4-4, 2-2) is on tap. And Stan Dakosty’s Colts are hoping to find a way to improve their No. 5 perch in the 1A power rankings and squeeze into the four-team playoff field.

Able to get some production from its ground game, Tri-Valley parlayed the work of Kam Wetzel (10 carries, 67 yards), Jake Scheib (10-50) and Reece Huntzinger (9-49) — each scored touchdowns — into a 21-0 lead after three quarters. QB Kole Miller was 9-for-16 passing for 125 yards, spreading the ball to five receivers.

Where the Bulldogs really excelled was defending the run, as Huntzinger (16 tackles), Scheib (10 tackles), Noah Porter (eight tackles) and Jolten Flory (eight tackles) spearheaded an effort that limited Mahanoy Area to just 93 yards on the ground.

Marian also encountered a defensive wall at Williams Valley, netting just 26 yards on 29 attempts. Running back Matt Martin was contained by the Vikings, picking up just 14 yards on 11 tries, even though one of his carries went for 20 yards.

Marian’s lone score came on a touchdown pass from Bruce Hopeck (5-of-12, 0 TDs, 92 yards) to Michael Gelatko, who had two catches for 74 yards and his first-half score.

Linebacker Joey Walko amassed 15 tackles.

Pine Grove finally halts nasty skid with road win in Lehigh Valley

Finally — thanks to a long-awaited 23-13 triumph at suburban Allentown’s Salisbury Township that ended a six-game slide — six weeks of frustration is over for an exhaling Pine Grove football program.

Unfortunately for Dave Shiffer’s Cardinals (2-6, 1-5), they’ll be back up against it this weekend when an explosive Notre Dame-Green Pond outfit (6-2, 5-1) rolls into southern Schuylkill County for a Red Division scrap.

Lane Lehman did much of the heavy lifting for Pine Grove, rushing 32 times for 212 yards and catching one pass for another 14. Quarterback Mason Kroh (2 of 5, 29 yards) pocketed all three touchdowns for the Cards, posting all three scores while rushing for 55 yards on 16 attempts.

Lehman had one sack among his four tackles. Nick Wolff paced the Cards with seven stops.

Notre Dame-Green Pond outran Jim Thorpe 57-40 last weekend, as dual-threat quarterback Danny Darno completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 343 yards and four touchdowns yet also ran 16 times for 156 yards and two scores as the Crusaders posted nearly 600 yards of offense.

Josh Ludlow added 69 yards and two scores on 12 rushing attempts, but he also caught nine passes for 99 yards. A.J. Lozano added four receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while James Wisecarver (5-61) and Julian Baker (4-54) each caught TD passes.

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