Chris Michael

About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

HS Football Playoffs Week 4

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It was championship weekend in the Lehigh Valley with the District XI 6A  title game seen on RCN-TV…

With all of last weekend’s championship games behind us and the start of the Pennsylvania state playoffs commencing this weekend, it’s time to unveil our final District XI polls of the season.  But first, here is a look back at our preseason poll (just to see how our experts did with their picks in early August)…

“Big” Schools PRESEASON Poll

1)  Emmaus

2)  Parkland

2)  Freedom

3)  Easton

4)  Nazareth

“Small” School PRESEASON Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Palisades

3)  Notre Dame

4)  Saucon Valley

And now, our FINAL polls…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Saucon Valley

3)  Northwestern

4)  Notre Dame

ANALYSIS:

Once again our RCN pollsters (a mix of local media members, district administrators and football coaches) did a really good job of giving some insights on which schools would be the top teams this year.  Our “Big School” preseason poll had all of the top five teams correctly identified, with just the order of the teams mixed in the final results (a year which included a first-time District XI champion).  Parkland also saw its six-year consecutive title run come to an end with a loss in the semifinals to Freedom.

There were more changes in the “small school poll,” with the exception being Bethlehem Catholic holding onto the #1 position from start to finish.

The big surprises were Saucon Valley and Northwestern getting much better play from some of their “unknowns” this season.  Senior Tailback Ian Csiszak hardly played offense last year for the Panthers, but became the District’s top rushing back (both in terms of carries and total rushing yards) this fall.

The Tigers got outstanding efforts from a number of different players and won a few more games than many had expected (and two of their losses were by just one point each).

This will also be our final “Pick 4” contest (actually now down to just two Lehigh Valley teams this week.)  All season long RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and me teamed with The Morning Call’s Keith Groller and have been weighing-in on games involving the games involving District XI squads.  We’ve included a “tiebreaker” because the competition is so close heading into our final week.

The
“PICK 4”
Pottsgrove vs. Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s vs. Freedom Total Points Scored Among the 4 Teams:
Gary Laubach Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s None Given
Tony Cocca  Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s 126 – 1/2
Keith Groller  Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s 135
Chris Michael  Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s 139

We’ll have the some of the tallies both next week here at “The Shop” and on the following week’s “RCN SportsTalk” program—and unveil which RCN personality will have to partake in doing Fortnite dances LIVE on the air!

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day holiday!!!

 

 

HS Football Playoffs Week 3

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Mother Nature threw another curveball at us again this past weekend—the weather forecast caused District XI officials to postpone all of Friday’s games and push everything back to Saturday.

That being said, two of our three broadcast playoff games were relatively close contests…

As we move closer to our “final” poll of the season, here’s a look at where things stand (both polls had one significant change following last weekend’s games)…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Emmaus

2)  Freedom

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Saucon Valley

3)   Northwestern

4)  Notre Dame

Our poll structure remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

We are down to the final few teams remaining in our RCN Viewing area.  RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and myself team with the Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh in on games involving the four teams remaining in District XI—all four teams are matched-up against each other high school games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Saucon Valley vs. Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus vs. Freedom
Gary Laubach Bethlehem Catholic Freedom
Tony Cocca  Bethlehem Catholic Freedom
Keith Groller  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus
Chris Michael  Bethlehem Catholic Freedom

A reminder, the RCN pollster with the least number of correct predictions will have to do a couple Fortnite dances on our live “SportsTalk” show in a few weeks.  Tune in to Thursday’s show to check out who should be limbering up for some possible on-air routines.  Also, check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

HS Football Playoffs Week 2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

We are down to the final weeks of our high school football polls and our “Pick 4” contest!

We will get a good read of how our experts did in our poll as a number of our top teams will be squaring off against each other this weekend in District XI semifinal matchups (four of them will be on RCN-TV). 

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Notre Dame

3)   Northwestern

4)  Saucon Valley

Our poll structure remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and myself team with the Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh-in on four of the biggest District XI high school games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Pottsville vs. Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus vs. Easton Freedom vs. Parkland Saucon Valley vs. Northwestern Lehigh
Gary Laubach Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Northwestern Lehigh
Tony Cocca  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Northwestern Lehigh
Keith Groller  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Saucon Valley
Chris Michael  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Saucon Valley

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

 

HS Football Playoffs Week 1

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Special thanks to Greg Joyce of the “New York Post” for being on our “SportsTalk” program last week.  Greg had the unique experiences of covering pro and college sports teams in Boston, Eastern Pennsylvania and now New York, and had some great thoughts on comparing those huge sports regions, along with giving thought on the New York Giants, the Yankees off-season priority list, the Red Sox and the World Series, and more.

