November 09, 2018
By: Dan Fremuth
A can't-miss weekend of District XI football playoff action is on the horizon. In the 6A class, top-seeded Freedom will host the six-time defending district champs in #5 Parkland Saturday at BASD Stadium at the same time 2nd-seeded Emmaus welcomes #3 Easton to East Penn School District Stadium. Meanwhile, in the 4A classification, #1 Bethlehem Catholic will host #4 Pottsville while the 2 vs. 3 match-up pits a pair of Colonial League powers against one another in Saucon Valley and Northwestern Lehigh. Finally, and this is last but certainly not least, the third-seeded Notre Dame Green Pond Crusaders will head to Lehighton Saturday evening for the 3A title game against #1 North Schuylkill.
Throughout the week on Lehigh Valley Sports Scene, we've heard from many of the players and coaches leading up to this weekend's tremendous slate. In preparing to host four episodes of Sports Scene this week, I've done a decent bit of digging into our local teams and have uncovered a few fun factoids I thought it was worth sharing here. These are in no particular order - just some interesting notes heading into a captivating weekend.
- Freedom is trying to reach its fourth District title game in program history. The Patriots lost the last two 6A Finals vs. Parkland (30-6 in 2017, 24-14 in 2016). The only other District Finals Freedom reached was in 2008 against rival Liberty. The Hurricanes knocked off the Patriots 28-14 that year. Of course, Freedom is in this year's semi-finals thanks to an opening round victory over Liberty last week.
- Parkland is making its 8th straight appearance in the District tournament and 21st in program history. The Trojans have won 6 straight titles and 10 championships overall (1996, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012-17). What's more, Parkland has appeared in 13 District title games.
- Freedom defeated Parkland 21-20 in Week 3 during the regular season. The Trojans got within one in the game's final minute but missed an extra point to tie the game. Parkland kicker Devin Bartholomew attempted 42 extra points this season and made every single one except that one.
- Notre Dame Green Pond is looking for its third District title in the last 4 years. The Crusaders defeated Pen Argyl in the 3A Final in 2016 after edging Northwestern Lehigh in the 2A Final in 2015.
- This will be the 4th straight year in which Notre Dame will face North Schuylkill in the District tournament. The Crusaders beat the Spartans in the 3A Quarterfinals last year after edging North Schuylkill in the semi-finals in 2016 and 2015. Like Notre Dame, North Schuylkill enters Saturday's title game 10-1 with its only loss of the season coming in Week 7 vs. Tamaqua - the team the Crusaders defeated 40-33 last week to reach the 3A Finals.
- Emmaus is looking to make its first-ever trip to the District title game. Meanwhile, Easton has won 7 District titles (1990, 91, 93, 2003, 04, 09, 10) in 18 championship games.
- The Red Rovers and Green Hornets last met in the District playoffs on November 12, 2004 when Easton edged Emmaus 14-7 en route to its 5th district championship.
- Emmaus defeated Easton 30-28 in Week 5 of the regular season. The Green Hornets rushed for 328 yards that evening thanks three 100-yard rushing performances (Ethan Parvel - 148, Lubens Myers - 138, Brandon Camire - 111). Emmaus rushed for 386 yards in last week's victory vs. Nazareth with Myers running for 135 while Sone Ntoh produced a game-high 205 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Easton ran for 303 yards in last Friday's 39-19 win vs. Northampton and produced two 100-yards backs (Harold Reynolds - 145, Mahki DeSilva - 113).
- Bethlehem Catholic is looking for its third straight trip to the 4A title game and fifth over the last six years. The Golden Hawks have won the district title in each of its last four trips to the championship game, including three straight triumphs over the Saucon Valley Panthers (2017, 2016, 2014).
- Meanwhile, the Panthers are looking for their fifth straight trip to the district title game. Saucon Valley claimed the 2015 3A title with a 56-20 victory over Lehighton - after edging Bethlehem Catholic in the semi-finals 14-6.