If a regulation football field was 99 yards, there’s a chance Freedom could be playing for a District 11 Class 6A championship on Friday night. Instead, that extra yard helped No. 3 Parkland hold off the second-seeded Patriots and get a bit of revenge after last year’s semifinal went the other way.
Limeport head coach Mike Cudwadie and plenty of other Bulls remember when Northampton swept them in the championship series in its first season of the Blue Mountain League (BML). That was back in 2014.
Jorge Montes doesn’t recall the deflating feeling five years ago. Montes is from Puerto Rico, and recently moved back to the Lehigh Valley area in 2017.
Northampton pitcher Justin Aungst took a few steps off the mound toward the Giants dugout in the fourth inning, having thought a called third strike was coming from the home plate umpire. Instead, the former Salisbury ace had to walk back up the dirt after a called ball.
Limeport’s Damin Muth singled on the next pitch to bring home the Bulls’ first run of the game, leaving Aungst visibly upset.
It was a bit of a shock when Bethlehem Catholic senior Ryan Anderson, the nation’s top-ranked wrestler at 145 pounds, lost a close decision to Northampton’s Jagger Condomitti in the state championships.
The upset kept Northampton’s title hopes alive and certainly seemed to swing momentum to the Konkrete Kids, even if momentarily.
But it didn’t last long.
Despite a rough two-game stretch to close out the regular season, which included a 21-7 loss in the finale to Bethlehem rival Liberty, Freedom head coach Jason Roeder wasn’t concerned as his team prepared for the district playoffs.
In fact, it was that recent stretch that Roeder believed would strengthen his team as postseason football got underway. And he was right.
All-star games are meant to be fun for the players and entertaining for its crowds. After a high school basketball season that saw plenty of local area teams reach the state tournament, Saturday’s Via All-Star Basketball Classic was a refreshing ending to plenty senior players’ careers.
In the first two contests of a four-game schedule of the 42nd Annual Via All Star Basketball Classic at Northampton Community College, the North and South teams split the outcomes. The South girls defeated the North, 45-38, in the first game, followed by a 102-85 victory for the North boys.
The Freedom football team rallied off the final of it’s last meeting against Emmaus: a close 37-35 loss. The date was fresh in their minds — September 30.
Since then, Freedom knew that it had improved on the field. Last Friday night showed just how much the Patriots have changed since late September.
Just before the first half was about to end, Liberty was on the verge of putting together a drive that would tie or give the Hurricanes a lead against rival Bethlehem Catholic. Instead, after first downs on that drive, the ’Canes punted the ball back over to the Golden Hawks.
That turned out to be the game’s defining moment.
Trailing two sets to none against the two-time defending District 11 champions, some would have expected Liberty to give up. Most other teams would have folded.
But Hurricane head coach Neiad Ammary knew the type of resilient bunch he had. And then the Hurricanes proved that notion.
The high school basketball regular season ended weeks ago when the state tournament concluded in Hershey. For most teams in the Lehigh Valley, it ended much earlier than that.
But for a number of high school seniors, there was one last game to be played in their respective jerseys.