Be sure to check out our interview with Greg through RCN On-Demand or hear our podcast here on the RCN-TV website.

Coming up this week we’ll be previewing the opening weekend of the Lehigh Valley high school football playoffs with RCN Sports Director Gary Laubach.  You can call in or email us with your questions and comments as Gary, co-host Keith Groller and I go over all of this weekend’s playoff games and make predictions.

Next week, the high school post-season kicks off in the DMV region and we’ll have Monet Anderson of Fox Sports Radio DC on the program to get her thoughts on the top teams, games and players to watch.

And, in a few weeks, we’ll have guests on from different regions to talk about the state playoffs in both PA and DC and give insights on the teams still standing in our coverage areas.

Also, don’t forget to bookmark and keep checking back to the RCN-TV broadcast schedule page to see which teams and games we will be featuring each weekend!

Before we get to this week’s polls and predictions, here are highlights of last weekend’s games on RCN…

Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Notre Dame

3)   Saucon Valley

4)  Northwestern

Our poll structure remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

Now, RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and myself team with the Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh-in on the four most competitive District XI high school playoff games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Central Catholic vs. Northwestern Emmaus vs. Nazareth Bangor vs. Pottsville Tamaqua vs. Notre Dame
Gary Laubach Central Catholic Emmaus Pottsville Notre Dame
Tony Cocca  Central Catholic Emmaus Pottsville Notre Dame
Keith Groller  Central Catholic Emmaus Bangor Notre Dame
Chris Michael  Northwestern Nazareth Pottsville Notre Dame

A reminder, the RCN pollster with the least number of correct predictions will have to do a couple Fortnite dances on our live “SportsTalk” show in a few weeks.  Tune in to Thursday’s show to check out who should be limbering up for some possible on-air routines.  Also, check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

HS Football Week 10

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Someone asked me when I was leaving Saturday’s Emmaus/Bethlehem Catholic  football team if, in my entire football watching experiences, I had ever seen a game as wild as that evening’s 50-49 tilt.

My response?

“Yes I have…the night before!”

It was clearly the biggest scoring weekend of games I have ever announced in my career, with nearly 200 points being scored in two games.

Saturday might not have been the cleanest of games, with way too many penalties and two huge (and extremely costly) turnovers, but Friday’s game between Saucon Valley and Notre Dame for the right to the Colonial League crown was as good of an offensive showing as I’ve seen in years…maybe ever?

It was a great contrast of styles between the aerial attack of the Crusaders and the “Ground-and-Pound” Panthers, who were nearly perfect on the few passes they attempted.  Great coaching calls, clutch players, spectacular plays…if you don’t care about defense, you would have loved that game!

Don’t forget—all of RCN’s productions are available to watch for free for RCN video customers for two months following their initial airdates.  Be sure to check out both of these high scoring games next time you have a chance.

The results of last week’s games around the area fell pretty much in line with what our District XI big and small school polls have been for the past few weeks… 

Big” Schools Poll

1)   Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)   Stroudsburg

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Notre Dame

3)  Northwestern

4)  Saucon Valley

Our poll remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

Now, RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and I team up with The Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh in on four District XI high school games coming up this weekend (once again, I’m going out on an island by myself with my picks)…

The
“PICK 4”
Northampton vs. Whitehall Allen vs. Dieruff Emmaus vs. Parkland Saucon Valley vs. Palisades
Gary Laubach Northampton Allen Emmaus Saucon Valley
Tony Cocca  Northampton Dieruff Emmaus Saucon Valley
Keith Groller  Northampton Dieruff Emmaus Saucon Valley
Chris Michael  Whitehall Allen Parkland Saucon Valley

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

HS Football Week 9

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

First of all, thanks to all of last week’s “SportsTalk” guests…even with Keith Groller on another assignment, we had no shortage of big-named personalities on our program.

For our Pennsylvania sports fans, District XI Football Chair Jason Zimmerman joined me in-studio and discussed the changes with the district’s playoff system and other rule changes for high school football.  “Zim” also gave our audience a great overview of the local playoff races and insights on many of the teams in the RCN-TV coverage area.

For sports fans in the Washington DC area…we had interviews featuring players and coaches from the 8-0 HD Woodson football team.  Woodson is tied with several of the other top teams in the DMV for first in the 6A divisional playoff race.

Then, following our live preview from the Meadowlands which covered that evening’s Giants/Eagles game, we also chatted with Mt. Vernon Head Football Coach Monty Fritts about the amazing job he’s done turning around his program.  Coach Fritts took over a team that had gone 3-26 in the three years prior to his taking over the helm and has guided the Majors to an 18-9 record so far during his tenure.

