The (Ir)regular Season

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Well, we made it.  The Covid-19 “regular season” for high school football has come to a close.  I know that teams can still add to their schedules either by making the district playoffs or by adding games until the end of November, but the original schedules are complete.  So what have we learned from the league games going into the District XI playoffs:

  • Nazareth REALLY wanted to defend both their EPC South title and looks to be the favorite to defend their District 6A title.  Although there is no official champion designated this year in the Northampton Division, Nazareth was the only team to get through a very tough gauntlet of opponents undefeated.  Despite losing some very talented seniors, they still played at the highest level.  Credit must go to Coach Tom Falzone and his staff.
  • Whitehall is a much improved football team.  Kudos must go to Matt Senneca and his staff.  They took a team that did not win a game last year to a 3-3 record that included admirable performances even in their losses.  They scored 24 and 28 points against Parkland and Emmaus despite losing.
  • It’s very hard to replace your starting quarterback.  Both Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic were playing at their highest level when their starters went out – one by suspension and one by injury.  With a few weeks of practice, it will be interesting to see how far their replacements can help carry their teams.
  • If I had to pick an MVP (and I don’t, but I will) for the regular season, it would be Nazareth’s Matt Bugbee.  The quarterback/kicker has thrown for over 1000 yards and seven touchdowns; he has rushed for 186 yards, disregarding sacks and has scored seven touchdowns; he has scored 30 more points as the field goal and extra point kicker.  Add to that, Matt has become the quickest player to change shoes in the middle of a play countdown to go from a running shoe to a kicker’s shoe.  I’ve watched and it is not easy.
  • Four running backs have really impressed me: Matt Russin of Freedom, Brandon Camire of Emmaus, Nahjee Adams of Easton, and Isiah Rico of Parkland.  If I were a head coach (and I’m sure everyone is happy I’m not), I would have no idea which one I would start, nor any clear opinion what the rotation would be.  Suffice it to say, they are all exceptional.
  • Northampton deserves to be in Districts.  They were beaten out because of “power” points by Pleasant Valley.  PV was 1-2 beating only East Stroudsburg North, a team that did not win a game.  Northampton played five games; each one against a tougher opponent than PV faced and finished 1-4.  Their losses were against Freedom, Nazareth, Easton, and Whitehall.  Their win was against Liberty.  I feel confident that all five of Northampton’s opponents would have beaten PV.  So, Northampton plays a much tougher schedule and more games and pays the penalty.  Damn math!
  • Despite the fact that there were only five or six “regular” season games, the important thing is that there WERE games.  Athletic directors, principals, coaches, and players all need to be congratulated for maintaining safety precautions, along with the RCN-TV team who figured out the safest way to bring games to our viewers.

On to districts – the (ir)regular season is over. 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. I hope you saw former Nazareth star Jahan Dotson in action on Saturday night against Ohio State.  Here is a recap of his night.  Watch until the end.  Two catches are almost indescribable. Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBUh_Pj3voE

  1. Good news came out of Bethlehem this week when it was announced that Liberty and Freedom will do their best to play the rivalry game.  A date is dependent on Freedom’s success in the district playoffs, but there should be a place for the game sometime in November.  Along those same lines, Easton and Phillipsburg will play Thanksgiving Day at Phillipsburg.  All good news.
  1. Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson has to stop thinking he should go for it on 4th and short.  It has backfired too many times this year.  On Sunday night, he did it twice against the Cowboys and failed to make it, giving Dallas the ball close to midfield.  Both times, the opponent kicked a field goal.  Six of the Cowboys nine points came on those unsuccessful 4th down attempts.  Against an inept offensive unit like the Cowboys, this was not the time to go for it.
  1. The Bills beat the Patriots on Sunday.  So?  It was only the sixth time in the last 41 games that that has happened!!  It was the first time since 2016 and the first time for Bills’ head coach Sean McDermott and it put the Bills 3-1/2 games ahead of the Patriots in the standings.
  1. District playoff action begins this week in high school football.  We think we have a really good match-up for you on Friday night at 7:00 PM when Easton travels to Emmaus.  The two teams did not compete during the regular season and both played in different divisions.  

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 5-8; OVERALL- 78-38-1 – 67%)

San Francisco

Atlanta

Seattle

Tennessee

Baltimore

Kansas City

Minnesota

Giants

Houston

Las Vegas

Pittsburgh

Arizona

Tampa Bay

New England

 

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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