November 01, 2018
By: Sean Fritz
The Nazareth Blue Eagles are getting set for their first round matchup in the district playoffs on Friday. The Blue Eagles wrapped up their regular season last Friday with a 34-31 loss at Cottingham Stadium in Easton. The loss put the Blue Eagles at a record of 5-5 overall, but fortunately for Head Coach Tom Falzone and company, still a good enough mark to secure a playoff berth in the District XI 6A Classification.
The loss to Easton really stood out not just because it was rivalry week in the East Penn Conference, but in something that plagued Nazareth earlier in the season, a questionable call that quite frankly may have decided the outcome of a game. Friday night’s call in question was something football fans are familiar with seeing at the pro and even the college level that begs the question of what is and what isn’t a catch. Well that question surfaced late in the fourth quarter in Easton on Friday when a catch was made by an Easton receiver that was jarred loose upon hitting the ground. But, the call on the field was a clean catch and without the luxury of instant replay in high school football, the play remained as called as the Red Rovers knocked off Nazareth in the season finale.
Unfortunately for Falzone and the Blue Eagles, this wasn’t the first time one of their games this season has ended in controversy. In Week 2, with the Blue Eagles hosting Emmaus, the game was decided on a last-ditch effort by Green Hornets' quarterback Ethan Parvel to complete a pass in the end zone, although it appeared to those on the Nazareth side that his knee may have touched the ground prior to the pass. In any event, the call was a completion and a touchdown ruled for the Green Hornets, as they defeated Nazareth by a score of 43-42.
This Friday, Nazareth will get another shot at Emmaus, who finished its regular season tied atop the EPC South with a record of 9-1. The pair will meet for the first time since their Week 2 shootout that ended in controversy, but for Nazareth, they aren’t looking at this as any type of revenge game. Falzone’s team’s goal was to make the District XI playoffs and that is exactly what they've done locking up the 7th seed. As for the tough luck they ran into a few times during the regular season, that's behind them now, and a new season has begun where each team is 0-0. Falzone and the Blue Eagles, know that a heavy challenge awaits in what are expected to be poor weather conditions on Friday against one of the best teams in the EPC this season, but that idea of a clean slate for the program has Falzone’s players ready to meet that challenge head on.