He reported that the team he took over had just 37 students on the roster and they didn’t even have money to buy new uniforms that were badly needed.  The team hadn’t had consistent, sustained success in decades.  Fritts reported players would be ashamed to wear their “MV” lettermen jackets in public and that the football program was frequently the target of jokes in the community because of its futility.

Now, he has over 120 students competing for spots.  He has players at or near the top in a number of key statistical categories.  His team has broken 31 school records over the last two years and, should their success continue this fall, it would be just the second time in school history that his school made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons (the first time was in the 1930s).  His turnaround story is one of the most dramatic in the entire nation.

All of these “SportsTalk” interviews are available through RCN On-Demand and via our podcasts found here on the RCN-TV website.

 

It’s time for this week’s edition of our high school football polls for teams in the District XI  region…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Parkland

4)  Stroudsburg

5)  Easton

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Notre Dame

3)  Northwestern

4)  Saucon Valley

Our poll remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

“Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have much diversity in this week’s “Pick 4” contest…

The
“PICK 4”
Liberty vs. Whitehall Emmaus vs. Bethlehem Catholic Salisbury vs. Palmerton Saucon Valley vs. Notre Dame 
Gary Laubach Liberty Bethlehem Catholic Palmerton Notre Dame
Tony Cocca  Liberty Bethlehem Catholic Salisbury Notre Dame
Keith Groller  Liberty Bethlehem Catholic Palmerton Notre Dame
Chris Michael  Liberty Bethlehem Catholic Palmerton Notre Dame

 

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

 

Ballou/HS Football Week 7

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

People in the DMV have probably heard about the controversy surrounding Senior Running Back Jamal Speaks this fall—the player who became homeless and, by rule, was determined ineligible to play football for Ballou High School—until last weekend.

But rising from that dispute were several great stories about the Knights football program—many Head Coach Minoso Rodgers addressed with me on last Thursday’s “RCN SportsTalk” show (available to watch On-Demand and at rcn.com/rcntv/sports-talk .)

Among those highlights include…

  • The outstanding character exhibited by Speaks and his teammates through a trying first month of the season
  • The support of Ballou’s students and the community for speaking out and bringing pressure for him to be reinstated
  • The Knights’ ability to brush off the controversy and win its most recent two games against tough rival opponents

Not to be lost is the outstanding achievements from last year’s squad—one that captured its first Public League, and DCSAA championship in 12 years.  And, one that saw its first-year head coach named the “USA Today” DC Coach of the Year.

I had the pleasure to speak with Coach Rodgers a number of times over the last 10 days and I could truly hear that he cares deeply about his kids.  In our conversations, it was very evident that he was constantly looking to promote his student-athletes and give them the credit for the program’s successes, even above his own efforts.

Hopefully, eligibility issues are now behind the team and sports fans can concentrate on these positives about the Ballou program going forward!

Last weekend was not the most competitive collection of games we’ve ever had on RCN-TV as Parkland, Freedom and Emmaus all reached “mercy rule status” in their victories by either the second quarter or on their first possession of the second half…

It’s time for this week’s edition of our high school football polls for teams in the District XI  region…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)   Northampton

 “Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Saucon Valley

3)  Northwestern

4) Notre Dame

Our poll remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

“Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

Now, RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and I team with The Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh in on four of the biggest District XI high school games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Emmaus vs. Freedom Easton vs. Bethlehem Catholic Liberty vs. Central Catholic Palmerton vs. Wilson
Gary Laubach Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Liberty Palmerton
Tony Cocca  Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Liberty Palmerton
Keith Groller  Emmaus Bethlehem Catholic Central Catholic Palmerton
Chris Michael  Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Central Catholic Palmerton

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

 

 

 

 

Villanova/Football Week 7 Preview

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.
Offensive linemen don’t ever get much publicity…unless they do something wrong.  But Bethlehem native Louis Csaszar has been carving out a standout career while doing some great things at Villanova University.

He not only became a regular starter in his sophomore season, but also that year was named to the CAA Football All-Academic team.  He’s continued to be a key member of that O-Line ever since.

We caught up with Louis recently on “SportsTalk” to ask him about both his individual and team successes in the NCAAs, as well as his close-up perspective of the school’s basketball team’s two — count ‘em, TWO–National Championships, while he has been on campus…

Villanova has a tough schedule ahead of them but Wildcats’ Head Coach Mark Ferrante has built a solid program and this team should continue to be fun to watch for the next two months.

Last weekend on RCN-TV we had the opportunity to see a team from outside our coverage area go up against a Notre Dame team that desperately needed to avoid picking up a third loss in September.

It’s time for this week’s edition of our high school football polls for teams in the District XI  region…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)   Northampton

 “Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Saucon Valley

3)  Northwestern

4) Notre Dame

Our poll remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

“Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

As we have surpassed the halfway point of the high school football regular season, I wanted to give an update on how we are all doing on guessing the winners each week for our “Pick 4” contest.

