DAWK & MITCH

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.

My very first full-length sit-down interview with a professional athlete was Eagles’ Safety Brian Dawkins.

I was nervous as all-heck.

Dawkins was just entering his prime and was one of the biggest sports personalities in all of Philadelphia.  I had been working at Philly’s Sportsradio WIP (the number one sports radio station in the nation at that time) and I had done some group interviews, but nothing “one on one.”

Of course, I figured if I messed up this interview, I might never get another chance again and my entire career would be ruined!  I had heard some horrible stories from seasoned journalists about how rude pro athletes can be (along with lots of encouraging words) but I was afraid he’d turn out to be another Chase Utley–someone who always appears gracious on camera but bites reporters’ heads off the second they ask a question that he has the slightest problem with.

I could not have been more wrong.

Brian was as wonderful a big time personality as I ever had the good fortune to interview.  He said he was honored to be interviewed by me (I knew he didn’t, but what a thing to say??) and made for pleasant talk before the interview, joked around a little, and then gave clear and well thought out responses to all of my questions.  I could not have imagined a better experience and it was a tremendous confidence boost for the hundreds of sit-down interviews I’ve done since.

I had the good fortune to interview Brian again twice more…once when he was “on the way out” of Philly (one of the dumbest things the Eagles did–and they’ve made a lot of “brain dead” decisions).  Dawkins was once again as kind and as considerate as he was the first time, even though he was no longer on top of the world and his career as an athlete was in decline.

A few years after that, I had him on RCN SportsTalk this time as a retired ball player who looked back at his career and his road ahead as a family man, a tremendous banquet event and inspirational speaker and as a businessman.  He was, and is, a tremendous person and a joy to interview.

Brian Mitchell is very similar to Dawkins.

Both are tremendous athletes who have done great work in their respective communities.  Both are terrific interviewees and give deep, thought-provoking answers and are pleasures to speak with.

Also, both athletes “get it;” aka, they’ve always known they are not “God’s gift” to mankind, even though they both are two of the greatest football players I (and millions of others) have ever seen.

I also first had a sit-down interview with Mitchell when he first came to the Eagles.  Although it was later in his career and, by this time, it was not my first “one on one” with a pro athlete either, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him and had a great radio interview with him.

Shortly after Mitchell retired, I interviewed him again for television and, just like Dawkins, he was a great person to speak with and gave just as wonderful an interview as before.

And this week, much like Dawk did, Mitchell will be giving a sit-down interview on this Thursday’s SportsTalk program.

Much like the third time I interviewed Dawkins, Mitchell will be looking back at his career and all his highlights, including memorable experiences with his playing time in Washington, Philadelphia and New York.  But he will also be discussing growing up in less-than-ideal conditions, how football helped save his life and many more important issues than just “Xs and Os.”

We hope you will tune in to hear his stories and insights.

FINAL HS FB POLL 2020

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.

Well…we MADE it!

Honestly, back in August when I first heard the unofficial .. and then the “official”… plan for fall sports in the Lehigh Valley, I was skeptical.

The local administrators had put in a TON of time putting together an action plan for trying to play as many games as protocols allowed–limiting the amount of travel, the number of teams any one school would face and other modifications to try to keep kids safe.

By the third week of October, the playoffs had started for all fall sports but football, and only a handful of schools had to cancel more than one sporting event due to COVID.  Considering how the weather usually wreaks havoc with scheduling, this was really an amazing accomplishment to get in as many games as they did.

Then things changed.

The number of reported cases of the virus spiked and numerous schools across the region either closed or reverted back to “hybrid” learning strategies.  Sports teams either had to cancel their seasons or forfeit games–a few while in the running for championships.

Journalists in the area who have covered sports for many more years than I have agreed it was THE wildest ending to a fall sports campaign they had ever seen.  Games were canceled due to one school reporting COVID cases, then that school would be “OK” and the games were back on…only to have the OTHER school have to postpone or forfeit because THEY then had reported cases.

Some games were announced as “cancelled completely” one day, only to have that change and be played a few days later.  Some games were played on Mondays, Thursdays and even Sundays–days that were unheard of (and used to be ‘off-limits’) in previous years.

