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December 9-11 2021 Scoreboard
 
 

Around District 11 We Go: The Travels of Guy & Pam Quest: D11 (Week 12)

Written by: on Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

 

Around District 11 We Go: The Travels of Guy & Pam

Quest: D11 (Week 12)

The Quest to see as many of the District 11 schools play home or at a neutral post-season site reached its penultimate game this weekend with teams #39 (Parkland) and #40 (North Schuylkill). When the season began in August, we never would have dreamed that forty different teams could be possible in just one season.

Top-seeded Tri-Valley’s loss in the 1A championship ended their season and also our plans to make them #41 next week. They became the sixth school to finish the season before we could see them. We had a chance to see Tri-Valley the very first Saturday night of the season but passed. Only one school remains on the table, and that’s the Easton Red Rovers, who will become the 41st and final on Thanksgiving morning at Lafayette College.

The original plan for Friday did have us heading to the Tri-Valley game, with Parkland being saved for next weekend. But we switched gears because Parkland was still at their home field and Tri-Valley was at a neutral field. In the end, the choice was moot, as the top seed Parkland Trojans also lost and did not advance to Week 13. The Tri-Valley loss cost us a team, but in the end I wasn’t too disappointed as now I can go see whether or not my Freedom Pates can rise from a 2-2 start to snag the D11 6A championship next Friday.

Saturday served up a “Same-Seat Double.” Our original thought was to head to Kutztown University for the PSAC State Championship game. But when we saw that the 2A title tilt between Northern Lehigh and Palmerton was a noon kickoff in Lehighton and the North Schuylkill vs. Jim Thorpe was a 6:00 start at the same location that seemed our best option. A few years ago, we topped the same seat double with the “Elizabeth Avenue Triple” in Bethlehem. Moravian College had a noon start at their field, and across the street Bethlehem Catholic had a mid-afternoon game at BASD, followed by Freedom at home in the evening. For those that have never been to the BASD stadium, if you sit in the top row on the home side you can look over the back of the stands and see the Moravian field. On several occasions, we have followed simultaneous games on each field.

Heading into Week 13 next weekend, there are still ten District 11 teams playing. We have seven in the PIAA playoff hunt, one from each classification save two from 6A. Plus Catasauqua, Northampton, and Easton have Thanksgiving morning games. Easton is the only one of the ten we have not seen play yet. After decades of loyalty to the Catty vs. Northampton game, and spending last year watching Pennridge vs. Quakertown live on YouTube, we are very much looking forward to finally seeing the Easton vs. P-Burg game in person.

Tally after Week 12:

–40 Different schools for Home Games (29 Varsity Home, 1 Varsity Post-Season Neutral, 10 JV)

–1 School Still in Play for Neutral Field Game (Easton)

–6 Schools Finished for Season, Eliminated From This Year’s Quest (Palisades, Pocono Mountain East, Pottsville, Schuylkill Haven, Tri-Valley, William Allen). Note: We did see three of the six play as away teams.

–2 Missed opportunities, both in Week 1 before we really got serious about The Quest.

–Out of 47 District 11 teams with football.

39) FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12. PARKLAND TROJANS, 6A SEMI-FINAL. Expecting a large crowd and not sure of the refreshment stand setup, we stopped at a diner in Schnecksville just up the road from the stadium. We did get some first-half popcorn, the overall best we have had in D11 this year, and some second-half soft pretzel rivets with cinnamon butter dipping sauce. Once again, the D11 ticket had the address of the high school, and not the Orefield Middle School (the former high school) which is where the stadium is located. C’mon, if you are going to put an address on the tickets, at least take time to use the correct address of the game site.

We had seen Emmaus beat my Freedom Pates in Week 2, but had not seen Parkland play yet this year. Parkland scored on their very first play from scrimmage, and it looked like this one might be a rout. But although the Emmaus offense remained dormant for the entire first half, the defense stiffened and didn’t give up another first-half point.

In the second half, the Emmaus offense awoke and they ripped off three straight touchdowns, while Parkland developed butterfingers and lost a number of fumbles. You could just see the confidence building in the Hornets offense every time they had the ball. Emmaus hiccupped with an ill-advised long pass that was intercepted near the goal line when their run game was getting the job done just fine, and Parkland answered with a long TD pass and run to cut it to one score. But the only time Parkland had the ball with a chance to tie they went three and out with three straight incompletions. With five minutes left, we sure thought they would get another chance but the Hornets smelled victory and could not be denied. The Hornet hard running was impressive, and they never gave the Trojan offense another chance to get back on the field.

