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Written by: Guy Smith on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022
Around District 11: The Travels of Guy & Pam
Week Thirteen: D11 Teams in Final 8 in all 6 Classes
2022.15. Pam headed to New Orleans to present at a conference and pick up another award for her contributions to her profession. She left Tuesday morning and returned home late Saturday. Guy stayed home to take care of Mom, the cats, and go see some District 11 playoff sports.
Guy decided to head to Hamburg High School to see the state big school field hockey semi final between Emmaus from D11 and Wilson West Lawn. Emmaus field hockey is one of the more amazing stories in high school sports. They recently won their 34th CONSECUTIVE district championship, and 38th overall. They have 37 league championships total, plus 14 state championships. Coach Sue Butz-Stavin, who Guy worked with briefly at Eyer Middle School in 1981, has led the program for 47 seasons, and is the only coach in US high school field hockey history to have 1,000 wins. And with fewer than 100 losses.
Emmaus had a 69 game win streak going into the contest. Guy had only gone to see them once before. That was 69 games ago, when they lost 1-0 to Wilson West Lawn at Hamburg High. Same team, same stadium, same spot in the state championship game on the line. Unfortunately, same result, a one-goal loss. This heartbreaker of an end to Emmaus’ thus far undefeated season came on a goal with just 4.2 seconds left in regulation. Credit to Wilson, they fought back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to shut out Emmaus in the second half and score two. Great game.
Back to football. Guy’s initial Friday choice was his Freedom Patriots playing in the D11 6A championship game. But after seeing that Easton (and the accompanying parking issues) was the game location, he considered the 3A championship game in Lehighton. But in the end he stuck with the Pates. Guy was in attendance at five of the six district championship games this year. Wouldn’t it be cool if District 11 would make it so a person could attend all six?
Guy’s Saturday plan was an NCAA D3 national tournament game. But when one of the D11 high school teams, the Northern Lehigh Bulldogs, had their game set for Saturday afternoon, he decided to continue to ride the D11 wave.
With Pam back home, Sunday’s event for us was slated to be an evening NCLL college lacrosse game as the Saint Joseph University Hawks visited our Kutztown University Golden Bears. It was cancelled Sunday afternoon when the visitors decided not to show up.
D11 TEAMS ADVANCE IN ALL SIX CLASSIFICATIONS. In a surprisingly strong showing, our teams at all levels have advanced to the state quarterfinals final-eight and will be playing in Week 14. Of course the two district championship games had both teams from D11, so one of them would have to advance. But we did not think all four of our other district champs would advance. We felt confident about Northern Lehigh and Whitehall, but not as much for Allentown Central Catholic and Executive Education Academy as they both faced unbeaten teams. But all four picked up ‘W’s to keep their respective seasons alive. Of course that doesn’t mean they might not all lose next week. It only gets tougher to advance. Still, a great showing by District 11.
GAME 46. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2022. DISTRICT 11 6A CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. PARKLAND TROJANS VS. BETHLEHEM FREEDOM PATRIOTS @ EASTON HIGH SCHOOL. Traveling solo and due to the lack of parking around Cottingham Stadium in Easton, Guy left way early for the game and got the best parking spot we’ve ever had for our many trips there.
On the line was the big school district championship and a trip to the state quarter finals. Freedom had started 1-2 with losses to Emmaus and Parkland, but was on a hot streak of nine straight wins including avenging one of their earlier two losses, to Emmaus. However, they were still only the number four seed in the bracket. They were looking for a second straight district title and a shot at a rematch against Saint Joe Prep, who barely eliminated the Pates by three points last season.
Parkland had four losses. Because of that, they were the sixth seed. Freedom took care of number five and number one. But for Parkland to win the district title, they would have to beat higher seeded teams for three straight weeks. Damned if they didn’t do just that! They knocked off #3 Nazareth, #2 Northampton, and finished off the championship run by defeating #4 Freedom to earn gold.
With the complete makeover, Cottingham is a beautiful facility located right in the heart of a residential section of Easton. They had a great lineup of food trucks including Dale’s French Fries, Pam’s beloved Take-A-Taco, and You Got Porked BBQ. Of course food truck food isn’t cheap, and the food prices are higher than we have ever seen at a high school sporting event. When we went to Cottingham earlier this year, we mentioned the $14 fries. Guy mentioned that price to the Williams Fries people at Tri-Valley, and they would not believe him. Guy saw his first $20 food item at high school football. On Wednesday at the field hockey game at Hamburg High, Guy bought a hot chocolate for a buck. At Cottingham they were four bucks. Great food choices, but definitely not at typical high school football prices. Besides the food trucks, there are also two regular refreshment stands.
Freedom had avenged one of their two early season losses the week before by downing Emmaus. They would try to avenge their other one against Parkland. Guy thought Freedom had the edge here, as the loss was in week three and Freedom was much improved since then. However, he failed to take into consideration that the same would be true for Parkland. They were also much improved since then. Were they ever!
Parkland was awesome. They dominated this game, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions. During that time, Freedom could only muster a lone field goal. When the snow squall hit at halftime, the Pates were already four scores down. It was already over for all intents and purposes. MVP for the game should go to the offensive line of Parkland, who moved the line forward again and again. And then again. And while we’re at it, runner up should be the defensive line of Parkland.
