Looking for a trend associated with Jeff Sampson’s Tri-Valley football program?
Well, let’s just say the Bulldogs have had some mighty close calls in the odd-numbered weeks and convincing victories in their other two outings.
Which brings us to Tri-Valley’s Week 6 encounter — the Bulldogs’ Colonial-Schuylkill Blue Division opener at Shenandoah Valley. Yet while the trends may be suggesting one thing, any time any Schuylkill County adversaries clash on some football field it’s going to be competitive.
At the very least, these outfits will gladly engage in some physical football.
Elevated to No. 5 in Pennsylvania’s Class 1A rankings, Sampson’s resourceful Bulldogs (5-0) maintained their unblemished record by fending off pass-happy Executive Education 19-18 beneath the bright lights of the Hegins-Valley View Metroplex.
Noah Porter and Jake Scheib rushed for touchdowns as Tri-Valley erased an early 6-0 deficit — Porter motored in from the 16-yard line, while Scheib barreled over from 10 yards out – but it took Layne Yoder’s 24-yard interception return to snap a 12-all tie and propel the hosts to the Dub.
Yoder finished with a pair of picks as the Bulldogs swiped five passes in total. Jake Tietsworth, Cole Gemberling and Porter also recorded interceptions, while Porter blocked a field-goal attempt and Scheib registered a late sack to preserve the W.
Scheib rushed for a team-high 87 yards for Tri-Valley, which totaled 226 yards from scrimmage. Quarterback Kole Miller added 35 yards on the ground, 71 through the air while completing six of his 17 attempts. He was picked off once.
Shenandoah Valley (1-4) cracked the victory column last weekend, hammering Hancock, Maryland, 51-20 as Ben Dempster (12 of 12) piled up 253 yards and six touchdowns passing. Nick Ryan hauled in five passes for 168 yards, with four of those five grabs resulting in touchdowns. Ryan also picked off a Hancock pass.
Aaryn Nickerson also caught five passes for 49 yards and one score.
Alex Kozlosky added two receptions for 36 yards and another TD, but he made a bigger impact on defense while totaling 15 tackles for a Blue Devils club that forced four turnovers.
Williams Valley hoping to shrug off two-game slide
Caught in a two-game skid, count Williams Valley (3-2) among those Colonial-Schuylkill League programs welcoming Blue Division play — even if it means Tim Savage’s Vikings will be boarding a bus destined for Nativity’s home digs in Saint Clair.
Savage’s antsy Vikings hope to regain their high-octane form after dropping back-to-back scraps against Minersville (30-12) and state-ranked Loyalsock (35-29). Williams Valley made things interesting last weekend, rallying from a 27-6 halftime deficit to pull within a single score of the visiting Lancers.
While the Vikes were bumped up defensively and yielded 500 yards to ‘Sock, Savage’s club managed to rally as Alex Achenbach rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Achenbach also caught four passes for 72 yards, including a late score.
Isaac Whiteash completed nine of his 22 pass attempts for 136 yards, an interception and the aforementioned score to Achenbach. Logan Williard added 49 yards on 10 totes, scoring once.
Williard had a productive night defensively, totaling 10 tackles (four for losses) and one sack while Whiteash was in on 15 stops ( 13 solo) before his two-way night was over. Bryant Hoover also had a busy night, recording nine tackles.
Nativity (2-3, 0-1) opened Blue Division play last weekend on the road, dropping a 15-12 decision at Marian Catholic despite five catches from Noah Dolbin for 117 yards and a 63-yard TD.
Dolbin also paced Nativity with nine tackles.
Quarterback Ben Kreitzer was 7-for-13 passing for 130 yards and his lengthy heave to Dolbin. Samuel Spolski led Pat Mason’s Green Wave with 56 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Pine Grove chasing much-needed positive result
In the midst of a four-game losing streak, Dave Shiffer’s Pine Grove Cardinals (1-4, 0-3) hope to start turning things around this weekend when Palmerton (3-2, 1-1) pays a visit. Just keeping things close would be a positive for the Cards.
Mason Kroh totaled 245 offensive yards last weekend – Kroh rushed 12 times for 92 yards and one touchdown, but he also completed 17 of 37 passes for 153 yards – but it was hardly enough as Shiffer’s club was jolted 66-14 by Jim Thorpe. Thorpe led 47-7 at halftime.
Robbie Schaeffer was Kroh’s top target, catching five passes for 49 yards.
Jim Thorpe (2-3, 2-1) rolled up 509 yards of offense against Pine Grove. Nine Olympians carried the ball as the visitors piled up 303 rushing yards and seven touchdowns — from seven different players. QB Brett Balliet threw for 206 yards (9-for-12) and three scores.
Palmerton (3-2, 1-1) will arrive in Pine Grove trying to flush its latest result, a 55-18 loss to Notre Dame-Green Pond, despite 248 yards from dual-threat quarterback Matt Machalik. He passed for 184 yards (16-for-24) and picked up 64 more on the ground.
Machalik accounted for all three Bombers scores, one rushing and two passing.