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Written by: Willie McGonigle on Saturday, November 20th, 2021
All Photos https://twitter.com/photogjamison
SPRINGFIELD: The task was a daunting one for the Neumann Goretti Saints in the First Round of the PIAA Class 3A Playoffs their opponents the North Schuylkill Spartans had a high octane get up on the ball and go offense that in their 11 games played averaged a whopping 40 points per game. The Saints themselves also have a powered offense but on the frigid Friday night it was the Saints that propelled them to the 26-21 victory.
“Defensively our defensive coaching staff did a great job, scheming about everything, The kids played hard they brought in all week, watched a lot of film on these guys.” Saints head coach Albie Crosby said adding “They (North Schuylkill) is a really good football team and Spartan QB Jake Hall is phenomenal.
The Saints defense was led by Rutgers committ Anthony Johnson,Zaid Warren and Shawn Battle. Johnson the 6`3 231 linebacker was a force all night for the Saints making 18 tackles (11solo) while Warren had 12 stops and Battle had two interceptions including one for a touchdown.
“We practice hard everyday ,get all the things we need to do done in practice, so it translates over for us.” Johnson said of the defense.
On the Spartans up tempo offense Battle said “We prepared for it all week, I personally watched a lot of film, We already knew what we had to do.”
After the Spartans took the opening kickoff and drove down to Saints 36 thanks to a ground and pound up tempo attack spearheaded by Josh Chowansky and Jaxon Chowansky before stalling out and turning the ball over on downs the Saints took over and showed their own up tempo attack driving 70 yards on 10 plays before Marqui Adams hit Colton Calleung in strive for 36 yards and the first half`s lone score. Adams would connect with Jayden Styles for the 2point conversion giving the Saints the 8-0 half time lead.
The Spartan defense was led in the game by Jaxon Chowansky who was in on 15 tackles including 11 solo, Steven Davis 10 tackles 1.5 sacks 2TFLs and a fumble recovery and Adam Scott 7 tackles 1.5 sacks.
Styles would extend the Saints lead when he hauled his own teammate’s Jasir Jefferson fumble in the end zone giving the Saints the 14-0 lead.
Battle would extend the Saints lead to 20-0 when he intercepted Hall for the second time in the game and returned it 68 yards for the touchdown. Samuel Hobbs deflected the ball at the line.
The Spartans got on the board with a Jaxon Chowansky one yard plunge into the end zone cutting the lead to 20-7
But the Saints responded with a 6-yard run by Jayden Sumpter making it 26-6 at the end of three quarters.
In the fourth quarter Hall and the Spartans made things interesting thanks to two Hall rushing touchdowns covering 5 and 8 yards respectfully with the ladder coming with under a minute to play in the game.
With the win the Saints extend their winning streak to 10 games and will look to pick up two wins next week when they play their traditional Thanksgiving rival Southern and then play Danville in the second round of State Playoffs Saturday
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