Bethlehem Catholic is the team to beat this year on the hardwood.
That’s the sentiment around the East Penn Conference and District 11, as the EPC runners-up from a year ago and the defending District 11 4A champions bring back a bevy of returning talent from last year’s 21-7 campaign, which saw them lose in the first round of the PIAA tournament.
With the expectations high, head coach Ray Barbosa enters his third season at the helm looking to keep his team focused on nightly basis.
Liberty will look to bounce back this season from their 12-11 campaign from a year ago that left them with an underwhelming taste.
With head coach Chad Landis entering his 10th season at the helm, expectations are always high for the Hurricanes and this season, despite not having much varsity experience, doesn’t change Liberty’s goals.
Lack of experience is one way to describe Freedom’s roster this winter, but that won’t stop the Patriots from looking to surprise teams this season.
The Pates were 12-11 last season, lost all of their top scorers to graduation but head coach Joe Stellato still has a positive outlook on their expectations heading into this season.
“The team is not very experienced, but make up for it in speed and quickness,” Stellato said. “We will use that speed and quickness in a full court game, trying to create offense off our defense.”
They say speed kills in sports and that sentiment was true for Bethlehem Catholic in their quest to take down Imhotep Charter in last Friday’s PIAA 4A semifinals in Philadelphia.
The Panthers size and speed proved to be no match for the Hawks, as Imhotep pulled away for a 34-14 victory.
The win pushes the Panthers to this Thursday’s state championship game against Erie Cathedral Prep, a rematch of last year’s state final, while the Hawks saw their season end to the Panthers for a consecutive season in the state’s final four.
Survive and advance.
That’s the name of the game at this point of the PIAA football season and Bethlehem Catholic epitomized that mantra in last week’s 33-32 victory over Selinsgrove.
With 11 seconds to play in the PIAA 4A quarterfinal at Shamokin, Becahi faced the survival aspect of the state playoffs. The back and forth affair with Selinsgrove provided a 34-point fourth quarter between both teams.
For two straight weeks, Bethlehem Catholic has looked like a team of men playing against boys.
The Hawks imposed their will again last Friday night against Pottsgrove, trouncing the Falcons from start to finish en route to a 49-14 victory at Spring-Ford High School in the opening round of the PIAA 4A tournament.
Matt Bisko led the way again for Becahi, rushing for 141 yards and three touchdowns in a contest that reached mercy rule status in the third quarter, as Becahi (11-2) advances to play Selinsgrove on Friday at 7 p.m. in Shamokin.
You could see it from the opening whistle of the District 11 4A championship game Saturday night at Nazareth. There was no way Bethlehem Catholic was going to lose to Saucon Valley.
The Hawks bullied their Colonial League counterparts all over the field and throttled them en route to a 42-7 mercy-rule victory at Nazareth.
Becahi (10-2) led 28-0 at halftime and never looked back, as they knocked off the Panthers in back-to-back years for the district crown.
Not many surprises occurred in last week’s opening round of the playoffs outside of Pocono Mountain West back handing second-seeded Stroudsburg. However, what else would you expect from an all MVC showdown?
Parkland got pushed farther than they would have liked, while Easton made a statement with their thumping over Nazareth.
Palisades should keep rolling, but what will their Colonial League counterparts Southern Lehigh and Saucon Valley do in their title matches with EPC foes?
League bragging rights are on the line this week, so let’s see who can keep talking.
Bethlehem Catholic will see a familiar foe Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the District 11 4A football championship when they take on Saucon Valley at Nazareth.
The Golden Hawks advanced thanks to a 48-7 demolition over Pottsville last week, but face a tougher task with the Panthers this week, fresh off their 41-10 thumping over Central Catholic in the opening round of districts.
After the frustrating season Liberty’s football team had endured through nine weeks, last Saturday’s dominating 21-7 victory over Freedom gave everyone on the Hurricane sideline a monstrous smile.
Sparked by Jaden Vazquez punt block after Freedom went three and out on their opening drive, Trevor Harris scooped up the football and raced six-yards for the opening score that felt like a grand slam of emotion for the early 7-0 lead.