PEN ARGYL – North Schuylkill’s one two punch of Kody Flail and Ed Pavalko led their running attack in a 35-23 win over Pen Argyl Saturday afternoon.
The Green Knights went to the air and struck first on the scoreboard. Quarterback Nathan Hood found Joey Wagner for the 57-yard touchdown pass. The kicked failed and Pen Argyl led 6-0.
The Spartans would answer Pen Argyl’s drive by going to their strength, Ed Pavalko. He took over by running the ball five of the seven times during the drive. Kody Flail finished the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Charlie Hutnick ‘s extra point put North Schuylkill up 7-6.
Pavalko talked about his offensive line, “Offensive line is everything and that is where it starts. If they get a good push off the ball all we need is a little gap and we have backs good enough to make a play.”
Pen Argyl would drive deep into Spartan territory. The Spartan defense held the Green Knights to a field goal attempt. Wagner’s 24-yard field goal puts Pen Argyl back up 9-7 with 11:45 remaining in the first half.
The Spartans would drive right down the field behind the running of Flail and Pavalko. Flail’s seven-yard score put the Spartans up 14-9.
Both defenses came up with turnovers mid-way through the second quarter. After a punt by Pen Argyl, the Spartans went on the move with 2:13 remaining in the first half.
Big runs by Flail took the Spartans down to Pen Argyl’s 23. Ryan Henning scrabbled out of the pocket then threw the ball up to the end zone as a Pen Argyl defender was hitting him. Ethan Motsney fought off Conor Gum to catch the 23-yard touchdown pass with 44.9 seconds left in the first half.
On the next drive by Pen Argyl, Ethan Motsney would intercept Hood’s pass. The Spartans scored on the turnover by driving 52 yards. Scott Houser’s five-yard touchdown run capped off the Spartan drive. They led 27-9.
It looked like the Spartans defense came up with the stop but a personal foul gave new life to Pen Argyl. The Green Knights capitalized on the drive. Dylan Evans broke several tackles and went in for the 40-yard score. Hood threw a dart to Evans for the two-point conversion and Pen Argyl cut the lead to 27-17.
Both teams scored one more time in the third quarter. Mike Shinkus scored on a 19-yard run. Hood hit Wagner for the 22-yard strike to end a wild third quarter.
Hood finished the game passing for over 300 yards and two scores.
North Schuylkill led 35-23 going into the fourth quarter. The Spartans defense tightened up and shut down Pen Argyl ‘s passing game. The scoreless fourth quarter would end on a knee by Henning.
North Schuylkill’s Head coach Rick Geist talked about the adjustments in the second half, “Putting a extra defensive back in. It’s what we call cover 12 putting two safety over the top and man to man underneath.”
Despite sitting out for some of the game with an injury the work horse Ed Pavalko finish the game rushing for 160 yards.
Geist talked about Pavalko, “Ed is the heart and soul of the team.”
With the win they move on next week to face either Northern Lehigh or Jim Thorpe for the District 11 AA title.
Side note: North Schuylkill came into the game with 7 shutouts in 9 games. They gave up only 22 points in the nine games. In one game Pen Argyl scored 23.