A-K Valley football notebook: Springdale beats Imani Christian for 1st time
Saturday, August 31, 2019 | 12:42 PM
As if their last-minute Week Zero win over Deer Lakes wasn’t enough, the Springdale Dynamos took it to another level Friday and took down Class 1A Eastern Conference opponent Imani Christian for the first time.
“It was just like the Deer Lakes game,” Springdale coach Seth Napierkowski said after the 34-20 win over Imani. “It gives us a lot of momentum moving forward.”
Napierkowski said from watching film he knew his team would be able to run the ball. It was just a matter of what plays would work. So, throughout the first quarter, they settled into their power run game. The Dynamos started chipping away at the Imani Christian defensive line and picking up large chunks of yards that led to a 20-0 halftime lead.
The defense, meanwhile, blanked Imani Christian in the first half. The Saints scored all their points in the third quarter but the Springdale defense buckled down to secure the win.
“The fact that we were able to do that showed how focused they were in practice this week and how well they executed the game plan,” Napierkowski said.
In the past few years, Imani Christian has been one of the Class 1A playoff teams from the Eastern Conference. Napierkowski knew the matchup was going to be important to the outcome of their season.
“We have goals to get into the playoffs and with the new format and only eight teams making it, Imani is one of those teams you have to beat,” Napierkowski said. “… It was a great start to our conference season and for beyond that as well.”
Knoch starts 2-0
Knoch hadn’t started a season with two straight wins in five years. On Friday, the Knights broke that streak, outlasting Northwest Eight opponent Blackhawk, 21-20, at home.
“That was big, getting that first conference win, especially doing it against an opponent like Blackhawk,” Knoch coach Brandon Mowry said. “There is nothing better than that.”
Even though Blackhawk’s Marques Watson-Trent ran for 242 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, the Knights were able to hold off the Cougars, who beat them, 48-12, last season.
Knoch’s Matt Goodlin rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. The Knights’ only pass completion went for a 53-yard touchdown to Jared Schrecengost.
For the second straight week, the Knights got off to a hot start. Last week, they had a 17-0 halftime lead against Hampton in a shutout win. This week, Blackhawk cut Knoch’s lead to 21-20 midway through the third quarter. It’s one area Mowry wants to address.
“Two weeks in a row now we’ve kind jumped out on teams quick and then we kind of fizzled out towards the end of the game,” Mowry said. “So, we have to start finishing. We can’t be complacent with what we did early.”
Last season, the Knights went 3-4 in the conference and missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker. So not only is their 2-0 start a confidence boost, it’s a start that can help lead them to their ultimate goal.
“We started 0-3 (last year), and those two conference losses hurt us,” Mowry said. “So, to get this fast start, the kids have a goal of getting to the playoffs and making it far, so we have to capitalize on every opportunity we have.”
Big nights for QBs
Three quarterbacks from the A-K Valley stood out Friday. Although only one of the QBs came out with a win, they all performed well.
• In his first start, Freeport’s Garrett Schaffhauser completed 24 of his 34 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 102 yards on 24 carries.
• After Fox Chapel produced only 14 yards of offense against Peters Township in Week Zero, Shane Susnak and the Foxes broke out of their slump. The senior quarterback completed 19 of his 31 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-28 loss to North Hills.
• Apollo-Ridge quarterback Jake Fello completed 9 of his 12 passes for 172 yards and three TDs with one interception as the Vikings beat Summit Academy, 34-6.
No. 2 North Catholic (1-0) at Freeport (0-1): The Trojans proved why they are the No. 2-ranked team in the WPIAL with a 54-6 win over Burrrell. Freeport is looking to avoid an 0-2 start for the second year in a row.
Elizabeth Forward (1-0) at Burrell (1-1): Burrell is looking to rebound from a big loss, and Elizabeth Forward is looking for its second win of the season.
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Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .