Behind the Mic: Football is Here!

Friday, August 26, at 7:00pm, the high school football season begins!  I know it seems early.  That’s because it is.  To accommodate the addition of two more classifications (AAAAAA and AAAAA), and the PIAA state championship finals, the season begins a week earlier than in the past.  Remember when no games were played until after Labor Day – this year, two will be played BEFORE Labor Day!  That’s the earliest start ever for Pennsylvania.  And the earliest finish to the regular season if your team does not have a Thanksgiving Day game – October 28-29.  Good or bad, that’s the way it is.

If you want to look ahead already to Districts, here are the Lehigh Valley teams and their classes:

AAAAAA – Allen, Dieruff, Easton, Emmaus, Freedom, Liberty, Nazareth, Northampton, and Parkland.
AAAAA – Southern Lehigh, Whitehall (both are guaranteed a spot in Districts with only four teams)
AAAA – Central Catholic, Bangor, Bethlehem Catholic, Northern Lehigh, Saucon Valley
AAA – Northern Lehigh, Notre Dame, Palisades, Pen Argyl, Salisbury, Wilson
AA – Catasauqua
A – No Lehigh Valley schools

Five new coaches will lead their schools in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Colonial League.

In the EPC, Harold Fairclough replaces Randy Cuthbert at Emmaus.  Harold coached six years at Central and took the team to a state title in 2010.  Tim Moncman takes over the Parkland program replacing Jim Morgans, who won over 250 games with the Trojans.  Moncman coached 10 years at Liberty and took them to a state title in 2008.

Chris Labatch will start his first head coaching job at Wilson, replacing Matt Senneca.  He recently was the defensive coordinator for Saucon Valley, which is coming off a record-setting year.  Wilson was 1-9 last year.  Phil Sams is the new Saucon Valley coach.  He has the toughest act to follow as the Panthers went 14-1 last year under Matt Evancho.  Like Labatch, Sams was an assistant last year at Saucon.  Finally Phil Stambaugh will be the new head coach at Notre Dame – Green Pond.  Former head coach Chuck Muller has moved to Saucon as a defensive coordinator.  Stambaugh led Pius X to a 43-19 record before the school closed.

It appears that the EPC will be extremely competitive with Parkland coming back slightly to the pack.  I still think the Trojans will win the South, but Freedom, Easton, and Whitehall all could sneak in; Central will win the North. Saucon Valley will repeat as the champion of the Colonial League, but Notre Dame could surprise everyone.

I will be at Frank Banko Field on Friday night for the Central Catholic – Freedom game.  If you see me, say hello.  I will be wearing an RCN shirt and have a big smile on my face because FOOTBALL IS HERE!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

I need to preface my musings this week because they are about the Olympics and I watched the competitions on a big screen at poolside aboard the Anthem of the Seas while on a cruise.  I was amongst people from all over the world which made for an interesting perspective.  I recommend this viewing spot to anyone.

  1. Did you know there were lifeguards on duty at the swimming venue? The world’s greatest swimmers need a lifeguard?
  2. Fiji won their first gold medal ever when they beat Great Britain 43-7 in rugby.
  3. Simone Biles is “unworldly”. Four golds and a bronze and the best smile at the Games.
  4. Did you notice the difference in women’s beach volleyball uniforms when Egypt participated – skimpy bikinis covering little, on one side, and a hijab, covering everything but face, hands, and feet on the other.
  5. Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky performed as expected and that is not always easy to do.
  6. Ryan Lochte embarrassed himself, his fellow team members, and the US with his college drunken weekend escapade. There were few black marks at this Olympics, but this was one of them.