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Kids edge Zephs as playoffs are up next

Whitehall and Northampton met at Zephyr Stadium last Friday for the latest edition of the Cement Bowl. High winds and rain assured that there would not be a repeat of last year’s 36-35 barnburner won by the Zephyrs on a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion. But while the foul weather kept fan attendance to a minimum, it did not dampen the players’ energy and enthusiasm.

The K-Kids won a 7-0 slugfest to complete a perfect 10-0 regular season, the best in school history. For Whitehall it was its sixth-straight loss following a 3-0 start.

The lone touchdown was a Caden Henritzy 1-yard plunge early in the second quarter.

With the abysmal conditions, both teams relied heavily on their running games. Neither team completed a pass in the first half.

In fact, Northampton was 0 for 3 passing for the game, but they were by far the more effective team running the ball. Henritzy toted the rock 32 times for a total of 123 yards. Fullback Carson Czarnecki had 8 carries for 70 yards. Everett Luisi went for 51 yards on 12 carries.

Northampton head coach summed up the performance.

“The conditions were obviously awful,” John Toman said. “We took care of the football (neither team fumbled) and we did just enough to win. Hats off to the defensive staff and what they did. I don’t know if any of East Penn Conference South team held Whitehall to that few yards.”

The K-Kids had a 15-5 advantage in first downs, led 252 to 137 in yards gained, and had almost twice the time of possession.

Although passing was difficult, it did set up the Zephyrs’ best scoring chance. Back-to-back completions on their first drive of the second half, including a 48-yarder to Ryan Kovalchick, earned them a first down at Northampton’s 14-yard line. However, a third consecutive pass wound up in the hands of the Kids’ Victor Hunt, who recorded his sixth interception of the season.

For the game, Trey Dogmantis was 6 of 13 for 60 yards. Damonte Foreman picked up 79 yards on the ground on his 20 carries.

The transition of the Cement Belt Trophy did not go smoothly. A couple of Northampton players pushed their postseason celebration too far and danced on the Zephyrs’ midfield logo. That drew the umbrage of the Whitehall players who rushed onto the field, leading to some tense moments before control was reestablished. The teams were hustled off into their respective locker rooms leaving the trophy alone on the turf, glistening in the rain and lights, temporarily unpresented.

Both teams will have the opportunity to channel their energies to more productive pursuits when they host district playoff games on Friday.

Northampton is the second seed in 6A and will play Pleasant Valley in the quarterfinals. The K-Kids beat the Bears 35-12 four weeks ago at PV.

In defense of their 5A title, Whitehall is the second seed and plays Southern Lehigh in the semifinals. The Spartans started the season 0-6, but have won their last four games to claim the three seed.

Tickets are $7 and must be purchased through the District XI website, districtxi.com. Spectators 65 and older are admitted free with proof of age.

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Damonte Foreman and the Zephs lost a close, 7-0 game to the Kids.