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Around District 11: The Travels of Guy & Pam Week Ten: And Pocono Mountain East Makes 47

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Written by: Billy Splain on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

 

Around District 11: The Travels of Guy & Pam

Week Ten:  And Pocono Mountain East Makes 47

 

2022.12.  Guy & Pam hit games Friday, Saturday, and Monday during the final week of the regular season.

On Friday we were at Pocono Mountain East for the “Pride of the Mountain” trophy game against Pocono Mountain West.  This was our 47th and final District 11 main varsity home field to visit for a game in just two years.  On Saturday we resumed our “Tour de PSAC” with our second trip of the year to the West, as nationally ranked Slippery Rock visited Clarion.  On Monday we wrapped up a perfect ten-week JV season with the “Built by Bethlehem Battle” between Freedom and Liberty.

DISTRICT 11 SWEEP!  Thanks to the myriad of rescheduled games last year, we were able to see either a varsity or a JV game at the main varsity home field for all 47 District 11 schools in just two seasons.  For the schools where we saw only a JV game and not a varsity game as well, we had already seen a varsity game at those stadiums at some point before last season.  The breakdown:

2021 Varsity (30): Salisbury, ACC, Dieruff, Wilson, Northern Lehigh, Emmaus, Pen Argyl, Pleasant Valley, Nativity BVM, Shenandoah Valley, Tamaqua, Panther Valley, Bethlehem Catholic, Pine Grove, Mahanoy Area, Notre Dame, Blue Mountain, Pocono Mountain West, Liberty, Minersville, Executive Education Academy, Marian Catholic, Catasauqua, Freedom, East Stroudsburg North, William Allen, Bangor, Williams Valley, Palmerton, Parkland

2021 JV (8): Northwestern Lehigh, Northampton, Saucon Valley, Stroudsburg, Nazareth, Southern Lehigh, Whitehall, Lehighton

2022 Varsity (8): North Schuylkill, Easton, Palisades, Tri Valley, Jim Thorpe, Schuylkill Haven, Pottsville, Pocono Mountain East

2022 JV (1): East Stroudsburg South

We did fall short in the quest to see all of the additional separate “JV Only” fields, but we kept discovering new ones right up until the last few weeks of the season.  We did make it to four of seven.  There’s always next year.

GAME 36.  FRIDAY OCTOBER 28, 2022.   POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST PANTHERS @ POCONO MOUNTAIN EAST CARDINALS.  This was our second-ever visit to the rivalry game between PMW and PME.  West was playing for a district playoff spot, while the one-win East Cardinals were playing for pride on their home field.

Trying to be polite as possible, we would say the students from East were the “least attentive” to the game in progress than the students at any of the other 46 D11 schools.

When we entered the stadium, a large section in the top corner of the home side seating area was roped off.  At first we thought it might be for the band.  But in talking to the staff, we learned it was roped off for security reasons after the first two games because students were throwing objects at the people sitting below and off the back at cars parked below.

Situations like this were one of Guy’s major pet peeves after spending 30 years working in public education.  Time after time he had seen that the reaction to unacceptable behavior would be to put a restriction on everyone (albeit in this case only to limit seating choice) rather than to identify and punish those individuals causing the problems.  It does not appear much has changed in the seven years since Guy’s retirement.

At the Southern Lehigh/Pottsville game a couple weeks ago, we were disappointed that not a single Southern Lehigh fan in the away bleachers showed respect for the host school by standing for their alma mater.  At PME, a huge number of the home fans sat down immediately after the Star Spangled Banner and didn’t remain standing for their OWN alma mater (!), even after being reminded to do so by the public address announcer.  We did, because we were taught to do that is common courtesy.

This is not a well-designed stadium when it comes to the fan amenities of concessions and restrooms.  The exception is the parking, which is very well organized.  However, the lone refreshment stand is directly behind the home seating, and positioned far too close.  The area gets packed during peak use (halftime) and is quite chaotic.  In addition, to get to the restrooms you have to pass through said chaos.

Although the Cardinals had only a single win, that being a come from behind two point win over William Allen, they played playoff bound Allentown Central Catholic dead even for nearly a quarter of the game the week before.

This week, they did even better.  Facing another playoff bound team, the Cardinals took it to them in the first half, and entered the locker room up 6-0.

The play of the game was not a football play.  It was the performance of the Pocono Mountain East band during their halftime show.  They may not have been the absolute best high school band we have seen all year (Easton), but their show was the most creative and energetic we have seen this year, and perhaps ever!  They were just fantastic!  What a show!  While we’re at it, the PME group that sang the National Anthem gave an excellent rendition, so hats off to them as well.

West saw their playoff chances possibly slipping away, and woke up in the second half, outscoring the Cards 20-0.  Still, their last TD was in the final minute, so this was basically still a one-score game right up until the very end.  The Panthers stepped up when needed to secure their playoff spot, while the Cards impressed with their gutty effort for the second week in a row.

GAME 37.  SATURDAY OCTOBER 29, 2022.   SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY ROCK @ CLARION UNIVERSITY GOLDEN EAGLES.  We still hoped to get a couple more PSAC West trips in this year so we don’t have an unbalanced long-haul remainder left for 2023.  And the choice on this day was our first-ever visit to Clarion.

Slippery Rock came into the game nationally ranked at #13, and Clarion at 3-5, so it didn’t appear that this would be a nail biter.  And it wasn’t.

Attempting to right the financial ship in post-secondary public education, three of the Pennsylvania state universities in the east and three more in the west have merged.  The three in the west are now known as Pennsylvania Western University, or more commonly PennWest. However, the NCAA has allowed the three schools to maintain their original names for sports, so for football we still have Clarion, California, and Edinboro.  How strange to hear the announcer giving the halftime score of Slippery Rock 14, Clarion 0 then in the next breath tell us to enjoy the halftime performance of the PennWest University Marching Band.

If you ever wondered why Pam & Guy enjoy high school and small college football much more than D1 Corporate Football, look no further than this game as the quintessential example.  Both D2 Clarion and D1 Penn State had identically scheduled noon starts and played identical four, 15-minute quarters.  With ten minutes to play in the Clarion game, Penn State was still in halftime.  Those TV timeouts and “the previous play is under further review” delays really do add up.

The Rock ended up with a 31-0 shutout win, and moved into 10th place in the national D2 rankings.

We listened to the Clifford/Franklin/Lions big-game collapse in the car on the way home.  The Penn State game lasted 78 minutes longer than Clarion, and ended 86 minutes later due to the eight-minute difference in actual kickoff time.  According to the box scores, the Clarion game kicked off two minutes early at 11:58 and ended at 2:19, duration of 2:21.  Penn State kicked off at 12:06 and ended at 3:46, duration of 3:39.  That’s just ridiculous.

GAME 38.  MONDAY OCTOBER 31, 2022.   FREEDOM PATRIOTS JV VS. LIBERTY HURRICANE JV @ BASD Stadium.  We finished off a second straight year of seeing a Monday game all ten weeks of the regular season, with the exception of Labor Day when the JV games are played on either Saturday morning or Tuesday.

Once again, the first choice was Allentown Central Catholic for their JV game at Percy Ruhe Park, but for the fourth straight home JV game, they cancelled.  They ended up only playing a single home JV game this season.  The shame of it for us is that the first of those four against Parkland they were going to play until freak late afternoon heavy thunderstorms resulted in a weather cancellation at the last minute while we were en route.  The other three games they just cancelled.

When Guy played JV football at Allen, our game against Dieruff was the one we looked forward to the most.  I can’t imagine there was ever a thought of cancelling it.  Different time.  But it’s still surprising when big rivalry JV games are so quickly cancelled nowadays.  Not only was the ACC/Becahi JV game cancelled on Monday in Allentown, so was Allen/Dieruff.

We thought we had a good option with Pocono Mountain East @ Pocono Mountain West, as we were led to believe the game was going to be played at the old grass field stadium and not the new turf field stadium.  The grass field would have been one of our three missing JV-only fields.  But when confirming with the West A.D. on Monday morning, he said they would be playing on the turf.  Having seen PMW the past two Mondays, once on their turf and once at Pleasant Valley, we looked elsewhere.  Still congrats to the Pocono Mountain School District for playing the rivalry game and not cancelling.

