Behind the Mic: Feel-Good Stories

After spending around ten hours on the road this past weekend driving to Worcester, Massachusetts, and watching Lafayette get beaten badly by Holy Cross 42-0, I was not in a very good mood as I sat down to write this week’s blog.  After all, the Leopards, who have been completely decimated by injuries this season have been outscored by 122-7 the past three weeks and have not scored a point in the last ten quarters.  I spend quite a bit of time with the players and the coaches each week and feel their pain and sense of frustration.  It certainly weighs on all of them and I, too, by virtue of my relationships with them, feel equally “down”.

Suffice it to say, I sat at the keyboard on Monday morning and I needed a lift – a feel-good story.  But, I did not find one – I found THREE!  I don’t know whether you need to read these stories as much as I needed to write them.

Let me start with a former Easton High defensive football player named Chevy Graham.  You may not remember the name.  He was part of Easton’s two District Championship teams in 2009 and 2010 and started in the secondary the next two years and played in the McDonald’s All-Star Football Classic.  He was not offered any Division I scholarships and only one Division II offer (East Stroudsburg University) came his way.  But, he always felt he could play at a higher level.  When his father moved to Wichita, Kansas, Chevy decided to apply to Kansas University and play football.  He decided that; Kansas University still needed to be convinced.

So, his first semester, he sat in the stands for every game.  The following January, he went to a tryout for the KU team.  And just like he had predicted, he made the team!  The first year, he played on special teams.  This season, he is now a starter in the secondary as a cornerback and living his dream to play Division I football.

And lest you think Chevron (his real name) is just going to school for football, he is a chemical engineering student who is a member of the Academic Big 12 team, and is an Honor Roll student.  Just like his major, he was able to formulate a plan to enjoy a game he loves and play it at the highest level.  Read more about Chevy in Jesse Newell’s post:

http://cjonline.com/sports/hawkzone/2015-10-15/stands-starter-kus-chevy-graham-rewarded-leap-faith

The next two “feel-good” stories center around two of our Lehigh Valley teams – the Allen Canaries and the Dieruff Huskies.  This past weekend both of them won!  If you do not think that’s a big deal, the last time the two Allentown schools won on the same weekend was November 8, 2002, 13 years ago!

Dieruff beat Pocono Mountain West 33-20.  Now Dieruff has won other games this year (over ES North and Pocono Mountain East) and they did win four games last year, so their plight has not been quite as desperate as the Allen Canaries.

Allen had not won a football game since 2009 – they had lost 28 in a row.  Last year, they were outscored 403-71 and ended the season by being shut out by Dieruff 35-0.  This season, prior to their 28-27 win over East Stroudsburg South, they had been outscored 296-57.

As a former player and coach, I have the utmost respect for kids and coaches who continue week after week to go out and compete knowing the outcome will not be favorable.  These same kids still hit the weight room, still practice five days a week, still take the field on Friday night, still attend classes, still remain academically eligible, and still hope.  It is so easy to just walk away from this commitment especially when it is rare to reap the rewards with victories.

High praise belongs to the head coaches – Kyle Beller of Dieruff and George Clay of Allen, who, also, persevere and, every now and then, they get rewarded for their efforts, maybe not in wins, but in the gratification of working with his players.  This weekend, however, both were rewarded with wins!

That’s what happened this weekend, so congratulations to Chevy, to Dieruff, and to Allen.  And now, I “feel-good”.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Mets or Royals? Royals really have good hitters up and down the lineup.  I like the Mets’ pitching.  The Mets are destined to win the World Series.
  2. Watching the Eagles on Sunday, who do you blame for the losses? The receivers drop too many passes; Sam Bradford throws too many interceptions; they cannot run the ball; and the hurry-up has little or no effect on the opponent.  And they still could win the NFC East.
  3. If you are looking for the perfect college football atmosphere this coming Saturday, watch undefeated #21 Temple take on #9 Notre Dame at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. This could be the best Temple team ever and the campus and Philadelphia area are ready to explode.  Notre Dame, with a national rabid following, will be out in full force.  The atmosphere will be electric!
  4. It’s a typical year in the EPC South – Liberty beats Parkland; Parkland beats Easton; Easton beats Liberty; with Central also beating Easton and Nazareth also beating Liberty, Parkland is looking like the champion. Freedom still has an outside shot.
  5. Freedom (7-1; 5-1) tries to rebound from their first loss of the season when they host Easton (7-1; 4-2). You can watch the game LIVE on RCN-TV.  At 10:00, the Colonial League championship should be decided when undefeated Notre Dame takes on undefeated Saucon Valley.  Saturday, Lafayette takes on Bucknell and Liberty plays Central.

Gary's Picks

NFL PICKS LAST WEEK – 7-7; OVERALL 68-37 (65%)
NFL PICKS (WEEK EIGHT)
 

NEW ENGLAND
KANSAS CITY
ATLANTA
ARIZONA
GIANTS
MINNESOTA
SAN DIEGO
CINCINNATI
TENNESSEE
JETS
SEATTLE
GREEN BAY
CAROLINA
ST LOUIS