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Around District 11: The Travels of Guy & Pam Week Four: First Trip to the West

 

Written by: Ed Weaver on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

 

Sometimes the various sports goals overlap. That happened last Friday and we didn’t see a D11 game for the first in-season Friday in two years. College cross-country has very few meets, instead competing in a limited number of invitationals with many teams. The Kutztown University cross-country team only has five meets in the regular season, with only one at home. That home meet was last Friday. With 13 college teams on campus, the men’s race went off at 5:00, the women at 5:45. Thus, it was almost 6:30 when we left campus. Too late to make it to D11, we checked to see if Kutztown High was home. They were not. But the next closest school, the Fleetwood Tigers were, so that was our only real option if we wanted to make kickoff.

If we want to see every NCAAA D2 PSAC school in two years, the big mistake would be to grab the low hanging fruit of the east division teams this year and leave all the far away west teams for 2023. With that in mind, after doing the Millersville/ESU double the previous Saturday, we made our first trip to the west to see our Bloomsburg Huskies take on the Edinboro Fighting Scots.

Monday’s JV “Plan A” was the Allentown Central Catholic Vikes at their alternate JV site of Percy Ruhe Park. While en route, we got the word their game was cancelled due to the weather. But the East Stroudsburg Cavaliers decided to wait out the line of thunderstorms and play, so we turned around and headed there instead. That leaves us with eight to go to have seen them all in D11 in two years.

Sunday afternoon we went to our first college ice hockey game as another new season began. The Millersville Marauders hosted UNC Wilmington Seahawks at the Lancaster Ice Rink. And what a game that was, with Millersville scoring with 15.5 seconds left in regulation to break the tie for a 6-5 win. Three days, three different colleges, three different sports, and still time for a pair of high school games.

GAME 18. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2022. TWIN VALLEY RAIDERS @ FLEETWOOD TIGERS. We don’t know much about the District 3 teams (yet). But by comparing results this seemed like a good matchup, with both teams entering the game with identical 2-1 records. Instead, it turned out to be our first Mercy Rule game of the year. Pam has been sampling all the stadiums with “mac n cheese” this season, and she had barely swallowed the last spoonful and it was already 21-0 Twin Valley. By halftime, it was 42-0 and with a long day on Saturday, there was no point in staying to watch the kind of game played after Mercy Rule is activated.

But they did have fresh cut fries and before leaving we had to sample those. The fries were from the “Sammy’s” truck, and they were excellent. Besides the taste and fair price, they also earned a “nostalgia point” as Guy was a weekly patron of Sammy’s steak sandwiches from 1975 through 1979 when he was a Friday night regular at the Reading Fairgrounds stock car races. At that time, the steaks were 95 cents. The fries would have earned a spot on the “King of the Spud” podium but were ruled ineligible as these were Guy & Pam “non-league fries” (not PIAA D11 or NCAA D2 PSAC). Thus, the current podium remains unchanged.

GAME 19. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2022. BLOOMSBURG HUSKIES @ EDINBORO FIGHTING SCOTS. Pam and Guy have ties to four of the PSAC schools, and this game featured two of them. We both graduated from Kutztown, Guy from Kutztown State College, and Pam from Kutztown University. We were actually both students on campus at the same time for one semester in spring of 1982, but didn’t know each other. And Pam began her teaching career part-time at Kutztown. Guy also graduated from Bloomsburg with the second of his four degrees, and while after beginning part-time at Kutztown, Dr. Pam advanced to full time at East Stroudsburg before ending up at Bloomsburg where she has been teaching for the past 20 years and for the next 12 weeks. But there is also a tie to Edinboro. A few years ago, one of their professors quit a week into the semester and they called on Pam as emergency QB to teach the remainder of that course, remotely from Bloomsburg. So we had ties to both of these schools.

This was our first visit to any of the eight PSAC western schools for football. At nearly five hours drive in each direction, it was a ten-hour driving day. And we calculated this was only the fourth farthest of those western PA stadiums. We were up at 5:00 a.m. and on the road at 6:30 to make the noon kickoff. Edinboro has tons of free parking, the complete opposite of the $5 parking mess the week before at ESU. They have a nice stadium, and the Fighting Scots had a good crowd nearly filling the home side seating. Although there are no fries at Edinboro football, they did earn a “Redemption Point” by having fresh popped popcorn.

Edinboro has one player on their roster from District 11, junior Jaohne Duggan from Bethlehem Liberty.

We have been picking very exciting PSAC games so far this season, as for the third time in three games; it came down to the very last play. At Millersville, the home team was going for the win on the last play but didn’t get it. At East Stroudsburg, IUP went for the win on the last play and did get it. This one went into overtime. It was a very winnable game for both teams, but a sloppy one that both teams tried to hand away numerous times. There were no fewer than 11 turnovers, six by the Scots and five by Bloomsburg, all by their freshman QB who got quite the on-field education. In the end, it was the turnover that didn’t count that made the final difference. Bloom got a field goal to start the overtime, and then picked off an Edinboro pass to win the game. But the interception was nullified by a penalty and two plays later the Scots (after another Bloom pass interference call) scored the winning TD.

We are well aware that we live in a far less civil social media world where the first thought is to fire back immediately. We are also aware that fans get passionate about their teams. But we witnessed a pair of post-game displays that if not quite shocking, were disappointing. First, the Bloom fans were yelling at the referees as they left the field. This happens all the time, especially since with the game on the line, there were three likely game deciding penalties all called against the Huskies. What shocked us was that one of the refs turned around and started jawing back at the fans. No doubt the Bloom fans started it, but as referees, you have to let that roll off your back and not engage. The second incident was also a rarity that took us aback. Seconds after the game ended, one of the Edinboro assistant coaches verbally taunted the Bloomsburg fans. Obviously acting on his own without the blessing of the head coach or the school, he nonetheless was wearing school branded clothing so it was not a good look for the university represented. Celebrate with your team and win with class. In both cases, self-restraint was called for, as those were representatives of the PSAC in the first case, and Edinboro University in the second.

The drive home went quickly and was surprisingly enjoyable as the Penn State Nittany Lions went on the road and soundly handled Auburn. Penn State made a huge jump in the AP Top 25, rising from 22nd to 14th.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2022. PARKLAND TROJANS JV VS. ALLENTOWN CENTRAL CATHOLIC VIKINGS JV @ PERCY RUHE PARK. NO GAME. We had quite the saga with this attempt to see the alternate home JV site for ACC. This is a good example of the challenge faced in attending different JV games every Monday.

On Friday, Guy told a friend of our weekend schedule, and he said a friend at ACC said they were not planning on playing the JV game as they only have 34 players and didn’t want to risk any more kids getting banged up. However, on Sunday the ACC staff decided to play the game, as they concluded the varsity backups needed some actual playing time. As of Monday morning, we did not know this.

The game was showing as “on” according to the school athletic schedules for both schools on Big Teams. Trying to get clarification, I emailed one person from ACC, the three athletic directors from Parkland, and one person from East Stroudsburg South, which was our “Plan B” backup. ACC answered in 22 minutes. ESS answered at 8:10 a.m. None of the three ADs from Parkland ever answered. How many ADs does it take to answer an email? Better hire a couple more, because apparently three isn’t enough at Parkland.

Unfortunately, mid afternoon thunderstorms rolled in and put the JV games at risk. It was pouring when we left home, but almost a certainty that the rains would be finished for the day before the JV kickoff time. We were about halfway there when Guy received word from ACC that the game had been cancelled due to weather. How classy of ACC to remember that we had inquired earlier that day and take the time to let us know there would be no game. Much appreciated.

GAME 20. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2022. POCONO MOUNTAIN CARDINALS JV @ EAST STROUDSBURG SOUTH CAVALIERS JV. We were on Route 33 heading south, right by the exit for Route 248 when we got the word about the ACC game. We decided to stop at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. After ordering our food, the rain ended and the sun was out. Guy said he wondered if the ES South game had been canceled as well, but not to worry about it since it likely was and there was probably no way to find out.

