Southern Lehigh vs Whitehall
Whitehall Wins Inaugural District 5A Championship
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
BETHLEHEM- It had been since 1997 that the Whitehall Zephyr football team won a district title. Friday night at BASD Stadium, the drought finally ended, as the Zephyrs defeated a very talented Southern Lehigh Spartans team by a score of 35-14. The win advances Whitehall to the next round of the subregional playoffs against District 2 Champion Abington Heights, who defeated favored Wyoming Valley West 24-7 in Kingston Friday night.
The win did not come easy as the Spartans jumped out to an early lead. They went on a 65-yard drive to start the game, culminating in a ten-yard score by Luke Straus near the seven minute mark.
— Brian Ptashinski (@BPtashinski) November 12, 2016
Whitehall’s opening drive looked promising as on the first play from their 26, quarterback Zach Gilbert hooked up with Dez Boykin on a pass play taking the ball to the Spartan 26, but from there the drive stalled and the ball was turned over on downs at the 17.
Southern Lehigh was forced to punt the ball back to Whitehall from near their own end zone on the ensuing drive, and Whitehall took over on the 39. It only took Gilbert one play as he hit Kasai Harrison over the middle for the tying score with about three minutes left in the quarter. The Zephyrs took the lead for good nearing six minutes to play in the first half as Braxton Marrero capped a 68 yard drive, with a 36 yard dash to paydirt, putting his team ahead 14-7 as the game entered intermission.
The start of the second half began with Whitehall taking the kickoff. They only needed three plays to score, as Harrison took a handoff and weaved his way through the defenders for a 54-yard score, increasing the Zephyr lead to 21-7.
There was no quit in the Spartans however, as they went on a 68-yard drive, capped by a 23-yard run by Strauss to cut the lead to 21-14 with 6:55 left in the third quarter. The drive was aided by a fourth down pass interference call. But that was as close as the Spartans would get the rest of the contest.
The Zephyrs only needed three plays to put points back up on the scoreboard as Gilbert lofted a tight spiral to Boykins for a 70-yard scoring play to increase the lead to 28-14 with 5:56 left in the quarter.
Gilbert connected with Boykin for a 31-yard pass play, after taking possession from Southern Lehigh. The defense stopped the Spartans on downs at the Zephyr 40, when quarterback Logan Edmond was thrown for a loss, and left the game with apparent injury.
“Their misdirection, their speed, their scheme is tough to defend. You don’t see it week to week. It was tough to get a handle on. Our guys figured it out better in the second half,” said Whitehall coach Brian Gilbert.
Southern Lehigh, committed five false start penalties, which seemed to bog down several potential positive drives in the first half.
“I thought we were in the game throughout. We moved the ball on them. We just didn’t do enough and had too many mistakes. That was the difference in the game,” A dejected coach John Toman said.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
Share This Post: