Chris Michael

About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

HS Football 2019: Week 10

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It’s an extra-busy week “sports-wise” for us at the RCN Studio as the high school football playoffs are almost upon us, and the other fall sports’ post-season are already underway as we bring the playoff coverage home to you on RCN-TV.

Our “SportsTalk” cameras were on hand for last weekend’s girls volleyball championship between Parkland and Bethlehem Catholic and we’ll have highlights and post-match reactions on this Thursday’s program.  While the Lehigh Valley has usually featured some of the top volleyball programs in the state, this year was a particularly competitive season with many top individual and teams’ performances and the “favored” teams not always getting the better of the underdog in matches this autumn.

The Lafayette football team also has an important stretch of games coming up.   Despite their 0-7 record, the Leopards have Patriot League contests coming up against Bucknell and Fordham (both games can be seen on RCN).  If they can string together a couple victories the next two weeks, it would give them a chance at the conference title. We’ll have interviews with Head Coach John Garrett and his players on this Thursday’s show as well.

Another big event coming up…the historic 100th meeting between the Bangor and Pen Argyl football program that will be taking place on Saturday.  It’s an event that has literally been decades in the making and one the entire Slate Belt area has been looking forward to, with much more on the line than a “W.”

For more on this game, check out our “SportsTalk” podcast for interviews with Head Coaches Paul Reduzzi, John Smith and players from both teams as they discuss this rivalry over the years and preview Saturday’s big event.

Last but not least, we’ll get a live report from Washington on the Nationals and Astros in the World Series.  Team980-AM Radio’s Nationals’ beat reporter Luke Monaldo will be on our program to recap the first two games of the and give us a preview of Friday’s Game 3, plus talk about the status of a few players the Phillies (and several other teams) might covent should they reach the free agent market after the Series concludes.

Now, for this week’s high school football poll for District XI teams…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Nazareth

2)  Freedom

3)  Parkland

4)  Northampton

5)  Easton

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Northwestern

3)  Central Catholic

4)  Saucon Valley     Notre Dame 

Also receiving multiple votes: Notre Dame 

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list!

Now, here are our RCN football experts (along with myself) weighing in on four of the biggest high school games this weekend… 

The “PICK 4” Nazareth
Easton
Northampton
Whitehall
Allen
Dieruff
Pen Argyl
Bangor 
Gary Laubach  Nazareth Northampton Allen Pen Argyl
Tony Cocca  Nazareth Northampton Allen Bangor 
Keith Groller  Nazareth Northampton Allen Pen Argyl
John Leone  Nazareth Northampton Allen Pen Argyl
Chris Michael Nazareth Northampton Allen Bangor 

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” for our predictions ahead of the weekend’s high school action and tune-in to our “RCN SportsTalk” television show for the latest “standings” to see which of our local football personalities are most correctly predicting the high school games this fall.

Also, be sure to check out the “fan voting” section of RCN-TV’s games each week here on our website to let your opinions be known as well!  Last week, Parkland fans edged out Easton in our voting by a close margin…unfortunately for Rovers fans, the Trojans prediction turned out to be correct with a 27-9 win last Friday.  Best of luck picking this weekend’s match-ups!

HS Football 2019: Week 9

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I’ve had the pleasure of calling some very enjoyable high school football games through the first 2 months of the regular season.  (No, that’s not a self-serving comment as I have nothing to do with, nor can take any credit for, the selection of teams and games broadcast on RCN.)  I’ve also had some great conversations in the hours and the days leading up to the games with both coaches and players and there have been some fascinating off-the-field stories from different schools.

However, things are now getting serious as we had down the home stretch of the regular season and then…the playoffs.

So to get you caught up on the RCN broadcasted games over the last month, here are the highlights of our high school games this fall:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RCN customers can watch these games, in its entirety, for free, through Video-on-Demand. 

Our website readers nailed their predictions last week…in what turned out to be two blowout contests (Freedom scored on every possession and averaged 12 yards per play, while Northampton held a 41-7 lead at the end of the first quarter), our voters correctly selected both Freedom and Northampton to win last weekend’s games.  Check out this week’s voting section and give YOUR take on who you think will win this weekend’s RCN game between Parkland and Easton. 

PROGRAMMING NOTE: 

SportsTalk” is off this week due to RCN’s holiday parade coverage — our usual high school football polls and our “experts game predictions” contest returns next week.   

Also, keep checking back to our website for more highlights from games broadcast on RCN-TV throughout the fall season!

 

HS Football 2019: Week 8

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company..

This week we start to take our first hard looks at the playoff situations for both local leagues and the District XI playoff picture.

For both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (South Division) and the Colonial League, any team that has more than one loss right now finds itself in a tough situation to try to make a run at capturing a crown.