So the Week 2 rematch is set for next Friday at Whitehall, Emmaus vs. Freedom for the D11 6A title. Although Emmaus won the Week 2 meeting, it was at their home field, by only one score, and the Pates have now won eight straight. It’s going to be a war out there folks. I can’t wait.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 (AFTERNOON). PALMERTON BLUE BOMBERS VS. NORTHERN LEHIGH BULLDOGS, 2A CHAMPIONSHIP. The first game of the “Same-Seat Double” was played, at least for the first three quarters, in miserable conditions. Rain with temps in the low 40s turned to rain with temps in the high 30s.

Before this season, Lehighton had set the standard for us in terms of high school football refreshment stands. This year we visited most of the Schuylkill County stadiums for the first time and the bar was significantly raised. Can’t say Lehighton retains the overall title, but they certainly grabbed the “Weekly Special” crown with their Thanksgiving Dinner Bowl. For six bucks, they offered a full turkey, filling, gravy, and cranberry sauce dinner. Pork chop on a stick at Shendo drops to second place. We had to try it, even though it was pouring and we did not have umbrellas. The experience of the rain splashing into the gravy is one of those “remember when” memories Pam and I will bring up from time to time for years to come.

There is certainly a disparity among District 11 schools. In Week 9, we were in Catasauqua as the Rough Riders “Mercy Ruled” the Schuylkill Haven Hurricanes. In Week 11, we were in Palmerton for the district semi-final when the Blue Bombers “Mercy Ruled” the Rough Riders. On this day, it was the Northern Lehigh Bulldogs that “Mercy Ruled” the Blue Bombers.

Just as the public address announcer had set an untoward tone for the fans the week before at Williams Valley, the Northern Lehigh coach berating one official after another (including the one straddling the goal line while the coach was 25 yards up field and on an angle) following the first Palmerton touchdown did the same today. This led to an ugly scene where a number of Northern Lehigh fans were screaming at an official for calling a penalty while a Palmerton player, who eventually had to be put on a backboard and a stretcher and taken in the ambulance, lay supine on the field. I felt the need to call my 94-year-old mother on the way home and thank her for not raising me like that. Do better, Slatington.

Early in the season, we had been to Northern Lehigh for their Thursday night one-point loss against Northwestern Lehigh in what I rank as the 2nd best game we saw all year. We knew just how good they were and that they had defeated Palmerton handily just a couple weeks ago. But we thought the steady rain would keep the scoring low and the game closer. Not the case. The Bulldogs put up 64 and Palmerton added another 34. Who would have predicted 98 points in the rain? And one kid ran for 325! Playing on a turf field as opposed to grass (mud) certainly makes a difference. We can’t recall ever seeing a team that ended up winning by running clock whose supporters seemed angrier. Chalk it up to the weather, I suppose (hope).

The Bulldogs seem to have the talent to advance deeper into the state playoffs. I was hoping they would play on Saturday again next week so I could see them again, but it appears everyone is Friday and I’m committed to Freedom. Perhaps in two weeks!

40) SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 (EVENING. NORTH SCHUYLKILL SPARTANS, 3A CHAMPIONSHIP. Soaking wet and shivering after the first game, although the sun came out for part of the fourth quarter, we decided to head home between games. A half hour in the hot tub to warm up our chilled bones, a change to dry clothes, and a few minutes to feed the cats, and we headed back to Lehighton for the 2nd game of the “Same Seats Double.”

North Schuylkill was a team we had been looking forward to seeing all season, but since they were so good, we kept saving them for the playoffs when they might have a closer game. Jim Thorpe entered the championship game with four losses, including a three-score loss at North Schuylkill earlier in the season. But they were riding a four-game winning streak including the upset of Notre Dame-Green Pond that got them to the championship final.

North Schuylkill got a forfeit win the week before and the extra week off seemed to pay off for them, as they looked super-sharp in all aspects of the game, jumping out to a 40-0 lead before halftime.

The refreshment stand had run out of turkey by the time I returned at halftime during dry conditions, but the hamburger barbeque was also tasty. I had the hamburger barbeque earlier in the season when we ended up in Lehighton for a varsity soccer game by accident.

I met and chatted with the mother of the North Schuylkill defensive coordinator who had a great human-interest story to tell. The cowbell she rang after each Spartan score was over 100 years old and from an actual cow on her grandfather’s farm from when she was a young girl. She gave me the honor of ringing the bell when the team returned to the field for the second half.

On Sunday, with no high school or college football games to attend, we contemplated dropping down two levels and going to see the New York Jets. But in the end we settled on Bloomsburg University (Guy a 1986 grad and Pam a professor there) Huskies ice hockey, home against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders. It was our first indoor sporting event since before the pandemic.

