ASHVILLE – The opening kickoff sailed into the eager hands of Ethan Motsney, who exploded through a seam and shot past a horde of charging Meyers Mohawks.
Two cuts later, he was gone.
So was any hope Meyers had of pulling an upset.
Motsney's game-opening 85-yard touchdown return triggered North Schuylkill's six-touchdown first quarter Friday as the Spartans smoked Meyers 65-19 in a first-round Eastern Conference Class 2A playoff opener.
I wouldn't say it was easy, North Schuylkill's interim coach Glenn Geist said.
It sure looked that way.
It all started when Motsney streaked down the field and untouched into the end zone with the first kick.
We prepared a lot with the special teams this past week, Motsney said. The blocking was great. Once I saw it, I knew I was gone.
North Schuylkill scored every time it touched the ball in the first half, and even produced points when Meyers had the ball.
Tanner Dean blocked a punt following Motsney's electric return, setting up the first of three Matt Gownley touchdown runs.
Meyers made a push on its next possession, moving 31 yards to North Schuylkill's 30-yard line. But Gownley, playing linebacker, wrestled the ball away from a Meyers running back and raced 64 yards to give the Spartans a defensive touchdown.
They nearly had another when Bobby Grigas, playing defensive back, picked off a pass and returned it 60 yards to the Meyers 1-yard line. Any frustration he may have had from falling just short of the goal line quickly dissipated, because Grigas is also North Schuylkill's quarterback, and he carried the snap across the goal line on the very next play.
Motsney made the Mohawks pay for another mistake – a lost fumble just 15 yards from the North Schuylkill end zone – with a 70-yard touchdown run.
Very good blocking, Motsney said. We had good blocking all week in practice. The coaches did a tremendous job. We were very well prepared.
Meyers fumbled away the ensuing kickoff – its third turnover of the opening quarter – and Motsney grabbed a pass, spun out of a tackle and charged to the end zone with a 42-0 Spartans lead near the end of the first quarter.
The second didn't get much better for the Mohawks.
In fact, the quarter began with an attempted punt by Meyers – and a snap out of the end zone for a safety. Gowney followed with touchdown runs of 33 and 10 yards, giving the Spartans a 58-0 lead with less than 19 minutes gone in the game.
Our kids made plays, Geist said.
Meyers made a few, too.
Quarterback Teaguen Labatch threw two touchdowns to Matt DeMarco in the final 1:13 of the first half. The first was a 19-yarder, and the second a 33-yard bomb after the Mohawks recovered an onside kick.
We know they're an explosive team, Geist said. We didn't want to let our guard down whatsoever.
Meyers went right down the field to start the second half, as Labatch rifled a 46-yard touchdown bomb to Ty Thomas as the Mohawks closed within 58-19.
But that's as close as they came to rattling the Spartans, who overcame adversity when Geist assumed the interim coaching duties after his brother, Rick Geist, resigned last weekend.
Eastern Conference Class 2A Semifinal
North Schuylkill 65, Meyers 19
NS – Ethan Motsney 85 kick return (run failed), 11:53
NS – Matt Gownley 6 run (Gownley conversion run), 7:49
NS – Gownley 64 fumble recovery (Motsney conversion run), 5:47
NS – Bobby Grigas 1 run (Nick Sanayka kick), 4:39
NS – Motsney 70 run (kick failed), 1:46
NS – Motsney 38 pass from Grigas (Sanayka kick), 1:28
NS – Meyers punt snap out of end zone, 11:57
NS – Gowney 36 run (Sanayka kick), 11:39
NS – Gowney 10 run (Sanayka kick), 5:11
MEY – Matt DeMarco 19 pass from Teaguen Labatch (kick failed), 1:13
MEY – DeMarco 33 pass from Labatch (pass failed), 0:04
MEY – Ty Thomas 46 pass from Labatch (Cal Lisman kick), 6:19
NS – Grigas 5 run (Sanayka kick), 4:18
|Team Statistics||Meyers||N. Schuylkill|
RUSHING – MEY, Parrish Bennett 9-47, Eric Smith 1-19, Matt DeMarco 3-12, Rudy Goodwin 4-12, Michael Edwards 1-10, Al-Rockwon Woodson 2-7, Nate Mahalak 1-1, Teaguen Labatch 3-0, Josh Schiowitz 1- (minus 2), TEAM 1- (minus 25); NS, Matt Gownley 11-115, Ethan Motsney 5-106, Jordan Marlow 1-13, Brock Mickatavage 3-13, Cody Moore 1-11, Matt Smarkanic 3-10, Bobby Grigas 3-5, Tevin Murray 1-2, Jesse Wetzel 2-2, TEAM 4- (minus 4).
PASSING – MEY, Labatch 17-31-1-249; NS, Grigas 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING – MEY, DeMarco 9-116, Jacob Brominski 4-54, Bennett 3-37, Thomas 1-46.
INTS – NS, Grigas.