Grid greatness: North Schuylkill, Tri- Valley win District 11 football championships
Dawgs top Vikes for Class A crown
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — The play was supposed to be a rollout pass.
Daulton Leedy had other ideas. Seeing a hole on the right side, the Tri- Valley senior quarterback tucked the ball under his arm and took off. What followed was the play of Saturday’s District 11 Class A championship game.
Leedy broke a couple of tackles and scampered down the sideline 65 yards to the end zone on the third- and- 6 play, clinching the Dawgs’ 28- 21 victory over Williams Valley at Rotary Field.
The win gives Tri- Valley ( 9- 3) its first District 11 Class A crown since 2009 and a date with District 2 champion Lackawanna Trail in the first round of the PIAA playoffs next weekend at a District 2 site.
“It was awesome,” said Leedy as he clutched the District 11 trophy with both hands. “It was supposed to be a rollout. When I rolled out and I saw how wide open it was, I took off. When I broke a couple of tackles, I knew I was going to score and give our team a bigger lead.
“A lot of people never thought that we’d have a winning season,” Leedy continued. “Here we are, winning a district championship. It feels amazing.”
Leedy’s big run came just when things seemed to be slipping away for the Dawgs.
Tri- Valley dominated the first half, building a 20- 7 lead at intermission as Leedy completed 7- of- 12 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.
The Dawgs opened the scoring
on a 62- yard bomb from Leedy to Nick Ziegmont with 14 seconds left in the first quarter, then Leedy’s 8- yard keeper made it 12- 0 early in the second quarter.
Williams Valley sliced the deficit to 12- 7 on Brady Miller’s 1- yard run, but Tri- Val
ley answered two plays later on a 38- yard TD pass from Leedy to Chase Herb.
“I saw it coming ... and I knew I had it. I didn’t know if I was going to get to the end zone, but it worked out in my favor and I scored,” Ziegmont said of his touchdown catch. “It was a simple fade. I knew ( the defensive back) was going to cut inside more toward the line, and that’s when I got my separation. I was able to keep that separation and go up and get it.”
Defenses dominated the third quarter, as the teams combined for only one first down and 27 total yards. Hunter Knorr had a big defensive stop for Tri- Valley on a fourth- and- 1 play near midfield, while Williams Val
ley’s Jayden Cruz sacked Leedy for a 6- yard loss later in the frame.
The Dawgs’ defensive front, which included Knorr, Kolt Schaeffer, Connor O’prey and Nick Parobek and featured key plays by linebackers Ziegmont and Ashton Snyder, played well all night.
Midway through the fourth, however, Williams Valley put together a six- play, 89- yard drive that ended with Miller’s 30- yard TD run. A 24- yard pass from Bryce Herb to Cruz and a 23- yard run by Nick Savage set up the touchdown, which sliced Tri- Valley’s lead to 20- 14 with 3: 47 left.
A 2- yard loss and a 6- yard pass from Leedy to Nick
Stiely left the Dawgs facing third- and- 6 before Leedy delivered with his big run. A two- point conversion pass from Leedy to Ziegmont made it 28- 14 with 2: 38 left.
Williams Valley answered Leedy’s score with a 20- yard pass from Bryce Herb to Cruz with 2 minutes left, but Tri- Valley recovered the onside kick attempt. The Dawgs then ran out the clock after Ike Lucas ran 8 yards for a first down on a thirdand- 5 play with 1: 49 left.
The victory is Tri- Valley’s sixth straight since opening the season 3- 3.
“I gave these kids a homework assignment last night,” said Tri- Valley coach Jeff Sampson, who won a district championship for the first time in his 25 years of coaching. “Go home and write down two things that we needed to do individually and what we needed to do as a team collectively to win this football game. It was col
laborative effort that we needed to play as a team and communicate, and that’s what we did tonight.
“First time in 25 years ... this feels good.”
Williams Valley ( 9- 3), which was denied a third straight district title, played without senior quarterback/ defensive back Levi Engle ( collapsed lung) and lost sophomore tight end Jesse Engle to an ankle injury in the first half.
Still, the Vikings rushed for 226 yards, with Nick Savage gaining 174 yards on 17 carries and Miller finishing with 71 yards on 22 carries.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Wil
liams Valley coach Tim Savage said. “When they ripped that
long run off and we were down two scores, there’s not many teams that have any faith to come back. My guys came back, went down the field and scored again. We had a shot to get the ball back again, down several players. I’m proud of the team.”
Leedy finished 9- of- 18 for 199 yards passing and rushed for 125 yards on 18 carries. For Tri- Valley’s 15 seniors, it was the Dawgs’ first win over the Vikings since they were freshmen, snapping a fourgame losing streak to their backyard rivals.
“This whole thing is a dream come true,” Ziegmont said. “I never thought it would happen in these four years, but it did.”
Tri- Valley’s Daulton Leedy ( 9) lifts the District 11 Class A championship trophy into the air after defeating Williams Valley on Saturday at Rotary Field. Joining in the celebration are Kolt Schaeffer ( 53), Tyler Mcgrath ( 12) and Jimmy Dietrich ( 28).
Tri- Valley’s Daulton Leedy ( 9) breaks away from Williams Valley’s Nick Savage ( 30) during the District 11 Class A championship game Saturday night at Rotary Field.