November 09, 2018
By: Cassie Schmidt
  The Notre Dame Green Pond football team has a very special set of seniors. Leading the way of course is Quarterback Cole DeFranco. DeFranco is the District Leader in total career passing yards with 9,821 yards! The closest to him in the Colonial League is Deven Bollinger of Northwestern Lehigh and his career total is 4,936 yards. Cole is just the guy you want leading this team. Their game is in his hands, which is just how he likes it. Head Coach Phil Stambaugh talked about how DeFranco loves to spread the wealth between his teammates. Most high school quarterbacks have one or two main guys they love getting the ball to, that's not the case with Cole. While one or two main guys scoring 4-6 TD per game CAN win you the game, Cole DeFranco says otherwise. He loves getting the ball in the hands of almost all of their receivers. Stambaugh even said that a goal of his each game is to try and have every one of them touch the ball. Even though it's typically the same two or three guys scoring the touchdowns, it takes the entire offense for them to get there. Do you know what that does to a defense?! Confuses the heck outta them! Coach also stated that, that is when their offense is at its’ best, when everyone is contributing. DeFranco has 43 passing TD… THIS SEASON, but don’t think he won’t run the ball. The QB has also rushed the ball 83 times for 453 yards… also just this season. The threats they have on offense are incredible, the test will come from the defense. 

  Last week, the Crusaders played Tamaqua in the District XI 3A semi-final round where they won 40-33, but not without the defense performing the way they did. Coach Stambaugh preaches how important it is for this team to play their best on both sides of the ball. If one doesn’t, the other is affected. The defense would allow 33 points on the board but what they did in key situations is what made a difference. The Crusaders had three interceptions on the night with one returned for a touchdown by senior Ethen Aquino. The defense also came up big on at least two goal-line stands and in the final seconds of the game, Andrew Darno came up with an INT in the end zone, which would ultimately seal the victory for the Crusaders. When the defense plays like that, the offense performs just as good.

  This senior class has won two District Titles in the last three years. Back-to-back in 2015 in the 2A classification and then in 2016 as the 3A. The Crusaders fell in 2017 to Palisades, the eventual Champion, and have been ready ever since. They beat North Schuykill all three years during the playoffs so you can expect both teams to be as hungry as ever. The goal of this senior class was to win 4 years in a row, after losing last year they want it this year more than ever. If Notre Dame can play the way they have all season long, fighting every minute on every drive, then I think they can be successful. Coach Stambaugh also preached how well prepared he thought his team was heading into the Championship game. He said that playing against opponents like Trey Gretzinger (Palisades), Ian Csicsek (Saucon Valley), Logan Edmond (So. Lehigh) and Deven Bollinger (Northwestern) has done nothing but challenge the team and better prepare them for games like this. That, of course, a huge testament to the skill in the Colonial League and I couldn’t agree more. 

I will give my score prediction for this game as well, just because they’re fun (right or wrong) !!
Here it is:
Notre Dame GP 42- North Schuykill 21