Over the next two weeks we’ll take a look back at what has been an extraordinary year for District XI winter high school sports.
“Eight is Enough”
Eight is the maximum number of gold medals one could accumulate while playing two sports—and that feat was accomplished by Parkland’s DeVante Cross. He and his Trojans completed another dominating performance in District XI, not losing a game in the Lehigh Valley once he and his football teammates were finished with another district title (and playing for a state championship) on the gridiron.
Cross will be taking his talents to the Boston College football team where he will look to follow in the recent footsteps of other Lehigh Valley athletes who’ve had collegiate football success and then moved on to play at the professional level. In my opinion, I believe him to be one of the top point guards we’ve had in District XI in some time, and my only regret is that we won’t see him on the basketball court again, but I know we’ll be seeing plenty of highlights once the collegiate football season gets underway.
We’ll be talking with Parkland Head Coach Andy Stephens and members of his boys basketball team on the Thursday, March 24th edition of “RCN SportsTalk” at 7pm.
I don’t think Parkland will drop off too much, despite the graduation of some key seniors. However, the 2017 boys basketball season will be wide open with so many returning star performers back on the hardwood again, and many will benefit from the extra year of varsity experience. The same is true for a few key women’s basketball teams—we’ll have more on them next week.
“Save Your Programs”
On both “SportsTalk” and during our high school basketball broadcasts, we’ve talked at length this winter about all the amazing underclassmen talent around the region. Heck, Allen, Central Catholic and Pocono Mountain West boys’ teams (among others) have virtually their entire teams returning next year.
While Emmaus will lose several quality people to graduation as well, they return arguably the area’s best player, David Kachelries, along with his twin brother Matt. The Hornets also have some MAJOR size coming up through their system and will return to make the competition for league and district championships in 2017 even more challenging than it was this winter.
One underclassman who won’t be returning is Nazareth’s Jahan Dotson, who will be moving to play at a prominent high school football program this fall. Dotson was a great athlete to watch and I enjoyed watching him on the hardwood—both being a dynamic scorer and delivering some great passes setting up his teammates. We wish him the best on what could be a lengthy athletic career.
“Colonial League vs. EPC”
While some people like to put down the Colonial League in favor of the bigger schools that comprise the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, I always enjoy the opportunity to see and meet the members of the “smaller school” league in District XI. We’ve often highlighted their accomplishments (including having both Bangor and Salisbury as in-studio “SportsTalk” guests). The Slaters and the Falcons posted some tremendous wins this year, with both teams reaching the state tournament after having to battle each other for the Colonial League Championship.
We also did our first ever feature on rifling this winter. Many people don’t realize it is a PIAA-sanctioned sport—and has been for some time. Our chat with members of the Freedom Rifle Team on “SportsTalk” was very informative and certainly brought to light many unique aspects of the sport.
Look for more high school winter sports notes and videos coming your way in the next “SportsTalk Shop” entry. Also, be sure to tune in for this Thursday’s “RCN SportsTalk” (and then on our podcast here on Friday) as we take a more in-depth look at the boys and girls high school basketball programs in the Eastern Pennsylvania region.