Sometimes there were different sets of rules even within the same school district.  Parkland had nearly all of its fall sports teams continue with state championship runs despite having the school closed due to the virus.  Meanwhile, the football team had to end their playoff hunt prematurely, even though they would have been heavy favorites to beat Stroudsburg and advance in the district playoffs.

So it is with just as much skepticism (and I sincerely hope I’m wrong) that we will be embarking on the winter sports season in a few weeks, and I’m hoping the number of cases can miraculously drop dramatically between now and then.

But before we do, it’s time to take our final look at our RCN high school football polls for our Lehigh Valley teams.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Nazareth

2) Freedom        

3) Emmaus  

4) Parkland

5) Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Northern Lehigh

5) Southern Lehigh 

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

There weren’t too many surprises for our Colonial League poll–four of the five teams finished the season in exactly the same spot they started in our pre-season poll back in mid-September.  The only exception was Northern Lehigh — the lone “honorable mention” team in our pre-season picks — moved up into the #4 spot, while the team that owned that spot back in September — Saucon Valley — had its season prematurely end because of the virus.

The EPC Poll had a couple wrinkles, with Nazareth (our pre-season #5 team) reaching and winning the district championship game (SportsTalk Co-Host Keith Groller had them much lower in his own personal poll–listing them fifth in their own division, let alone making our top five in the area–something that did not set well with many of our Blue Eagles’ viewers).  Central Catholic was another team that received pre-season votes but did not make our “Top 5” in September.  However, a playoff win over “our” #5 team, Bethlehem Catholic, and their subsequent win in the 4A District Title game gave the Vikings the credibility to move up over the Golden Hawks.

Traditionally, we have not done a basketball poll in the winter–with the sports seasons overlapping and the holiday season “interrupting” the winter season, it usually doesn’t provide the regular, weekly interest of a football poll.  However, 2020 is not your typical year.  With our high school football season ending nearly a month earlier than normal, it’s something I’m considering incorporating in our blogs and “SportsTalk” show for over the next few months.

Would you like a high school basketball poll this winter?  And, how would you like to see it laid out–EPC vs. Colonial?  Big schools vs. small?  Boundary vs. non-boundary?

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts and check back in a couple weeks to see what the majority of our readers would like to see!

 

DMV Update/HS Football Poll

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.

Before we take a look at the high school football landscape in Pennsylvania, a quick update on scholastic sports down in the DMV.

As we mentioned a few months ago, most high schools in this region postponed their fall sports until the spring season and their winter sports will be starting later than normal.

This doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been any significant news from a local sports perspective.

One of the biggest noteworthy additions came at Maryland’s National Christian Academy, where former collegiate coach Kenny Johnson was named the school’s athletic director and the boys basketball head coach.

Johnson not only brings a wealth of experience in coaching at the scholastic, collegiate and AAU levels but also has great insights on the recruiting process, preparing kids to play at the next level and many other aspects of basketball. He’s also coached players that are now playing in the NBA and shared some great stories about them with me recently.

Here is a clip of our interview with Coach Johnson–one of several winter sports interviews featuring teams from both Eastern Pennsylvania and the greater Washington, DC region that will be on upcoming editions of RCN SportsTalk.

Many schools in the DMV have not had any “official” practices.  Others have had limited “skill sessions” on school grounds. However, early in the new year, expect the high school basketball action to heat up provided that the reported COVID-19 cases don’t increase too dramatically over the next month and a half.

That brings us to our second-to-last week for the SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our media voters usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of official Colonial League and EPC champions, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5 

1) Nazareth

2) Freedom        

3) Emmaus  

4) Parkland

5) Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Northern Lehigh

5) Southern Lehigh 

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

HS FB POLL: 11/10

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.

One of the great traditional football rivalry games that was able to be played in the Lehigh Valley this year was the battle for the Slate Belt title — Bangor versus Pen Argyl.