Pam said she wanted to give it a try. And she found success, as ES South has a Twitter account that was being updated regularly. It said that the field hockey game that preceded the JV football game had a long lightning delay, which would result in the JV football game start being delayed by at least an hour. Pam asked:” Do you wanna go?” Score! Again, many thanks to ES South for keeping the game info updated. Also much appreciated.

The East Stroudsburg South “Purple Pit” is a stadium we had visited a number of times in the past for games. However, it remained one of the nine schools left on our D11 HitList because we both didn’t see game there together last year. Guy went to a rare Tuesday JV game, while Pam had night class on Tuesdays last fall. We also determined that we had never sat in the home side stands before. Even last year when Guy went alone, the opponent was Guy’s alma mater Allen Canaries so he sat on the away side with the dozen Allen fans and the many skeeters.

We had to wait for our food and then eat at Buffalo Wild Wings, but our timing was impeccable. We walked into The Pit with four minutes left in the field hockey game, a 4-0 win for Northampton. Guy told Pam we might be in for our second Mercy Rule game of the weekend; as he expected a big win for South. Pam said she had faith in East, and that this would not go Mercy Rule. Guy said: “I accept that friendly wager.” South’s last TD made it 34-0, but they missed the conversion and Pam good-naturedly celebrated her football acumen all the way home.

We are hoping to add another pair of D11 teams from our remaining eight this weekend. The plan is Tri-Valley varsity on Friday, and then Nativity BVM alternate site JV on Monday. The entire schedule looks like Kutztown U. women’s soccer on Wednesday, Bloomsburg Fair harness racing on Friday afternoon, Tri-Valley football on Friday evening, Homestead Speedway auto racing on Saturday afternoon, with another race or football game or nothing else in the evening if the afternoon race goes long, Mahoning Valley Speedway race or Freemansburg Motorcycle Hillclimb on Sunday, and Nativity BVM JV football at the high school field on Monday. Comments, suggestions, feedback welcome at [email protected]

IT’S TOUGH TO BE PERFECT. Only four weeks into the season and there are only five of 47 D11 varsity football teams still unbeaten. In just four weeks, 42 have suffered at least one loss. That goes to show how really tough it is to stay unbeaten week after week in this sport. The only five teams left in the district without a loss are: Emmaus, Northampton, Northern Lehigh, Pleasant Valley, and Tri-Valley. And only six teams are winless. The latter number is guaranteed to drop this week, as 0-4 Easton and Allen face off at Birney Crum.

ADMISSION PRICES. After answering the JV game admission cost question, we were asked how much are those NCAA D2 PSAC games? The answer is all three so far were $10 general admission. The high school varsity games have all been $5 or $6. The four JV games attended so far were all free. Can’t beat any of it for the entertainment value for money. Guy, at age 62, has qualified for senior discounts at four of six high school games and two of three PSAC games. Two of those three had an age 65 senior discount, one no senior discount.

GUY & PAM’S 2022 SCOREBOARD

District 11—Every School Play Varsity or JV Home Game 2021 or 2022, a Varsity Game All-Time, and All Star Games with D11 Players (Bold = Still to See)

