By Kaylee Lindenmuth | email@example.com
LEHIGHTON, Carbon County - "We lost a lot of energy, a lot of emotion," is how North Schuylkill Head Coach Wally Hall described the end of a football season rife with trials and triumphs.
The Spartans entered Friday's game 10-1, looking to win back-to-back District XI 3A titles as they face the 9-2 Tamaqua Blue Raiders. The team was especially playing for injured quarterback #6 Jaden Leiby. Leiby was injured midway through their Schuylkill League Division 1 title game against Pottsville two weeks ago.
Both schools recognized Jaden Leiby by wearing #6 decals on their helmets, and NS captains brought his #6 jersey to midfield for the coin toss.
Offensively, the Spartans found no success against the Tamaqua squad at Lehighton's field, while the Raiders found the endzone three times.
The first score came with about a minute left in the first quarter, as Tamaqua Senior QB #10 Brayden Knoblauch connected with Senior WR #22 Matt Kistler. The extra point was blocked, giving Tamaqua a 6-0 lead.
The next came with about 5:00 remaining in the first half, as senior TE #32 Jake Barron received a Knoblauch pass and vaulted over a Spartan defender and the sideline pylon to score. The Raiders led 12-0.
The final score came with about 9:02 left in the third, as senior RB #12 Nate Boyle rushed for the score. A successful two-point conversion gave the Raiders a 20-0 lead, which stood for the remainder of the game.
North Schuylkill's season ends with the loss, finalizing their record at 10-2. Tamaqua will advance to the PIAA state playoffs with the same record.
According to the PIAA District XI's website, the championship is the first in Tamaqua school history.