It was a brisk Friday evening at Panther Valley Stadium (Jim Thorpe's home field for the 2011 season) and an even more bitter result for the Olympians as North Schuylkill assaulted Thorpe, 67-13.
The Spartans didn't waste any time getting down to business scoring on a four play 65-yard drive with 10:15 remaining in the first. Ryan Henning completed a 12-yard pass to Mike Shinkus on the drive with Matt Gownley and John Long each carrying the ball once with runs of 11 and 25 yards. Shinkus capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown. The Spartans reeled off three straight first downs before scoring on Shinkus' touchdown run.
Thorpe's first drive looked promising with a P.J. Johnson sweep to the outside going for seven yards, but the Spartan defense as they did all night stifled the Thorpe offense forcing them to punt the ball away just two plays later.
The Spartans did a nice job of mixing passing and running plays together on their second drive that finished off with Henning throwing a seven yard strike to John Long. Long was the Spartans x-factor of the evening constantly slipping into the middle of the Jim Thorpe defense providing a secondary option for Henning.
The North Schuylkill offense continued to pile on the points for the rest of the first half scoring five more touchdowns. Henning, Shinkus, Long, Curt Adams, and Dan McSurdy all scored touchdowns for the Spartans on the ground in the first two quarters. McSurdy's 65-yard touchdown scamper at the 3:28 mark in the second was the longest of the bunch and gave North Schuylkill a 47-13 edge going into halftime.
A bright spot in the first half for the Olympians was the connection between JT quarterback Pat Duvigneaud and sophomore wideout Khaaliq Lynch. Duvigneaud and Lynch hooked up for two monster pass plays of 65 and 56 yards resulting in two Olympian touchdowns. Lynch showed his ability Friday night to get behind one of the areas top defenses in North Schuylkill. Lynch also showed his blooming talent in the return game as well, nearly busting the seam on several occasions.
Ryan Henning finished with a big night for North Schuylkill going 9-12 with 115 yards and three touchdowns. Henning hit his receivers in stride all night only making one mistake, sailing a ball over the middle into the outstretched arms of JT's Mike Hickey. The North Schuylkill rushing attack was even better totaling 366 yards on 35 carries.
Friday night showed that North Schuylkill is no doubt one of the top teams in the Anthracite Football League if not in all of District 11. If the Spartans can add a passing attack like the one they showed against the Olympians then the sky is the limit for Rick Geist and his squad this season.