Around District 11 we go: The Travels of Guy and Pam- PSFCA East/West All-Star Game Edition
Tagged under: All-Stars, Gameday Hub, News
Billy Splain | May 24, 2023
Around District 11: The Travels of Guy & Pam
PSFCA East vs. West
After one NFL game in 2023, and two games (so far) for the spring GEFA 8-man league, Guy & Pam were back to our first football love, high school football. The Sunday double header featured the PSFCA East vs. West All Star Games for both small and big schools. For the second year in a row, the games were played at Rocco Ortenzio Field on the beautiful campus of Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg.
One big change this year was that the games were played on the Sunday before Memorial Day Weekend. Last year the games were played on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. The change was made to accommodate the Big 33 game, which was moved from Memorial Day Monday afternoon to the previous evening this year, necessitating the move of the East/West games from that day.
East vs. West began at Mansion Park in Altoona in 2001 as a sister game to Big 33. Since then, it has been played in five different locations, with of course no game in 2020 due to the pandemic. Last year was the first year there were two games, one for small schools and one for the big schools.
The pair of Sunday games concluded a four-sport weekend for us, having been to minor league baseball on Wednesday (Lancaster Barnstormers); short track auto racing Friday (USAC East Coast Sprint Cars at Clinton County Speedway); minor league soccer Saturday (USL2 Philadelphia Lone Star); and football on Sunday. Don’t tell our friends in the other sports, but Sunday was the best day.
Our first order of business upon arrival was to head to the Schnader’s French Fry truck to score the first entry onto the “2023 High School Football Fresh Cut Fry Honor Roll.” You can’t go wrong with Schnader’s Taters. Schnader’s Concessions has locations in Lancaster, Hershey, Lebanon, Harrisburg, York, and Mechanicsburg.
The 12:00 noon game was for the small schools. Our District 11 was very well represented by the following:
Mahoney Area Golden Bears: Paul Babinsky (Assistant Coach)
Minersville Battlin’ Miners: Brock Polinsky
Northern Lehigh Bulldogs: Nick Frame, Izaiah Ramos, Eathan Karpowich, Austin Smyth, Jayden Krempasky
Northwestern Lehigh Tigers: Cade Christopher
Palmerton Blue Bombers: Daniel Lucykanish
Salisbury Falcons: Andy Cerco (Assistant Coach)
Tri-Valley Bulldogs: Reece Huntzinger, Jacob Scheib, Justin Troutman
Williams Valley Vikings: Brady Evans, Eziriah Hite
The opener was a fantastic game. Last year the West won handily, 49-14. This year the East looked like they had the edge and maintained a lead throughout. But the West hung tough and found themselves one yard from the end zone with eight seconds to go. They were stopped inches (if that!) short as time expired, and the East held on for a 41-34 victory.
The Northern Lehigh contingent excelled, with Nick Frame scoring two rushing touchdowns and passing for a third. Izaiah Ramos scored a TD on his only pass catch of the game. And Ethan Karpowich had an interception near the end of the first half. A case could certainly have been made for Frame as MVP for the East, but you certainly couldn’t make a case against JayJay Jordan from Berks Catholic.
With a couple of hours to kill between games, we headed to the Red Crab for some seafood.
If there were one item we wished could be improved, it would be the parking. For the first game, we had a very long walk to the gate, despite the crowd not being that large. For the second game, our wish was granted! For this game we were directed to the grass just behind the home side stands, probably about 90% closer to the gate!
For the big school game, Guy had more of a vested interest, as a pair of Freedom Patriots were on the East squad. Guy taught for almost 30 years at Freedom, thus maintains a loyalty to the Pates. In addition, Matt Senneca was one of the assistant coaches for the East. Matt briefly taught at FHS in the same department with Guy, although Guy spent a much longer time at the school as a colleague of Matt’s dad Sam.
District 11 on the East roster for the big school game:
Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks: Izzy Ramos-Dobbins
Easton Red Rovers: Sean Wilson
Emmaus Hornets: Jake Fotta
Freedom Patriots: Alexie Sangster, Jalen Fletcher
Liberty Hurricanes: Shawn Daignault (assistant coach)
Parkland Trojans: Nakhi Bullock, Gryffin Mitstifer
Whitehall Zephyrs/Easton Red Rovers: Matt Senneca (assistant coach)
The West looked to be the team to beat and took a 10-3 lead at halftime. A grind it out time consuming West drive to start the second half ate nearly ten minutes of clock and gave them a 17-3 lead at the end of three. But the East didn’t quit and scored a pair of Q4 TDs and had the ball first and goal with a couple minutes left going for the tie. Like the West in the first game, the East fell short but with the final a one-score 24-16 West win, we got a pair of really entertaining games.
District 11 players played well. Jake Fotta of Emmaus tossed a TD pass; and Nakhi Bullock of Parkland averaged 21.5 per catch on two catches. Gryffin Mitstifer of Parkland hit a long field goal and also punted. And Alexie Sangster of Freedom was in on a lot of tackles.
Last year, the first with two games, the regions split with the West winning the small school game and the East winning the big school game. This year it was the same but the opposite, still a split, but East winning small school and West winning big school
We had the nicest day sitting in the stands enjoying high school football. While giving props to District 11 players and coaches, we can’t forget the D11 personnel who serve as officers and directors for the PSFCA, the group who makes it all possible. Those include Mike Farr from Schuylkill Haven, Wally Hall of North Schuylkill, Rob Melosky of Pocono Mountain (another that Guy taught with at Freedom), Joe Henrich of Bethlehem Catholic, and Joe Tout of Northern Lehigh.
Also have to thank Titan Threadz for stepping up as the primary sponsor and helping to make it a memorable for the players, as well as Bishop McDevitt High School for being a great choice as game host. On to Big 33.
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