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Written by: Daniel Reed on Saturday, November 13th, 2021
Strong second half propels Williams Valley to a third straight District XI Class 1A Championship defeating Tri-Valley 28 to 13 at Gosh Orthodontics Field at Spartan Stadium !
There was a championship to be won Friday night in District XI Class 1A at North Schuylkill’s Gosh Orthodontics Field at Spartan Stadium on Friday night as the Williams Valley Vikings took on the Tri-Valley Bulldogs. A rematch from a couple weeks ago that saw the Bulldogs come out on top 14 to 0 to win the Schuylkill/Colonial League Blue Division Title. As the old cliche’ goes, playoff football is a new season and Williams Valley proved that to be true last night.
To start things off, Tri-Valley won the coin toss and deferred, giving the ball to the Vikings to begin the game. Things would start out slow for Williams Valley who would return the kickoff to the 28 yard line. After a couple minutes rolled off the clock, we would see the first punt of the game, the Bulldogs would start their opening drive at their own 41. Tri-Valley QB Jonas McGrath would connect with Layne Yoder for about a 26 yard pass before the first score of the game when McGrath would hit Kameron Wetzel for 35 yards and the score to put the Bulldogs on top 7 to 0 with 7:45 to play in the first quarter. The Vikings next possession would begin at their 35 yard line. The drive wouldn’t last long as Layne Yoder would pick off the McGrath pass and would take over at the Vikings 48. With about 4 minutes to go in the half, the Bulldogs would have the ball 1st and 10 at the Williams Valley 28. A long pass to Yoder would have Tri-Valley deep in Vikings territory at the 13, but the drive would stall with a missed field goal, giving the ball back to Vikings at the 20. A big sack by the Bulldogs Jake Scheib would set the Vikings back on their own 9 yard line, eventually ending the first quarter with the score still just 7 to 0 Tri-Valley in the lead.
Williams Valley would begin the second quarter deep in their own territory at the 9 and would have to punt following a fourth and long situation. Tri-Valley would take over at the Vikings 37 after the punt. After a short series by the Bulldogs, Williams Valley would take over on downs at their own 26. Time would wind down off the clock during a long drive by the Vikings, until Tri-Valley’s Jonas McGrath would pick off the Whiteash pass at around the Bulldog goal-line, returning it to the 5. This time it would be the Bulldogs who would take some time off the clock but eventually punting back to the Vikings late the first half. Williams Valley QB Isaac Whiteash would connect on a deep pass to Hunter Wolfgang setting up the late score from the Vikings, when Whiteash would hit Brady Evans in the endzone from 11 yards out. What I thought was going to be a tie score to end the half, proved to be wrong as the Williams Valley would go for 2 instead, and convert, Whiteash to Evans again, putting the Vikings in the lead 8 to 7 to close out the first half.
Vikings HC said at the half, “the key to this whole game is going to be the first drive of the second half, we have to go in there, if they get a first down, two fine, but no points to be given up, get the ball back, and put another one in, and start taking control of the game, the first half has been evenly played, we both made some mistakes, both made some positives, its a well played football game, 8 to 7, two great teams going at it, it’s fun.”
Tri-Valley would receive the second half kickoff where they would start at their 30 yard line. After a couple minutes ticked off the clock, the Bulldogs would be punting and just like Coach Savage talked about at the half, the Vikings stepped up and would partially block the punt and take over at the Bulldog 45. Whiteash would once again connect with Brady Evans down to the Tri-Valley 9 yard line before the drive would stall out and the Bulldogs would take over, once again deep in their own territory. Nothing would amount to anything on the drive as they would punt back to the Vikings at their own 3 yard line. It wouldn’t be until about 3 minutes to go in the third quarter when we would finally see another score, this one by the Vikings when QB Whiteash would hit Hunter Wolfgang for 10 yards and the score, the extra point was good, and we had ourselves a 15 to 7 game. The Bulldogs would begin the ensuing drive at their 37 yard line and the Vikings defense started to take control. With about just under 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Tri-Valley would turn the ball over on downs and the Vikings would take over at the Bulldog 37. Shortly after, Williams Valley would score when Alex Achenbach would take it 36 yards for the score, another perfect PAT would give us a score of 22 to 7 at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter would play out much like the second and third quarters with the Viking defense taking control, such as when Ezi Hite would sack the Bulldogs QB for a 4 yard loss with about 10 minutes to play in the game. After about 4 minutes or so clicked off the clock, Williams Valley would score again when Achenbach would take the pitch, stop, and throw to Brady Evans for 42 yards and the touchdown giving the Vikings a 28 to 7 lead after the try after failed. As time wound down, Tri-Valley QB-McGrath would begin to heat up again connecting on long passes to Jake Tietsworth, Mason Boltz, and Layne Yoder, getting down to the Bulldog 6 yard line before hitting Levi Murray for the score from 7 yards out, the extra point would fail, still closing the gap to 28 to 13 over midway thru the final quarter. Tri-Valley would try an onside kick but the Vikings would recover, having the ball first and ten at the Bulldogs 45. The Vikings would get down to the 18 yard line before turning the ball back over to the Bulldogs with under 3 minutes to play. Williams Valley defense came up big again when Jackson Yoder would record a sack pinning the Bulldogs back at their own 7 yard line. On the next play, Achenbach would intercept the pass from McGrath and the Vikings would take over at the Tri-Valley 34 with under 2 minutes to play. A couple kneel downs and we had a final score of 28 to 13, Williams Valley winning their third straight(2020 was a split championship with Tri-Valley due to COVID) District XI Class 2A Championship.
After the game, Vikings HC Tim Savage had this to say…. most of these kids have family, brothers, uncles, etc who won titles here, and we have to live up to that expectation, we got coaches on my staff that won two or three medals, my junior class have won 3 straight, so we’re going to try to hit four, we’ve never had class win four in a row, and that’s setup now for next year.”
Williams Valley Offense:
Isaac Whiteash went 9 of 18 for 100 yards, 2 tds and 2 ints
Alex Achenbach had 29 carries for 117 yards, 1 td, 1 of 1 passing for 58 yards, 1 td
Brady Evans had 6 receptions for 108 yards and 2 tds
Williams Valley Defense:
Ezi Hite, and Jackson Yoder both had 1 sack each
Alex Achenbach had 1 int
Jonas McGrath went 11 of 20 for 164 yards, and 2 tds
Levi Murray and Kameron Wetzel each had 1 td
Jolten Flory, Jake Scheib, and Josh Reho each had 1 sack
Layne Yoder and Jonas McGrath each had an int.
Photos by: @PFNDan570FB
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