So it’s Parkland that gets to try their luck with Saint Joe Prep. Best of luck to them.
GAME 46. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2022. 1A STATE PLAYOFF. NORTHERN LEHIGH BULLDOGS VS. LACKAWANNA TRAIL LIONS @ DUNMORE HIGH SCHOOL. Slatington was the only D11 team playing Saturday and although Guy thought this should be a relatively safe one for the Bulldogs, he picked this over the two NCAA D3 football playoff games also under consideration.
Northern Lehigh entered the game with an 11-1 record; their only loss when they were shutout by North Schuylkill, a team that made it to the district championship game two classifications higher. Meanwhile during the season, Lackawanna Trail had a streak of four consecutive losses, to Honesdale, Dunmore, Old Forge, and Riverside.
The game was at Dunmore, a school we had driven by a number of times to see baseball at nearby Marywood, but had never actually been to for an event. There was plenty of parking at this one.
The stadium has a lot of seats, and thankfully, the D11 team was the away team as that was the sunny side. It was quite cold. Thankful there were no nearby night games for the double. There was only one refreshment stand, run out of a garage and with a limited menu. Most of the food was sold out by halftime.
Northern Lehigh was the clear favorite but only led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. When the Lions had a breakaway touchdown in Q2, it was 14-7. After that it was all Bulldogs, as they cruised to a convincing 40-7 lead, eventually calling off “the Dogs.” Lackawanna was heavily run oriented, and not the kind of team built to come back from several scores down.
When a student section chants: “We can’t hear you!” across the field it has the nice feel of school spirit and good-natured rivalry. When grown adult men are doing it, it’s more sad, unsportsmanlike and almost pathetic.
The Bulldogs advance to face the top ranked team in the state, the Steamrollers of Steelton-Highspire, also a 12-1 team. Their lone loss was to undefeated 2A Westinghouse. The Rollers have put over 70 on the board twice this season, and over 60 in their first playoff game. This will be quite a challenge for the Bulldogs.
We have three football games on the schedule, although no Thanksgiving Day games this year as we chose to spend the actual holiday with our 95-year old parents, rather than celebrate on a different day. There is also a pair of college basketball games and an auto race in New Jersey in the plan. Wednesday: We were going to go to the Schuylkill County All Star Game at Schuylkill Haven for the second year in a row, but the lone Wednesday game on the PA Football News schedule page caught our eye. So we are headed south to see the Marple Newtown Tigers vs. the Penncrest Lions, both 5A teams out of the District 1. Looking forward to seeing different teams and stadium.
District 11 was playing in all six classifications, although only one of the six was granted a local game. Automatically eliminating the two games in Philadelphia from consideration, we have two choices for Friday and two for Saturday. As of now, we are leaning towards Allentown Central Catholic on Friday. Both ACC and Executive Education play about two hours from us, but the ACC game is almost a straight shot across Route 80, while the Raptors game would mean contending with Harrisburg Friday rush hour traffic.
Saturday’s choices are Parkland 45 minutes from home, or Northern Lehigh two hours away. Guy actually voted for Delaware Valley College but Pam played a “Veto Card” on that one. Guy could have overrode the “Veto Card” with a higher ranked “Blessing Card,” but chose to hold onto his “Blessings” for now. All part of the fun we have, even in deciding on a schedule. Both Saturday D11 teams are playing teams ranked number one in the state in their classification. Been to a million games at BASD, so leaning towards a trip to Steelton-Highspire.
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D11 TEAMS STILL PLAYING (9)
Parkland, Whitehall, Allentown Central Catholic, Northwestern Lehigh, Executive Education Academy, Northern Lehigh, Easton (Thanksgiving Day), Northampton (Thanksgiving Day), and Catasauqua (Thanksgiving Day).
UNDEFEATED IN PENNSYLVANIA (9)
Going in to Week 13, there were 15 undefeated teams left in the state. Six of those teams lost, meaning there are nine remaining. They are: Garnett Valley (6A), State College (6A), Upper Dublin (5A), Exeter Township (5A), Aliquippa (4A), Wyomissing (3A), Danville (3A), Westinghouse (2A), Steel Valley (2A). There are no unbeaten teams left in the state in 1A, or in District 11 at any classification..
GUY & PAM’S 2022 FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD (2021-2023)
CURRENT OVERALL TOTAL: 65 OF 85
PIAA District 11
–Varsity or JV Home Game in 2021/2022 with Varsity All-Time (47 of 47)
–Active Alternative JV Game Sites (4 of 7)
–Special Events/Related Stadiums (1 of 2)
–Outside Teams that Played in D11 as Sub Regional Teams (0 of 6)
–All Star Games with D11 Players Participating (6 of 6)
–D2 PSAC 16 Schools + One Related School (6 of 17)
Varsity or JV Home Game in 2021/2022 with Varsity All-Time (47 of 47)
Active Alternative JV Game Sites (4 of 7)
Special Event or Related Stadiums (1 of 2)
Teams that Played in D11 as Sub Regional Teams (0 of 6)
All Star Games with D11 Players Participating (6 of 6)
–NCAA D2 PSAC 16 Schools + One Related School (7 of 17)
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