Expectations might be tempered for the Patriots heading into this season, but Freedom is always looking for improvement as head coach Brandon Hall enters his eighth season at the helm of the program.
The Pates are coming off a 13-9 season, bring back some valuable pieces, but also are young and inexperienced in other spots to make this winter’s campaign difficult.
It may be a different group of wrestlers for Bethlehem Catholic this year, but many people expect more of the same.
The Hawks enter the season with a preseason national ranking of No. 13 by Intermat and look to push their way toward the top of the PIAA dual meet podium after falling to Nazareth last year in the district and state dual meet championships.
Head coach Jeff Karam comes back for his 10th year leading the program that looks to stay in the conversation of the state’s best.
Bethlehem Catholic didn’t have one of their most prestigious showings at the Beast of the East tournament in Delaware over the weekend, but the Hawks scraped together a valiant effort to finish tied for ninth in the team standings, despite only having 11 wrestlers compete in the event.
The Hawks had three wrestlers medal as sophomore Matt Lackman (120, seventh), sophomore Kenny Herrmann (126, fourth) and senior Jarred Papcsy (138, fifth) came home with hardware from the event.
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.