The game went right down to the wire with a last minute game-winning touchdown by the Green Knights, led by first year Head Coach Brady Mutton (a recent guest on SportsTalk–which you can view again through RCN on demand).  It was a great day for football last Saturday and terrific for football fans of that region to have this traditional rivalry game played, albeit with limited capacity, during the pandemic.

Here are the annual awards of the 101st meeting between these two teams:

Charles R. Sampson Award: Recognizes the outstanding lineman in the annual game.
Recipient:  Reese Karp

Bangor Most Valuable Player Award: (Sponsored by the Slater Football Alumni)
Recipient:  Jared Reto

Pen Argyl Most Valuable Player Award: (Sponsored by the Green & White Athletic Association of Pen Argyl)
Recipient:  Collin McKeague

Slate Belt Award: Awarded to the victor of this year’s Pen Argyl – Bangor game.
Recipient:  Pen Argyl Green Knights 28-21

That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN On Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of official Colonial League and EPC champions, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

We actually didn’t have much movement this week.  The only EPC change was Emmaus’s loss teamed with Freedom’s win last weekend, causing the two schools to flip-flop positions.

The top three teams in the Colonial League all won last weekend. Our fourth and fifth ranked teams, Saucon Valley (forfeit due to COVID-19) and Southern Lehigh (lost to Whitehall), both had their playoff runs come to an end last weekend.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5 

1) Nazareth

2) Freedom

3)  Emmaus  

4) Parkland

5) Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Saucon Valley

5) Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades
 

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

Tune in to this week’s SportsTalk show as RCN commentator John Leone will recap last weekend’s playoff games and look ahead to this weekend’s Class 5A/3A championship games and the 6A/4A/2A semifinal matchups this week.

We’ll also visit with members of the Parkland girls volleyball team, who last weekend captured their seventh straight District XI 4A championship–their 10th district title in the last 11 seasons–and will be competing in their first round of state competition this upcoming weekend.

HS FB POLL: 11/3

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.

2020 has certainly been a bizarre year to say the least and that trend continued as we reached the end of the high school football regular season in the District XI region.

On the one hand, many people would have been thoroughly shocked back in August if we made it through Halloween without a rash of games being canceled in the Lehigh Valley this fall.

District Football Chair Jason Zimmerman was on SportsTalk last week to give his insights on all the things that went well for high school sports so far this fall.  He made a point of saying that both he as well as most local administrators were thrilled with getting in as many games as they have and felt that we are overly fortunate just to be able to get to a football postseason.

(He also gave a preview of some of the changes that will be taking place for this fall’s postseason–including brand new information on spectator attendance policies!  If you missed the program, RCN customers can watch it again for free through RCN on demand.)

However….

While we had only a handful of cancellations through September and most of October, we now enter the postseason with at least six local teams coming off a weekend in which their games were canceled because of Covid concerns.

Four of the 10 teams mentioned in this week’s polls did not play last weekend as they looked to embark on a postseason run but are  coming off what ended up being a rare “bye week” to close out the regular season.  Notre Dame, who had played well through September and October, will enter the Class 3A district playoffs as the top seed out of the Lehigh Valley, yet haven’t played a game in two weeks and are still facing speculation if they will be healthy enough to play this weekend.

Saucon Valley School District also reported at least two cases of the coronavirus on Friday, yet are scheduled to play Bethlehem Catholic this Saturday.

Interesting times, indeed.

That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of official Colonial League and EPC champions, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5 

1) Nazareth

2) Emmaus  

3) Freedom

4) Parkland

5) Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Southern Lehigh

5) Saucon Valley

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

 

 

HS FB POLL: 10/27

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 no one has been able to stop our number one ranked Colonial League football team, Notre Dame, the coronavirus did deliver a bit of a blow to them last weekend. With several students testing positive, all athletics at the school were shut down this past week, including the Crusaders game against Pen Argyl last Friday night.  (The virus also impacted the school’s girls volleyball team as their championship game was canceled – thereby handing Southern Lehigh the league crown.)

Otherwise, there were a plethora of outstanding and competitive games throughout the Lehigh Valley last weekend.  Every EPC winner had to struggle to get a “W” with the exceptions of Nazareth, Freedom and Parkland.