Having seen all the District 11 teams still in the playoffs, I’d have to say that North Schuylkill looks the best, along with Northern Lehigh, the two teams we saw on Saturday. We sure hope to have another chance to see both of them deeper into the state playoffs. Sadly, all six games next weekend involving the District 11 teams are on Friday, so one will be the maximum. On Saturday with Kutztown University (Guy graduated from there in 1982 when it was still Kutztown State College, Pam in 1985 when it was Kutztown University) getting a bye in the NCAA Division 2 National Playoffs, the choice will likely be NCAA Division 3 Playoffs, either Muhlenburg (I’m an Allentown boy), or Delaware Valley. Pam will be in D.C. at a convention Tuesday-Saturday getting a national award for her work in communication disorders. No football for you, Pammy!

SEASON SUMMARY (40 DIFFERENT D11 SCHOOLS/TEAMS)

Week 1

1a) Friday—Salisbury Township Falcons (3A). Note: First half—game suspended due to lightning
2) Saturday (Noon)–Allentown Central Catholic Vikings (4A). Note: Conclusion of final three quarters of game suspended by lightning
–) Saturday (Noon)—Dieruff Huskies (6A). On their home field but the away team)
3) Saturday (Afternoon)—Wilson Area Warriors (4A)
1b) Saturday (Evening)—Salisbury Township Falcons (3A). Note: Returned for second half of game suspended by lightning
4) Monday—Northwestern Lehigh Tigers JV (4A)

Week 2

5) Thursday—Northern Lehigh Bulldogs (2A)
6) Friday—Emmaus Hornets (6A)
7) Saturday (Morning)—Northampton Area Konkrete Kids JV (6A)
8) Saturday (Afternoon)—Pen Argyl Green Knights. (2A)
9) Saturday (Evening)—Pleasant Valley Bears (6A)

Week 3
10) Tuesday—East Stroudsburg South Cavaliers JV (5A).
11) Friday—Nativity BVM Green Wave (1A)
12) Saturday—Saucon Valley Panthers JV (4A)
13) Sunday—Shenandoah Valley Blue Devils (2A)
14) Monday—Tamaqua Blue Raiders (3A). Note: Game suspended at halftime but called complete

Week 4
15) Tuesday—Bangor Slaters JV (4A)
16) Friday—Panther Valley Panthers (2A)
17) Saturday (Afternoon)—Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks (4A)
18) Saturday (Evening)—Pine Grove Cardinals (3A)
19) Monday—Stroudsburg Mountaineers JV (6A)

Week 5

20) Friday—Mahanoy Area Golden Bears (A)
21) Monday—Notre Dame-Green Pond Crusaders (3A)

Week 6

22) Thursday—Blue Mountain Eagles (4A)
23) Friday—Pocono Mountain West Panthers (5A)
24) Saturday—Bethlehem Liberty Hurricanes (6A)
25) Monday—Nazareth Blue Eagles JV (6A)

Week 7

26) Friday—Minersville Battlin Miners (2A)
27) Saturday (Morning)—Jim Thorpe Olympians JV (3A)
28) Saturday (Evening)—Executive Education Raptors (2A)
29) Monday—Southern Lehigh Spartans JV (5A)

Week 8

30) Friday—Marian Catholic Colts (1A)
31) Monday—Whitehall Zephyrs JV (5A)

Week 9

32) Friday—Catasauqua Rough Riders (2A)
–) Saturday—Freedom Patriots (6A) (on home field but away team)
33) Monday—Lehighton Indians (4A)

Week 10

U) Thursday—Stroudsburg Mounties (6A) (varsity game this time)
34) Friday—East Stroudsburg North Timberwolves (4A)
35) Saturday (Afternoon)—Dieruff Huskies (6A)
–) Saturday (Evening)—Notre Dame Green Pond Crusaders (3A)
36) Monday—Freedom Patriots JV (6A)

Week 11

U) Thursday—Bangor Slaters (Eastern Conference 4A Championship)
37) Friday—Williams Valley Vikings (1A Semi-Final)
38) Saturday—Palmerton Blue Bombers (2A Semi-Final)

Week 12

39) Friday—Parkland Trojans (6A Semi-Final)
–) Saturday (Afternoon)—Palmerton vs. Northern Lehigh (2A Championship)
40) Saturday (Evening)—North Schulykill Spartans (3A Championship)

COULDAS & WOULDAS

COULDA. Week 1—Tri Valley. A Friday team that played Saturday evening due to rain. We returned to Salisbury to see the second half of the Catty game instead.

COULDA. Week 1—Marian Catholic. Played Sunday due to rain, but we had already committed to the sprint car races at Bloomsburg Fair Raceway. Update: Went to see Marian in Week 8. However, we are still down a potential team for the season as by picking Marian we bypassed other teams we had not seen.

WOULDA. Week 5—Lehighton. Saturday morning/afternoon JV game cancelled but Big Teams calendar not updated and we made the trip. There was no other D11 replacement for us as the Jim Thorpe game was cancelled due to COVID. Update: Saw Lehighton in Week 9. However, we are still down one potential team for the season as by picking Lehighton we bypassed other teams we had not seen.

 

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