Current: 51 of 59

1. Allentown Central Catholic Vikings (2021)
2. ALLENTOWN CENTRAL CATHOLIC VIKINGS (JV—PERCY RHUE PARK)
3. Bangor Slaters (2021)
4. Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks (2021)
5. Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks (JV High School) (2022)
6. Blue Mountain Eagles (2021)
7. Catasauqua Rough Riders (2021)
8. Dieruff Huskies (2021)
9. Easton Red Rovers—Cottingham Stadium (2022)
10. Easton Red Rovers—Lafayette College Thanksgiving Day Game (2021)
11. East Stroudsburg North Timberwolves (2021)
12. East Stroudsburg South Cavaliers (2022)
13. Emmaus Hornets (2021)
14. Executive Education Raptors (2021)
15. Freedom Patriots—BASD Stadium (2021)
16. Freedom Patriots JV—FHS Turf Field (2022)
17. JIM THORPE OLYMPIANS (2021 JV, NEVER VARSITY)
18. Lehighton Indians (2021)
19. LEHIGHTON INDIANS (JV—OLD STADIUM)
20. Liberty Hurricanes (2021)
21. Mahanoy Area Golden Bears (2021)
22. Marian Catholic Colts (2021)
23. Minersville Battlin’ Miners (2021)
24. Nativity BVM Green Wave (2021)
25. NATIVITY BVM GREEN WAVE (JV—HIGH SCHOOL)
26. Nazareth Blue Eagles (2021)
27. Northern Lehigh Bulldogs (2021)
28. Northampton Konkrete Kids (2021)
29. Northwestern Lehigh Tigers (2021)
30. North Schuylkill Spartans (2022)
31. Notre Dame Green Pond Crusaders (2021)
32. Palisades Pirates (2022)
33. Palmerton Blue Bombers (2021)
34. Panther Valley Panthers (2021)
35. Parkland Trojans (2021)
36. Pine Grove Cardinals (2021)
37. POCONO MOUNTAIN EAST CARDINALS (PRE 2021)
38. Pocono Mountain West Panthers (2021)
39. POTTSVILLE CRIMSON TIDE (2021–AWAY TEAM)
40. Salisbury Township Falcons (2021)
41. Southern Lehigh Spartans (2021)
42. Stroudsburg Mounties (2021)
43. Tamaqua Blue Raiders (2021)
44. Pen Argyl Green Knights (2021)
45. Pleasant Valley Bears (2021)
46. Saucon Valley Panthers (2021)
47. SCHUYLKILL HAVEN HURRICANES (2021—AWAY TEAM)
48. Shenandoah Valley Blue Devils (2021)
49. TRI VALLEY BULLDOGS (ONLY VARSITY SITE NEVER SEEN)
50. Whitehall Zephers (2021)
51. William Allen Canaries (2021)
52. Williams Valley Vikings (2021)
53. Wilson Area Warriors (2021)

ALL-STAR GAMES THAT INCLUDED D11 PLAYERS

54. Colonial League vs. Schuylkill League All-Star Game (2022 @ Schuylkill Haven)
55 Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Classic (2022 @ Nazareth)
56. PSFCA East vs. West Small School All Star Game (2022 @ Bishop McDevitt)
57. PSFCA East vs. West Big School All Star Game (2022 @ Bishop McDevitt)
58. PSFCA Pennsylvania vs. Maryland Big 33 Game (2022 @ Bishop McDevitt)
59. Schuylkill League All-Star Game (2021 @ Schuylkill Haven)

TEAMS THAT PLAYED/PLAY IN D11 SUBREGIONALS OR OTHER RELATED TEAMS (2023)

60. 2021 NEW HOPE-SOLEBURY LIONS (D1-3A)
61. 2021 ABINGTON HEIGHTS COMETS (D2-5A)
62. 2021 WYOMING VALLEY WEST SPARTANS (D2-5A)

2022 Not Yet Determined

63. PHILLIPSBURG STATELINERS (FORMER EPC SCHOOL)

NCAA D2 PSAC & Related: Every School Play Home Game (2022 – 2023)

Current: 3 of 17

1. BLOOMSBURG HUSKIES
2. CALIFORNIA VULCANS
3. CLARION GOLDEN EAGLES
4. East Stroudsburg Warriors
5. Edinboro Fighting Scots
6. GANNON GOLDEN KNIGHTS
7. INDIANA CRIMSON HAWKS
8. KUTZTOWN GOLDEN BEARS
9. LOCK HAVEN BALD EAGLES
10. MERCYHURST LAKERS
11. Millersville Marauders
12. SETON HILL GRIFFINS
13. SHEPHERD RAMS (WV)
14. SHIPPENSBURG RAIDERS
15. SLIPPERY ROCK ROCK
16. WEST CHESTER GOLDEN RAMS

17. MANSFIELD MOUNTAINEERS (FORMER PSAC—SPRINT FOOTBALL)

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