Freedom is looking to get back into the playoff hunt this season and they’ll need a scrappy approach to compete for one of the District 11 spots.
The Patriots are coming off an 8-14 campaign from a year ago and don’t bring much back in terms of size, but they do have plenty of quickness, which can make them tough to deal with on any given night.
Bethlehem Catholic may have a new coach in charge this winter on the hardwood, but the Golden Hawks will still carry high expectations when the season gets underway this weekend.
Becahi is coming off a 28-4 season a year ago, which saw them make a run all the way to the PIAA 4A state semifinals, only falling to Imhotep.
The Hawks won their first EPC title a year ago and enter the year as back-to-back District 11 champions.
Bethlehem Catholic was full of hope heading into their third straight PIAA 4A semifinal with Imhotep last Friday night, but the hope turned into reality quickly in Northeast Philadelphia, as the Panthers jumped ahead early and never looked back in a 43-6 rout.
It was the third straight year Becahi fell to Imhotep at this stage of the state tournament, but this year’s result was the most convincing score in the recent series.
Freedom knew it had to play a nearly perfect football game in order to beat St. Joseph’s Prep in last Saturday’s PIAA 6A quarterfinals. Unfortunately for the Pates, too many mistakes in the first half forged an easy path for a Prep victory, as Freedom ended its season in Northeast Philadelphia at the hands of a 42-14, mercy rule defeat.
Saturday’s defeat was another loss by District 11 to the Philadelphia Catholic League champion, as Prep has topped their D11 counterparts in five of the past six years.
You can’t really label a series of games between two teams as a rivalry unless one side has tasted defeat, but perhaps from a Bethlehem Catholic point-of-view, this week’s matchup with Imhotep Charter in the PIAA 4A state tournament is just as big, or bigger than any Liberty or Freedom city showdown.
The Golden Hawks (11-3) will make another trip down the turnpike this Friday night to Northeast High School to face Imhotep (11-2) for the third straight year in the state semifinals at 7 p.m.
Winning never gets old and Bethlehem Catholic’s football program certainly doesn’t mind celebrating on November weekends when other teams are at home watching.
The Golden Hawks won their third-straight District 11 title Saturday night in dominating fashion, posting a 73-14 win over Saucon Valley in the 4A championship game.
A game that started out with the Hawks trailing 14-7 saw them score 66-straight points in a rout that materialized quickly, giving the program their fifth title in six years and their 13th overall.
It almost seems like the last two weeks of football was just a formality for Bethlehem Catholic, but the dirty work has been completed and berth in this Saturday’s District 11 4A championship has been booked for the Hawks after handling Pottsville 40-28 Saturday afternoon at BASD Stadium.
The win matches Becahi (9-3) with a date against Saucon Valley (10-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Nazareth.
We had a predictable first week of the postseason, but things spice up a bit this week in all classes as the cream rises to the top.
Freedom and Parkland highlight the big boy affair in 6A, while Becahi should keep pounding their way in 4A. Notre Dame is looking for a 3A title, but the second most interesting game of the weekend takes place in Saucon Valley with a Colonial League showdown with Northwestern.
Who will come out on top this week? Check out this week’s picks below.
1. Freedom (10-1)
Last week’s rank: #1
Can the Pates get back to normal?
Pressure was a word Freedom football coach Jason Roeder used repeatedly following last week’s 14-7 win over Liberty in the opening round of the District 11 6A playoffs, but it was an accurate noun to describe what the Freedom players, coaches and fans endured for six days following a disappointing loss to the Hurricanes in the regular season finale.
Instead, all that mental and physical stress associated with taking on your arch rival in back-to-back weeks came to a head at BASD last week in a grind it out affair in a torrential downpour.
You don’t need to tell Joe Henrich about proceeding with caution in the District 11 postseason, despite top-seeded Bethlehem Catholic entering the 4A tournament as the unequivocal favorite when they open up postseason play at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at BASD Stadium against Blue Mountain.
The Hawks (7-3) have won the last two District 11 4A titles and the eighth-seeded Eagles, coming in at 3-7, don’t likely have a chance for a massive upset this season, but that doesn’t change the Hawks preparation for this week.