Boiling Springs’ football team wore its all-gold uniforms Friday night, and by the end of Friday’s District 3 Class 3A semifinal against Hamburg, they had earned the right to play for gold. The Bubblers proved their mettle in the second half as they rolled to a 35-7 victory over the Hawks.
Boiling Springs (11-1) advances to the championship game against either top-seeded Wyomissing or Middletown, who are scheduled to play the other semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at Wyomissing. If Wyomissing wins, the Bubblers will play there at 1 p.m. next Saturday. If Middletown springs the upset, the Bubblers will host the game a 7 p.m. next Friday.
“We don’t care who we play,” Boiling Springs coach Brad Zell said. “We are playing for gold.”
After a scoreless first quarter that saw both teams possess the ball twice. No. 3-seeded Hamburg (7-3) scored first on a 41-yard scamper by Diohnny Ruiz early in the second quarter, capping an eight-play drive that covered 72 yards. Ruiz finished the night with 126 yards.
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Boiling Springs scored on a three-play drive that covered 28 yards after a short Hamburg punt. Joey Menke scampered 23 yards on first down, and Aidan Metzger blasted in two plays later for the equalizer just prior to the halftime horn.
The Bubblers received the second half kickoff and embarked on a five-play drive. The final 38 yards was a Colin Lunde pass to Menke in the right flat. Menke juked one tackle and was off to the races. He also rushed for 135 yards in the contest.
Metzger intercepted a fourth-down pass on the next possession and capped a 40-yard scoring drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to put the Bubblers up 21-7.
Xander Menapace, who completed 11 of 18 passes with two interceptions, spent most of the night on the run thanks to pressure from Boiling Springs’ Jaden Barrick, Trey McCardle and Metzger. Ruiz found little space outside, as Carson Garvey, Eli Thompson and Logan Gelbaugh stayed in contain and forced him back inside.
“We played a pretty even first half. We talked about winning the first two series, one of defense and one of offense, but it got away from us,” said Hawks coach Jeff Chillot. “Diohnny runs hard and has been a finisher all year for us. We are not a drop-back passing team, but when we got behind, we had to, and we had some issues giving Xander time, even though we thought we had people open, but it didn’t work out.”
His fourth-down attempt on the next possession was also intercepted, as Jack Laing snatched it and returned it 30 yards.
The Bubbler offensive line and the Bubbler defense stymied the Hawks in the second half. Hamburg had 104 yards of total offense in the second half, with Ruiz accounting for 54 of them.
Menke scored the fourth Bubbler touchdown, as he found space on the left end for 37 yards, and Metzger blasted in again from 12 yards in the final minutes.
“The offensive line has been phenomenal this year,” Metzger said. “When I see that hole they make, I just have to pray to God that nobody gets me from behind. We felt we could wear them down in the second half. At the half, we just talked about holding our blocks one more second and giving a bit more effort and try a bit harder. Our linemen know that our running backs are good, and if they hold that block to get one guy out of there, we can break anything.”
“It wasn’t a good half,” Zell said. “I didn’t say anything. Coach (Gregg) Williams said a few things about holding their blocks, and the kids took over. We got Boiling Springs football the second half.”