Oct. 29—The opening round of the District 11 playoffs will have a familiar feel to them for several Schuylkill League teams that earned postseason berths.
District 11 officials unveiled the final brackets for their football postseason tournament Sunday, with games spread across three days the first weekend.
The Class 3A quarterfinals will be Thursday night; the Class A semifinals, 4A semifinals, 5A semifinals and 6A quarterfinals will be Friday night; and the Class AA semifinals are set for Saturday night. Tickets for all District 11 football playoffs cost $7 (plus applicable fees) and will only be sold online at www.districtxi.com. There will be no cash sales at the gate. Senior citizens (age 65 and older) are admitted free.
All total, 15 of our area's 20 football teams qualified for the postseason. Eleven local teams qualified for the District 11 playoffs, while Mount Carmel earned the No. 3 seed in District 4 Class AA and Mahanoy Area, Hamburg and Shamokin received berths in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In District 11, rematches headline the opening round.
The Class A semifinals are rematches of games played over the past two weeks as No. 4 Nativity (5-5) visits No. 1 Minersville (8-2) and No. 3 Tri-Valley (5-5) treks to No. 2 Marian (6-4). Both games are slated for 7 p.m. Friday.
Minersville defeated Nativity 42-12 in Friday's annual "Battle in the Backyard" rivalry game in Minersville. Tri-Valley edged Marian 16-6 in their Schuylkill/Colonial Blue Division game Oct. 20 in Hegins.
Schuylkill Haven (8-2) is the top seed in Class AA and will host No. 4 Executive Education (4-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Rotary Field. Williams Valley (8-2) is the second seed and will entertain No. 3 Catasauqua (6-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Gerry Stauffenberg Field at Viking Stadium in Williamstown.
In Class 3A, four area teams qualified, with No. 6 Tamaqua (5-5) visiting No. 3 North Schuylkill (8-2), No. 8 Lehighton (2-8) taking on No. 1 Northwestern Lehigh (10-0) and No. 7 Jim Thorpe (4-6) visiting No. 2 Palmerton (10-0) in Thursday night games.
All three of those games are rematches of games from earlier this season. North Schuylkill outlasted Tamaqua 38-15 on Sept. 14, Lehighton lost 49-0 to Northwestern Lehigh on Sept. 22, and Jim Thorpe fell to Palmerton 41-31 on Sept. 15.
No. 5 Saucon Valley (5-5) faces No. 4 Notre Dame-Green Pond (7-3) in the other Class 3A quarterfinal.
Blue Mountain (8-2) earned the No. 2 seed in the four-team Class 4A bracket will host No. 3 Bethlehem Catholic (5-5) at 7 p.m. Friday at the Eagles' Nest. No. 4 Bangor (6-4) takes on No. 1 Allentown Central Catholic (8-2) in the other Class 4A semifinal.
It marks the fifth time in six years that Blue Mountain will face Bethlehem Catholic in the Class 4A playoffs. The Golden Hawks have won the previous four — 45-13 in 2018, 24-6 in 2019, 17-0 in 2020 and 41-16 last year.
The matchup also marks the first time that Blue Mountain will play a District 11 football playoff game at home since beating Lehighton for the District 11 Class 3A title in 2002.
In the Eastern Conference playoffs, Mahanoy Area will trek to Pen Argyl for the Class A/AA championship at 3 p.m. Saturday. Hamburg will host Berks Catholic in the Class 3A title game at 7 p.m. Friday, while Shamokin will host Fleetwood in the Class 4A championship game at 7 p.m. Friday.
In District 4, Mount Carmel (8-2) hosts No. 6 Wyalusing (6-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday in a Class AA quarterfinal. The other Class AA quarterfinals have No. 8 Hughesville (3-7) at No. 10 Troy (10-0), No. 7 North Penn/Mansfield (4-6) at No. 2 Southern Columbia (9-1) and No. 5 Towanda (6-4) at No. 4 Line Mountain (8-2).
Contact the writer: Lboyer@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6026; @pubsportsboss on Twitter