  • Gary Laubach – 17 wins
  • Keith Groller – 17 wins
  • Chris Michael – 17 wins
  • Tony Cocca – 16 wins

Don’t forget, on each Thursday “SportsTalk” show, Keith and I usually spend a few minutes recapping the “Pick 4” standings along with offering a few thoughts on our contests, in addition to pointing out more observations and opinions about the following weekend’s games.

Hopefully we can “break up” the log jam in the standings this week as we all weigh in on four of the biggest high school games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Easton vs. Freedom Southern Lehigh vs. Northwestern Liberty vs. Nazareth Salisbury vs. Northern Lehigh
Gary Laubach Freedom Northwestern Nazareth Northern Lehigh
Tony Cocca  Freedom Southern Lehigh Nazareth Northern Lehigh
Keith Groller  Freedom Northwestern Nazareth Salisbury
Chris Michael  Freedom Northwestern Nazareth Northern Lehigh

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

Don’t be surprised if a few plays from these games come up again on our “year-in-review” recollections in a few months—both on the TV “SportsTalk” program and here at “The Shop.”

 

 

 

The SportsTalk Shop: HS Football: Week 6 Preview

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

While Emmaus has been a perennial title holder for girls’ field hockey in Eastern Pennsylvania, the Easton squad finds itself undefeated through the first month of their scholastic schedule.   We preview this Friday’s big Eastern Pennsylvania Conference showdown between the Rovers and the Green Hornets on “RCN SportsTalk.”

You can see highlights and more field hockey interviews by watching “SportsTalk” this Thursday at 7pm live on RCN-TV or through RCN On-Demand.

Turning our attention to the high school gridiron, we had three football games last weekend on RCN…

It’s time for this week’s edition of our high school football polls for teams in the District XI region…

“Big” Schools Poll

1) Freedom
2) Emmaus
3) Easton
4) Parkland
5) Northampton

“Small” School Poll

1) Bethlehem Catholic
2) Saucon Valley
3) Palisades
4) Northwestern

Our poll remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, Dieruff, Pocono Mountain West, Freedom, Stroudsburg, Pleasant Valley, Northampton, Nazareth, Whitehall, Southern Lehigh, East Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

“Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams — Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern, Wilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

The “PICK 4” Northampton vs. E. S’burg South Palisades vs. Notre Dame *on RCN-TV Dieruff vs. S’burg North Nazareth vs. Parkland
Gary Laubach Northampton Palisades Dieruff Parkland
Tony Cocca
 
Northampton Palisades Dieruff Parkland
Keith Groller
 
Northampton Notre Dame Dieruff Parkland
Chris Michael
 
Northampton Palisades Dieruff Parkland

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

HS Football: Week 5 Preview

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

An extra big shout-out to our fall sports athletes as the remnants of Hurricane Florence stormed through our coverage area, arriving just as most contests were getting underway.  As I could attest, the pounding rain made for ultra-slick conditions and tough visibility (yes, I was out in the storm at a soccer match—thoroughly protected, I thought, with an umbrella, hat and rain slicker).

The players I talked with afterwards said it was an interesting experience and told me they had a lot of fun playing in the sloppy, soaking conditions.

For me?  I’ll be doubling-down on the Vitamin-C for the next few days as I continue to try to dry out from the event.

As far as high school football this past weekend, we had a pair of great games on RCN-TV as both Easton and Bethlehem Catholic won in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion…

Don’t be surprised if a few plays from these games come up again on our “year-in-review” recollections in a few months—both on the TV “SportsTalk” program and here at “The Shop.”

With those games behind us, it’s time for this week’s edition of our high school football polls for teams in the District XI region…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)   Northampton

 “Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Palisades

3)  Saucon Valley

4)  Northwestern

Our poll remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West. Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

“Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

Now, I won’t spend much time pointing out that I was the ONLY person who picked winless Whitehall to beat 2-1 Central Catholic last weekend in our “Pick 4” contest…

(pause here for your applause)

…but as my former “SportsTalk” partner’s favorite line goes, “even a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while.”

So here we go with this week’s football experts (and me) weighing in on four of the biggest high school games this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Easton vs. Emmaus  Northwestern vs. Bangor Southern Lehigh vs. Palisades Liberty vs. Parkland
Gary Laubach Emmaus Northwestern Palisades Parkland
Tony Cocca  Emmaus Northwestern Palisades Parkland
Keith Groller  Emmaus Northwestern Palisades Parkland
Chris Michael  Emmaus Northwestern Palisades Parkland

Check back next week for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.