Of course our choice then was the Freedom/Liberty game.  That one still has the excitement of the rivalry atmosphere, even for the junior varsity.  Heck, even for the freshman.  We usually end up seeing the second half of the freshmen games, since they tend to run long and the JV games often start late.  We never pay that close attention to the end of the freshmen games, as they are often decided by the time we arrive.  Not this time.  In an epic battle of 9th grade warriors, the two Bethlehem rivals battled to a very hard fought 0-0 tie.  No overtime.  When was the last time anyone was at a football game that ended 0-0?

Liberty was home this year, so we were on the away side.  Up until 15 or so (or is it 20 already?) years ago, in an attempt to separate the two schools that share the same home stadium, the “visitor” side was the home side for all Freedom games.  Why did Freedom end that tradition and adopt the normal stadium home side as their home side as well?  Because of the down markers having to always be on the visitor side, opposite the press box, and getting in the way on the sidelines.  Pate trivia for you.  And over 30 years ago when Guy first started teaching in Bethlehem, the press box itself WAS on the away side.  But that’s a whole different story.

The JV game was nothing like the slugfest of the freshmen game.  The Patriots showed “varsity poise” and we believe they scored TDs on every first half possession, having an already Mercy Rule lead of 36-0 at the break.

THIS WEEKEND.  Our football schedule for this coming weekend is Pottsville on Thursday for the Eastern Football Conference 4A championship game against Big Spring.  Then Hazleton @ Freedom for a D11 6A playoff game on Friday.  We really enjoy seeing different matchups, as opposed to seeing rematches between teams that already faced each other in the regular season.  On Saturday we are headed to Mansfield University for Sprint Football vs. the United States Naval Academy.  Also on our schedule for the weekend are the PSAC cross country championships, Kutztown University equestrian (the western saddle team), and auto racing in New Jersey.

DISTRICT 11 POWER RANKING CHART TOPPERS (FINAL—10 GAMES)

1A) Northern Lehigh Bulldogs (Replace Tri-Valley Bulldogs).  2A) Palisades Pirates.  3A) North Schuylkill Spartans.  (4A) Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks (Replace Allentown Central Catholic Vikings).  5A) Southern Lehigh Spartans.  6A) Emmaus Hornets.

With the Tri-Valley loss to Williams Valley, Northampton (6A) is the only one of the 47 D11 teams to run the regular season table.  Two schools ended the season winless.

D11 TEAMS IN PLAYOFFS (47 SCHOOLS)

–30 teams in PIAA District 11 playoffs (4 with losing records all four in 3A)

–3 additional teams in Eastern Football Conference title games

–1 additional team with Thanksgiving Day game

–34 teams still playing

–13 teams seasons over

–2 of the 3 D2 teams are in the 6A subregional playoffs with D11

STATE RANKED BY PA FOOTBALL NEWS (10 Games)

5) Nazareth Blue Eagles (6A).  5) Northern Lehigh Bulldogs (1A). 8) Northampton Konkrete Kids (6A).  8) North Schuylkill Spartans (3A) UP!  9) Emmaus Hornets (6A). 10) Williams Valley Vikings (2A) UP!  HM) Notre Dame Green Pond Crusaders (3A).  HM) Tri-Valley Bulldogs (1A).  OUT) Southern Lehigh Spartans (5A).

No new D11 teams in.  North Schuylkill and Williams Valley moved up.  Southern Lehigh dropped out.

STILL absent from the 6A rankings are the Freedom Patriots.

–Both Freedom and Harrisburg have two losses, one against a top ten team, the other not a top ten team.

HOWEVER,

–Freedom has a win over a top five team, Harrisburg has no win over any top ten team.

–Freedom has one more win than Harrisburg.

But guess which team has PA state Honorable Mention status?  Hint: IT AIN’T FREEDOM.  We have to wonder if it’s not more of the pollsters not wanting to put four teams from a single nine-team division in the rankings, rather than comparing that fourth team to those currently included.  Not in any way suggesting that Harrisburg doesn’t deserve honorable mention, just that Bethlehem Freedom does.

We updated the Scoreboard to include all of the 2023 “Year Three” teams.