In the end, however, there weren’t many surprises as far as the final outcome nor its winners.

Emmaus‘s three-point win over Whitehall will set up a very interesting matchup that you will be able to see on RCN TV this Friday night as the Hornets will take on Parkland. Gary Laubach and Mike Joseph will now call the game for both RCN and statewide for PCN, Friday night at 7:00 p.m.

That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of official Colonial League and EPC champions, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5 

1) Nazareth

2) Parkland

3) Freedom

4) Emmaus

5) Bethlehem Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Saucon Valley

5) Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

On this week’s “SportsTalk”…

Our guests will include District XI Football Chair Jason Zimmerman to get everyone set for the final weekend of regular season games, discuss playoff possibilities and the revamped playoff format used only for this coronavirus-shortened season.

We’ll also have members of the Moravian Academy girls tennis team that have won multiple championships this month alone, including winning the Colonial League regular season and tournament titles, District 11 2A championship, the Individual Singles title and more!

 

 

 

 

HS FB POLL: 10/20

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.

Once again, the Colonial League  had a number of competitive contests this past weekend, although it’s doubtful if any of our football experts could say that there were any surprise winners.

Our number one ranked Colonial League team, Notre Dame, defeated our number three Palisades and our number two Northwestern defeated our number four team, Salisbury.  Saucon Valley also had an entertaining game edging out Palmerton in a see-saw battle, 42-41.

In the EPC , it was not a good weekend for most of the inner city schools.  Nazareth easily defeated Freedom, and Bethlehem Catholic defeated Easton.  Northampton, Parkland and Whitehall all had blowout victories against Liberty, Dieruff and Allen, respectively.

That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of an official Colonial League and EPC champion, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have our first week of high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5 

1) Nazareth

2) Parkland

3) Emmaus

4) Freedom

5) Bethlehem Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Salisbury

5) Saucon Valley

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

On this week’s “SportsTalk”… 

Our guests will include Tom Housenick of the Morning Call who will join me to talk about high school football, boys and girls state golf tournament action and a look ahead to what is shaping up to be an intriguing high school wrestling campaign -complete with two Lehigh Valley teams competing as Pennsylvania’s first-ever girls wrestling teams this winter.

He will also talk about the Major League Baseball playoffs, the World Series, the Phillies‘ search for a new General Manager and other Hot Stove topics for teams in the National League East.

We’ll also continue to feature local coaches and players from different schools and teams from the RCN viewing area to talk about their fall seasons and issues they have been having while playing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

HS FB POLL FOR 10/12

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, with the exception of a couple Colonial League games, there weren’t very many tight contests this past weekend for high school football. However, that didn’t mean there weren’t a few noteworthy performances from around the area.

Salisbury had its second straight impressive showing with a decided win over Pen Argyl and moved up a spot in our poll.  Southern Lehigh fell out of our “Colonial League 5” with a thrilling one point loss to Saucon Valley, a team that was ranked fifth in our preseason poll.  The top three teams continued their winning ways as Notre Dame, Northwestern and Palisades notched wins with multiple touchdown-margins of victories.

In the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, the weekend unfolded pretty much as I had anticipated. Only the statewide pollsters (a group that I’ve been saying for over a decade is really a complete waste of effort, especially until you get closer to state playoff action) seemed surprised that Easton lost by multiple touchdowns to Freedom on Saturday in a game you saw on RCN TV.  The statewide poll had Easton ranked fourth in the state while Freedom didn’t even get mentioned.  Just for the record, we had Freedom ranked ahead of Easton in our preseason poll.

Our other RCN game last weekend had Bethlehem Catholic continuing its dominance over its crosstown rivals at Liberty.  In other action, Parkland easily shook off any apparent rust it had by posted an impressive win over Whitehall in their first game played of the season.

That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

(By the way, one of our pollsters has been saying that Nazareth is very underrated–this person will be crowing in a few weeks on the show if the Blue Eagles score a win this weekend over the Patriots.)

