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Written by: Billy Splain on Tuesday, September 21st, 2021
Quest: D11 (Week 4)
Our sincere apologies to Saucon Valley High School for misidentifying them as the “Spartans” last week. We know they are “Panthers,” it was just “brain fade.” Guy, an EPC boy, wrote it, and Pam, who is a Colonial League girl, proofread, but we both missed it so “mea culpa” from the both of us.
For the third straight week, we managed to hit five more different District 11 teams, bringing the season total to 19 different schools/teams in the first four weeks of the season (4-5-5-5), out of the 47 teams in the district. The more we see, the tougher it will be to schedule additional teams. But we like a challenge.
15) TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. BANGOR SLATERS (JV). I never expected Tuesday games, but here we go for the second week in a row. I had to do this one solo, as Pam teaches a Tuesday night graduate class at Bloomsburg University so that is the only day she is not available for football. Despite this being a Colonial League team, I had never been to Bangor’s Stadium before. Pam was there when she was in the Catasauqua band many years ago. That leaves only Notre Dame of the Colonial League schools not visited for football.
It is my intent to save the schools/teams/stadiums we have never seen before for varsity games, and use the JV days for places we are familiar with. This was an exception, as there was no other option.
This was a great game. Another JV game with free admission. Bangor led most of the game, but Blue Mountain hung tough. The Eagles executed a perfect fake field goal for the winning TD with eight seconds to go. That was fun! Just not quite as fun without Pam.
16) FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17. PANTHER VALLEY PANTHERS. Another first time visit. This one was planned all along, as our Catasauqua Rough Riders were the visiting team. This was the first time we had been to a high school football game with a roof over the home side grandstands. Well, that’s not technically true as a decade ago we went to the Texas high school state championships indoors in Dallas at the Cowboys Stadium. But this was the first time at an outdoor field in PA.
Before the game, we were told stories by one of the referees about the great history of the stadium, of a time when Coaldale and Lansford played to crowds of seven or eight thousand and the covered stands were even bigger.
This is another Schuylkill League school with an outstanding refreshment stand. Fresh cut fries are a high school football tradition in the area, but I passed for filling and gravy! And hamburgers, straight off the grill for two bucks! Man, the Schuylkill League people eat well. We usually stop to eat on the way to EPC games. Not Schuylkill League!
Catty was without a couple of their starters, out for disciplinary reasons, but they still handled the Panthers to move to 4-0. Not bad, considering the Roughies were winless just two years ago. As they hashtag: #GDTBARR (Great Day to Be a Rough Rider). But they have their first true test this Friday with Palmerton. The new turf field at Catasauqua is still not ready, and they continue to play their home games at Northampton.
17) SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 (AFTERNOON). BETHLEHEM CATHOLIC GOLDEN HAWKS. Back to the BASD Stadium, my Friday fall home for most of 30 years teaching in the district. But this time it was not to see Freedom or Liberty, it was to see the renters, otherwise known as the Becahi Golden Hawks host the Nazareth Blue Eagles. Eagles vs. Hawks, or Birds of Prey vs. Birds of Pray.
So far every varsity game we have been to was a $5 admission. This one was $6. But it was a game for the ages. Nazareth was certainly the favorite, but somehow found themselves behind 41-14 in the second half. We watched Nazareth offensive coordinator Rob Petrosky as a QB at Catasauqua, as a four-year starter at Moravian, and I as a colleague, teaching in the same department at Freedom. All of a sudden in mid third quarter, Robbie figured something out, and down by 27, Nazareth caught fire. Like a flamethrower. They marched down the field, scoring offensive TDs on four of their last five full possessions, to complete a stunning comeback for a single point win.
Going to be hard to top that one for this season’s game of the year.
18) SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 (EVENING). PINE GROVE CARDINALS. The plan all week was to go to Muhlenberg College Saturday evening to see the first-ever home game for the Executive Education Academy Raptors. They had promoted the game on their Facebook page several times during the week. Unfortunately, they didn’t actually have an opponent, and when they did find one, the game was changed from Saturday to Friday and from home to away. We are still hoping to catch their first home game ever, now scheduled for week 7 against Huron Heights, a school I am not at all familiar with. Not buying our tickets yet.
Instead we headed for another first-time visit, Pine Grove. This was my fifth first-time stadium visit in nine days. As Pam correctly anticipated when she talked me out of an EPC team seen many times to head to Nativity BVM the week before, when I got into seeing the Schuylkill League teams for the first time, I’d be all in.
Once again the refreshment stand was outstanding. The Schuylkill League snack bars are undefeated against the EPC, and these are Mercy Rule wins. I thought I had tasted the fries from every fresh cut fry truck in D11, but Williams Catering has been cutting them fresh since 1945. The D11 MVD (most valuable dessert) award for the year can be called right now, with the band booster stand and their apple dumpling a la mode. This was the best apple dumpling I’ve had ever, and not just at a sporting event. Anywhere!
It was a decent game between the host and visiting Shenandoah Valley, but in mid third quarter, it started raining. Soon it was raining hard. We had not anticipated that happening, and got drenched. Of course, just our luck, we had to drive home soaking wet from the field furthest from our home. That’s football.
19) MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20. STROUDSBURG MOUNTAINEERS JV. The Mounties hosted Liberty, where I had taught for several years early in my BASD career, so that made this one our Monday JV choice. This is the second closest school to our current home, behind only Pleasant Valley.
Another good JV game, as the ‘Canes came from behind for a two-point win.
With 19 schools visited out of 47 schools, finding multiple weekend games for different teams is going to get more difficult. We can always count on one each Friday, and should be able to find a JV game on Mondays. We have already been to each of the four schools that play the majority of their home games on Saturdays (ACC, Becahi, Pen Argyl, Wilson) so Saturdays are going to be hit or miss going forward. As of now, we have three D11 games lined up for additional teams this coming weekend, but none for Saturday evening.
SEASON SUMMARY (19 DIFFERENT D11 SCHOOLS/TEAMS)
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
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)
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)
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
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)
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