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Written by: Dave Druckenmiller on Friday, August 27th, 2021
As COVID-19 is still rearing its ugly head, we try to go back to some normalcy in the Eastern PA Conference football by returning to the North and South Divisions alignment. Our friends in the Poconos have six teams that are joined by Northampton, Louis E Dieruff, and William Allen. I look at this division with some groupings. I believe that Northampton, Stroudsburg, and East Stroudsburg South will battle it out for the title. Then we have the middle of the division with Pocono Mountain West, Dieruff, Pleasant Valley, and Pocono Mountain East all battling for position. Then you have William Allen and East Stroudsburg North that may be battling for its only win.
1. Northampton- (1-4 in 2020 Northampton DIV) possessing one of the biggest offensive and defensive lines in the division, the Konkrete Kids went 8-0 two years ago and made the District 6A playoffs. This team simply must solve some skill-player losses to stay there. They would like some wins over southern division schools to prove to all they have arrived. (DT) Christian Bundra is 6’5” and 325 pounds on the defensive line and(OC/DE) Ethan Schweitzer is 6’1” and 260 pounds, (OG) Luke Baker is 6’1” and 260 pounds, (OG) Austin Cavallo is 6’0” and 260 pounds. Big line for the Kids and new head coach John Toman.2. East Stroudsburg South- (4-0 in 2020) had possessed a team for the ages last year, but due to COVID-19 they were unable to compete in the post-season. They lost 25 seniors for 2021. But they do retain enough players that did play in the blowouts that happened in 2020. Ron Blake (RB/DB) and Dylan Osorio (LB/TE) are the anchors of the team. It’s a tough act to follow from last year, but the Cavaliers should be there.3. Stroudsburg – This team could just sneak up on the two above and win it all. Mountaineers went 4-1 last year and lost to a very good East Stroudsburg South team. They do possess a division 1 recruit Nathan Voorhis who has signed on with UConn. QB Ethan Sodl returns as does RB /OLB Andre Reames. 8-2 or 9-1 is a possibility and a run in Districts. Opening with Emmaus at home should tell us some things about this team.4. Pleasant Valley- the Bears are coming off a 2-3 shortened season Head Coach Blaec Saeger welcomed it after going winless in his first season in 2019. (QB) Robert Papaleo and (WR) Ryan Blass should be a combination dialed up on most nights in Monroe County. While the Bears closed out the season with a lopsided win over Pocono Mountain East to get the Old Oaken Bucket, they then got blown out in the District XI playoffs. They open with Parkland, with as of this writing was postponed due to COVID-19. 5. Pocono Mountain West- Seniors Isaiah Armand (QB/DE), Michael Lawrence (WR,CB), and Jaden Bowens (RB/CB) all return for the Panthers. They will need a line to succeed in the north. Jim McCarroll (the only head coach there- 2002) has his work cut out for him on the lines on both sides of the ball.6. Louis E Dieruff- (1-4 in 2020) the Huskies could be one of the most improved teams up North this year. They do return a good nucleus of players. Coach Dave Lutte (3rd season 3-12) has stated his players have hit the weight room hard and bulked up. With 48 players on the roster and several of them are have started multiple years, this could be the sleeper team. Dieruff has not been to the District playoffs in more than 21 years. They have not had a winning season since 2002. (SR, OL/DL) Willie Middleton must be a leader as he is a pretty good lineman.7. Pocono Mountain East- a 52-7 loss to Whitehall in the District XI 5A championship game. It was some metal mistakes that really lost it for them. Against Whitehall they completed 1 pass on 13 attempts for no passing yards. They must be able to throw the ball to be successful in 2021. 8. William Allen- Not sure what to say about this program, they try so hard to be more competitive, and with new coach Mel Thomas, that could really happen. But they still may be battling for the basement with East Stroudsburg North in the north division. (SR, OC) Paul Quinn returns on the offensive line with (SR, TE-LB) Stephen Guy and (JR, DE) Adrian Figueroa and that’s it.9. East Stroudsburg North- The Timberwolves are a team just trying to get some wins in 2021. I have to say, it may be a good game when they tangle with William Allen. Head coach Rick Altreche enters his second year leading the program looking to guide the Timberwolves in the direction he set them on last year. (SR, OLB/CB) Andre Weeks and (SR, OL/NG) Michael Wright are the two returning leaders for the Timberwolves. They must just mature as a team and play hard and avoid mental mistakes to win a few games.