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of an official Colonial League and EPC champion, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have our first week of high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1)  Freedom

2) Parkland

3) Emmaus

4) Nazareth

5) Easton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Salisbury

5) Saucon Valley

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far, there could be changes from day to day.

On this week’s “SportsTalk”…

Our guests will be Allentown’s Dieruff High School new Boys Basketball Head Coach Marlon Randall and Athletic Director Dave Stout.  They’ll talk about the struggles that inner-city schools are going through and issues they are facing during the pandemic. Coach Randall has been active in local communities in Eastern Pennsylvania and will discuss why it’s important to have more African-American leaders in the community and ways that he and other coaches have been serving as positive role models for today’s student-athletes.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s Sports Talk show.

 

High School Football Poll

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, a great job by the RCN sports crew in bringing you our first high school football broadcast – remotely – last week on RCN TV.  Because of Covid-19, our staff broadcast its first game with half of our crew back at the studio, while following all the safety protocols and did an amazing job bringing you all the sights and sounds of last weekend’s Freedom / Northampton game. Be sure to check out Gary’s blog this week here on our website for more on this special occasion.

That brings us to our second week of input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of an official Colonial League and EPC champion, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who in fact is the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights through the winter months).

So below we have our first week of high school polls for both leagues, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s Sports Talk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1)  Freedom

2) Parkland

3) Easton

4) Emmaus

5) Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, Northampton and Easton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP

2) Northwestern

3) Palisades

4) Southern Lehigh

5) Salisbury


Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far, there could be changes from day to day.

 

 

High School Football Polls Returns

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.

Believe me, there were plenty of times over the last few months where I thought this day would never come.

At least, not in the year 2020.

With high school sports shut down until 2021 in many of the RCN viewing areas, including the Delaware Valley and in the DMV, scholastic football and other fall athletics are back in session this week for the Lehigh Valley and District XI.

The official kickoff for the Colonial League football season was last weekend but this Friday marks the return of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference games and, with it, RCN-TV’s first broadcast this fall.

With it, marks the return of RCN SportsTalk High School Football Poll, with a few new wrinkles for this season.

The first and most obvious one is that we will be conducting the poll for fewer weeks this season and we will only be doing it for as long as teams in our coverage area are still playing (if all goes well, that should be through the end of November this year.)

Secondly, with EPC league games limited to teams playing each other within their own county and the Colonial League teams altering their schedules, aka playing opponents based largely on availability and “clean bills of health,” we have altered our two sets of poll.

Instead of having a big school and small school poll as in years past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools.  With the reduced schedules, this change for our poll will make things a bit more interesting since many of the top teams within the local conferences will not have the opportunity to actually face each other this fall.

Without the crowning of an official Colonial League and EPC champion, our poll will be an intriguing barometer to who is, in fact, the best team in each conference (and, of course, bragging rights).

So below we have our first week of high school polls for both leagues.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on how you like our new setup for the high school football season and your thoughts on whether this is something we should continue for future years. 

Also, if you have any opinions or suggestions on how we might improve our polls for the future, feel free to express those thoughts to me as well.

Let the games begin!

EPC-Lehigh Valley TOP 5

Other schools receiving at least one vote: Emmaus

COLONIAL TOP 5

Other schools receiving at least one vote: Northern Lehigh

RCN-TV Programming Notes:

Coming up on this week’s “SportsTalk” show, our guest will include Easton Athletic Director and EPC Football Chair Jim Prokivsak. Jim will update us on the league’s latest news, the ever-evolving fall football schedules and reasons behind altering the schedules the way they did (which some people, including many in the Allentown School District, are not thrilled with).  He’ll also give updates on his Rovers continuing its Thanksgiving Day rivalry game with Phillipsburg, an update on the renovations at Cottingham Stadium and thoughts on being one of the first schools in Pennsylvania to start an organized girls high school wrestling program.  

We’ll also have members of the defending District XI girls soccer champions from Freedom High School, whose season kicks off later this week.

And be sure to catch our high school football coverage this weekend.  On Friday at 7:00 p.m. we’ll have live coverage of Freedom vs. Northampton.