Friday, November 3, 2023

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tamaqua's Playoff Journey Ends as North Schuylkill Moves On

Thursday night's rematch pitted North Schuylkill and Tamaqua in the quarterfinals of the District XI 3A High School Football playoffs.
In the opening round of the PIAA District XI 3A High School Football playoffs, the Tamaqua Area Raiders traveled to Fountain Springs to clash with the North Schuylkill Spartans.

The stage was set, with North Schuylkill entering the game as the number 3 seed and Tamaqua as the number 6 seed.

The game began with Tamaqua winning the coin toss but opting to defer to the Spartans, who chose to receive the kickoff. Tamaqua decided to try an onside kick, hoping for an early advantage. They managed to recover the kick, or so they thought, as North Schuylkill called a fair catch just before Tamaqua could seize the ball.

On their first possession, the Spartans wasted no time making their mark. Collin Stanakis powered through with a 6-yard touchdown run, followed by a Gavin Mentzer extra kick adding the extra point. The scoreboard showed North Schuylkill 7, Tamaqua 0.

Undeterred, the Raiders launched their opening drive, but they faced a resolute North Schuylkill defense. Tamaqua, however, had a trick up their sleeve and successfully faked a punt, earning themselves a fresh set of downs. The drive culminated in a 10-yard touchdown run by Bradley Whalen, and Nicholas Barron nailed the extra point, leveling the score at 7-7.

The first quarter was winding down when North Schuylkill's Ricky Halford broke through for a 5-yard touchdown run. Although the extra point attempt was blocked, North Schuylkill took the lead at 13-7.

In their following possession, the Raiders were met with an interception by North Schuylkill's Colin Stanakis. Quarterback Caden Mengel of the Spartans left the game due to a season-ending injury, making way for senior quarterback Trevor Minalda.

Minalda made an immediate impact, connecting with Collin McGee for a spectacular 52-yard touchdown pass with just 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Spartans extended their lead to 19-7.

The second quarter saw Minalda continue to lead his team. He darted into the end zone from 21 yards out, followed by a successful two-point conversion. The scoreboard now showed North Schuylkill 27, Tamaqua 7. North Schuylkill's Halford added to the lead with a 1-yard touchdown run and an extra point, making it North Schuylkill 34, Tamaqua 7.

With 3:19 left in the second quarter, Colin Stanakis of North Schuylkill recorded another interception, and this time, Minalda linked up with Collin McGee for a 48-yard touchdown pass, with the extra point. The score read North Schuylkill 41, Tamaqua 7 as the teams headed to the half.

The third quarter saw no relief for Tamaqua as Minalda continued his outstanding performance. He scored two more touchdowns, one from 14 yards and another from 13 yards out, both with extra points. The scoreboard now showed North Schuylkill 55, Tamaqua 7.

Tamaqua managed to find the end zone with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard run, but a failed two-point conversion attempt left the final score at North Schuylkill 55, Tamaqua 15.

This defeat marked the end of Tamaqua's season, finishing with a record of 5-6. 

North Schuylkill advances to face Palmerton in the upcoming 3A Semifinal Friday showdown, seeking redemption after one of their two losses during the regular season came at the hands of Palmerton. 

Photos/Videos/Story by J. Reed / Skook News