This is one of the most competitive divisions in Eastern Pennsylvania. This is a very tough division. It just got tougher with an injury to Emmaus Jr, quarterback Jake Fotta. No team in this division will go undefeated and if they do they will be a dominant team.The title literally could be won by 5 teams listed on my predicted order of finish.1. Bethlehem Freedom- This team is led by OG and Virginia Tech commit Braelin Moore. Battle at the quarterback position between Ethan Neidig and Brian Taylor and the return of RB Deante Crawford will make this team as my favorite in the south. A good defense will be an anchor for the Patriots. This team has the best balance in the EPC.2. Bethlehem Catholic- This team is led by big (OT-DT) and North Carolina commit Justin Kanyuk. Jalen Richardson is a quarterback to watch because he is very mobile and I compare his game to that of Russell Wilson in the NFL. He isn’t really a dual-threat, but he can surely can get out of any trouble in the pocket. Although the team took a hit when running back (JR) Rashard Terry went down with a season-ending knee injury in the pre-season, the cupboard is not bare as (SR, RB) Maximus Johnson and (JR) Zyaire Morris are there to relieve him. Targets exist for Richardson and (SR,WR) Eric Wert will be one of them. My favorite to win District XI 4A crown.3. Parkland- This team is always good. Last year was one of the COVID-19 victims and saw no District games. They are led by their quarterback, (SR, QB) Ty Tremba. Lin But linebacking corp. has been the bread and butter for the Trojans the last few years. But, this is a reconstruction job in 2021. Trojans could contend for the title and the District 6A crown.4. Whitehall- The Zephyrs are led by their (SR, QB) Quinn Wentling. They have almost the entire starting line-ups backs from 2021 on both sides of the ball. They did win the District 5A title last year, but did so with 3 losses to 6A teams and they face 5 this year and tough ones. They may repeat on the 5A side if they can beat some 6A teams. One of my favorite players is 6’5″ (OT) Anthony Saed.5. Easton- The Rovers are led by their 3-year starting (SR, QB) Cole Transue and his main target back in (SR, WR ,S) Kyle Evancho. The electric (SR, RB/CB/KR/PR) Marcus Williams is in the backfield. If Easton can replace some upfront lineman, they could make some noise in the South.6. Emmaus- An injury to their (JR, QB) Jake Fotta has led the Green Hornets to scramble behind (SO, QB) Josiah Williams a very athletic dual-threat quarterback. The running game will be led by an offensive line anchored by (SR, OT) Dylan Mchugh. The linebacker crew on defense is tough and led by (SR, ILB) Jared Groller.7. Nazareth- Huge losses to graduation are going to be a challenge for head coach Tom Falzone. (SR,RB) Tyler Rohn returns in the backfield and the offensive line is anchored by a very big (SO, OT) Sean Kinney. The Blue Eagles have talent that is young on both sides of the ball. But Tom Falzone is a wizard of a coach. Don’t count them out 8. Allentown Central Catholic- A battle at quarterback for the Vikings as of this writing has not been resolved. A battle for 3 offensive lineman spots is between 6 players. The rebuilding process may keep the Vikings out of the 4A Districts this year. They struggle for the wins necessary to qualify.9. Bethlehem Liberty- New head coach Shawn Daignault, coming over from Northampton as the defensive coordinator. A total rebuild is needed for the Hurricanes. A successful season would be 3-4 wins for the Hurricanes. (SR) Peyton Carson and (JR) Tommy Mason battle for the starting quarterback job and it may come down to a game-time decision. The schedule is tough in the South and with crossover games against Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg South, wins will be tough.
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