GUY & PAM’S 2022 FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD (2021-2023)

CURRENT OVERALL TOTAL: 64 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)

 

NCAA

 

–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)

 

Allentown Central Catholic Vikings (2021), 2. Bangor Slaters (2021), 3. Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks (2021), 4. Blue Mountain Eagles (2021), 5. Catasauqua Rough Riders (2021), 6. Dieruff Huskies (2021), 7. Easton Red Rovers—Cottingham Stadium (2022), 8. East Stroudsburg North Timberwolves (2021), 9. East Stroudsburg South Cavaliers (2022), 10. Emmaus Hornets (2021), 11. Executive Education Raptors (2021), 12. Freedom Patriots (2021), 13. Jim Thorpe Olympians (2022), 14. Lehighton Indians (2021), 15. Liberty Hurricanes (2021), 16. Mahanoy Area Golden Bears (2021), 17. Marian Catholic Colts (2021), 18. Minersville Battlin’ Miners (2021), 19. Nativity BVM Green Wave (2021), 20. Nazareth Blue Eagles (2021), 21. Northern Lehigh Bulldogs (2021), 22. Northampton Konkrete Kids (2021), 23. Northwestern Lehigh Tigers (2021), 24. North Schuylkill Spartans (2022), 25. Notre Dame Green Pond Crusaders (2021), 26. Palisades Pirates (2022), 27. Palmerton Blue Bombers (2021), 28. Panther Valley Panthers (2021), 29. Parkland Trojans (2021), 30. Pen Argyl Green Knights (2021), 31. Pine Grove Cardinals (2021), 32. Pleasant Valley Bears (2021), 33. Pocono Mountain East Cardinals (2022), 34. Pocono Mountain West Panthers (2021), 35. Pottsville Crimson Tide (2022), 36. Salisbury Township Falcons (2021), 37. Saucon Valley Panthers (2021), 38. Schuylkill Haven Hurricanes (2022), 39. Shenandoah Valley Blue Devils (2021), 40. Southern Lehigh Spartans (2021), 41. Stroudsburg Mounties (2021), 42. Tamaqua Blue Raiders (2021), 43. Tri-Valley Bulldogs (2022), 44. Whitehall Zephers (2021), 45. William Allen Canaries (2022), 46. Williams Valley Vikings (2021), 47. Wilson Area Warriors (2021)

 

 

Active Alternative JV Game Sites (4 of 7)

 

ALLENTOWN CENTRAL CATHOLIC VIKINGS JV—PERCY RHUE PARK, 49. Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks JV–High School (2022), 50. BLUE MOUNTAIN EAGLES JV–EAST FIELD, 51. Freedom Patriots JV—FHS Turf Field (2022), 52. Lehighton Indians JV–Old Football Stadium (2022), 53. Nativity BVM Green Wave JV—High School (2022), 54. POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST PANTHERS JV—OLD STADIUM

 

 

Special Event or Related Stadiums (1 of 2)

 

Easton Red Rovers—Lafayette College Thanksgiving Day Game (2021), 56. PHILLIPSBURG STATELINERS (FORMER EPC SCHOOL)

 

 

Teams that Played in D11 as Sub Regional Teams (0 of 6)

 

2021 NEW HOPE-SOLEBURY LIONS (D1-3A), 58. 2021 ABINGTON HEIGHTS COMETS (D2-5A), 59. 2021 WYOMING VALLEY WEST SPARTANS (D2-5A), 60. 2022 HAZLETON COUGARS (D2-6A), 61. 2022 WILKES BARRE WOLFPACK (D2-6A), 62. 2022 WILLIAMSPORT MILLIONAIRES (D4-6A)

 

 

All Star Games with D11 Players Participating (6 of 6)

 

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

 

 

–NCAA D2 PSAC 16 Schools + One Related School (6 of 17)

 

Bloomsburg Huskies (2022), 70. CALIFORNIA VULCANS, 71. Clarion Golden Eagles (2022), 72. East Stroudsburg Warriors (2022), 73. Edinboro Fighting Scots (2022), 74. GANNON GOLDEN KNIGHTS, 75. INDIANA CRIMSON HAWKS, 76. Kutztown Golden Bears (2022), 77. LOCK HAVEN BALD EAGLES, 78. MERCYHURST LAKERS, 79. Millersville Marauders (2022), 80. SETON HILL GRIFFINS, 81. SHEPHERD RAMS (WV), 82. SHIPPENSBURG RAIDERS, 83. SLIPPERY ROCK ROCK, 84. WEST CHESTER GOLDEN RAMS, 85. MANSFIELD MOUNTAINEERS (FORMER PSAC—SPRINT FOOTBALL)

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