By Ric Webb
Recent history tells us that the Schuylkill Valley High School football team is pretty much a .500 team. Most seasons they have hovered around that mark, with the exception of a couple of losing seasons in the last eight years.
But last year the Panthers won eight games, while this year they won seven. Both seasons saw them qualify for the District 3-AA playoffs before being eliminated by Wyomissing each year. Last year, the Panthers earned their first district victory in school history.
After last year's success, this was a season to back it up. The team wanted to prove to the rest of the league that the 2012-13 season was not a fluke. They wanted everybody to know that this team was going to be a consistent contender for a Section 2 title.
They came out strong, winning their first four games, including a 46-0 victory over Kutztown in the Berks League opener.
But that was followed by a three-game losing streak and a three-game winning streak (including a non-league win over Donegal) which meant that although they were 7-4 overall this season, they were at the .500 mark (3-3) in league play, tied for fourth place in Section 2.
“ We had a good season, but the players and coaches think that we should still be playing,” said Head Coach Jeff Chillot.
It was a tough way to end the season for the Panthers. They hosted the opening round of the District 3-AA playoffs with a game against Wyomissing, a team, they had defeated just two weeks earlier.
It looked like they were going to defeat the Spartans again, but two late touchdowns gave Wyomissing a 41-35 victory. After scoring a touchdown and missing the two-point conversion that would have tied the game, the Spartans executed a successful onsides kick. Then scored the eventual winning touchdown with 1:23 remaining in the fourth quarters.
Coach Chillot emphatically remarked that his team was not overconfident going into the game, knowing that they defeated the Spartans two weeks earlier.
“Absolutely 100 percent not,” he said. “They are the defending state champions. We knew we had to play our best game. It was a real tough game that came down to the last two or three minutes. Our biggest problem was that I didn't do a good enough coaching and we didn't make the plays on the field that we needed to make.”
Despite the loss, it was still a good season. They were 7-4 and outscored their opponents over the entire season, 313-212.
They were led offensively by senior Nick Scheidt who rushed for 1,618 yards this season on 255 attempts (6.35 yards per carry) and scored 22 rushing touchdowns. His 1,618 yards rushing led the league, nine yards ahead of second place Ben Ortiz of Muhlenberg. He was also second the team in receiving yards with 150 on seven catches.
Senior quarterback Tanner White threw for 1,149 yards (81-for-164) with 11 TDs and six interceptions. He sported a passer rating of 123.06, ninth in the league.
They will lose both players to graduation next year, but they will still have a good nucleus to continue winning.
“We go into every season expecting to compete for the section and district titles,” said Chillot. For he and his coaches, .500 season are no longer good enough. They expect that the last two seasons are just the beginning of a winning tradition at Schuylkill Valley.