It’s Almost Time

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College football teams have already begun their workouts for the upcoming season. High school teams are next. As if, in this day and age, teams ever REALLY take a break from the preparation. Workouts for all sports are pretty much all-year round any more. But, I am talking “official” workouts now!

What does football hold in store for all of us in the Lehigh Valley who pay close attention to the professional, college, and high school seasons?

  1. Will Lafayette football continue their drive to “play meaningful games in November”? We’ll get a sense of their Patriot League competition early on when the Leopards travel to Colgate for their League opener on September 22. Colgate is the pre-season favorite to win the League. Sacred Heart, Delaware, and Monmouth are first on the schedule as independent contests.
  2. Lehigh may have the most exciting player in the Valley in Dom Bragalone. He is already on the Walter Payton watch list and is a consensus All-American. He was named the PL Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Mark November 17 on your calendar for the 154th meeting of Lafayette-Lehigh.
  3. Northampton will be traveling up north for most of their football games this season as they leave the EPC South for a couple of years. Wins were non-existent for the Kids in the South the past four years so, despite the travel, this should be a better situation for them.
  4. Kyle Haas, who did a marvelous job at Beca as the interim head coach in 2016, will take over the Northampton program. Kyle has a very creative football mind and, I believe, he will lead Northampton to a District XI berth this year. The competition is much less challenging up North and that is a major understatement.
  5. It’s very difficult to pick a favorite in the EPC South. Usually one starts with Parkland and goes from there, but Parkland, despite winning the last seven District titles, may have that streak stopped. They lost a number of outstanding players and other teams have gotten stronger. Emmaus was strong before Whitehall quarterback Ethan Parvel moved into Emmaus. Now they are the frontrunner with two outstanding backs to share the offensive workload.
  6. Easton, Freedom, Nazareth, Liberty, Bethlehem Catholic, and Central Catholic make up the rest of the South. Every one of those teams played in Districts last season so this promises to be an outstanding and competitive year.
  7. Whitehall has a new head coach in Justin Kondikoff. Former coach Brian Gilbert left the post to become AD at Palisades. Having lost his starting quarterback makes things that much more difficult for Justin. However, Whitehall does have tough kids who seem to deal with adversity better than most.
  8. The Colonial League promises to be wide open, also. Palisades dominated last year, but Saucon Valley, Southern Lehigh, and Notre Dame should challenge.
  9. Much like watching Penn State was even more entertaining with Whitehall’s Saquan Barkley in the backfield, so too will watching the development of Nazareth standout wide receiver, Jahan Dotson for the Nittany Lions. Will he play this year or will this be a redshirt year? We’ll know soon.
  10. I, for one, can‘t wait to see Saquon Barkley in the NFL. I know he is with the rival New York Giants, but he will capture my attention every week.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. The Red Sox swept the Yankees this past weekend winning four in a row and are now 8 ½ games ahead of their greatest rival. Between the Patriots of the NFL and now the Red Sox, it must be hard to walk around New England right now without a hop in your step, a grin on your face, and a hat that doesn’t quite fit your head.
  2. On paper, it looks like the Atlanta Braves gotten stronger than the Phillies did before the trade deadline. However, I was happy to see that the Phils did not give up any of their young prospects. The acquisitions of Asdrybal Cabrera and Wilson Ramos will help the Phils. I think they are now good enough to win their division.
  3. If you need a reason to watch Penn State this year, then pay attention to Trace McSorley at Penn State. He is on schedule to be the best statistical quarterback in Penn State history. The Lions will certainly be in the Big Ten championship hunt and in the national title picture.
  4. Every new inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame gave a very inspirational speech – Brian Dawkins and his fight with depression; Ray Lewis and his call to doing things bigger than football; Brian Urlacher’s work ethic carrying over from his childhood; Randy Moss’s faith in God; Jerry Kramer’s Vince Lombardi stories; and so on. If you missed the speeches Google them for some inspiration.
  5. Non-New England NFL fans should take note that Tom Brady celebrated his 41st birthday this past week. His career has to be coming to an end, doesn’t it? And how old is Bill Belichick?
Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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