For some (but not all) of the district classifications, however, with the expanded playoff format, there are quite a few teams that have struggled this year, yet still have a very good chance at seeing some post-season action.

On this Thursday’s “SportsTalk” on RCN-TV, Sports Director Gary Laubach will join us as we take a look back at the recent weeks-worth of games and look ahead to a full slate of games this weekend, plus delve into the potential playoff implications these contest may have.

As you have been seeing on our program, we’ve been featuring a number of new coaches and up-and-coming student-athletes like Ramie Moussa, Damien Garcia, and others, in both the Colonial League and the EPC all year long.  That trend continues this week as we provide a game recap of last Saturday’s battle of Colonial football teams (one of them was in our pre-season poll to keep an eye on this fall), which ended in dramatic fashion. We also have game highlights and interviews as two of the top girls soccer teams in the league (Salisbury, currently 3rd in the Colonial League, and Southern Lehigh, currently first) squared off against each other.

Also on this week’s show, we will have a feature on one of the prominent high school programs in the Washington DC area–the Woodrow Wilson football team, as produced by our friends from DKN Sports at the Office of Community Television.

*****

Time for a look at our high school football “big” and “small schools” polls (as voted by select media members, coaches & administrators within the RCN-TV viewing area) and our “Pick 4” game predictions for games that will be played this weekend.               

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Nazareth

2)  Freedom

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Northampton

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Central Catholic

3)  Northwestern

4-tie)  Saucon Valley/Notre Dame  

 Other schools receiving votes: Northern Lehigh 

Our poll remains with the standard format that we have utilized for many seasons.  For the largest school districts within the District XI/RCN-TV footprint, they qualify as the “big schools” in our pigskin poll. These schools consist of:  Parkland, LibertyAllen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, Dieruff, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East & West.  

 “Small schools” for our poll consist of schools from BangorSaucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern, WilsonPalisadesPalmertonSalisbury, Notre Dame, Pen ArgylNorthern Lehigh and Catasauqua. 

 Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list!

 *******

 Now, here are our RCN football experts (along with myself) weighing in on four of the most competitive high school games this weekend…

The “PICK 4” Easton @
Bethlehem Catholic
Liberty @
Central Catholic
Salisbury @
Bangor
Saucon Valley @
Northwestern
Gary Laubach  Easton Central Catholic Salisbury Northwestern
Tony Cocca  Easton Central Catholic Salisbury Northwestern
Keith Groller  Becahi Central Catholic Salisbury Northwestern
John Leone  Easton Liberty Salisbury Northwestern
Chris Michael Becahi Central Catholic Salisbury Northwestern

You have the chance to vote right here on our website on who you think will win the Easton/Becahi game, plus other Eastern Pennsylvania Conference games we’ll have on RCN this weekend: Allen vs. Northampton and Emmaus vs. Freedom.

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” for our predictions ahead of the weekend’s high school action and tune-in to our “RCN SportsTalk” television show for the latest “standings” to see which of our local football personalities are most correctly predicting the high school games this fall.

 

 

HS Football 2019: Week 7

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

There are times when wins, losses and other statistical information takes a back seat and our “SportsTalk” program addresses more than who are the top teams, who’s playing well and what are the most important games to watch this weekend.

On this Thursday’s program, we have such a case.

Easton Middle School Head Football Coach Jeff Zimmerman recently found out that he is in desperate need of a kidney transplant.  The issue occurred with no warning whatsoever, and, in his current condition, his kidneys are functioning below 20% efficiently, which could cause a tragic outcome.

Jeff, his wife Ali, Easton Head Football Coach Jeff Braido and select members of the Rovers team will be in our studio this week to talk about his struggles and make a pitch for a donor to come through during this critical time…these actions may literally save his life.

We invite you to tune in to hear more about Jeff and Ali’s plight and ask that everyone spreads the word so that we can have a happy conclusion to this saga.  If you know of anyone who might be able to help, reach out to the Easton School District or contact me at our RCN studio (610-443-2841 or chris.michael@rcn.net ) and I will get you in contact with Coach Zimmerman.              

Now, for this week’s high school football poll for District XI teams… 

“Big” Schools Poll

1) Easton

2) Nazareth

3)  Freedom

4)  Parkland

5)  Emmaus

Other schools receiving multiple votes: Southern Lehigh

 “Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)   Central Catholic

3)   Saucon Valley

4)   Northwestern

Other schools receiving multiple votes: Salisbury, Notre Dame 

For the largest school districts within the District XI/RCN-TV footprint, they qualify as the “big schools” in our pigskin poll. These schools consist of Parkland, LibertyAllen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, Dieruff, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East & West.  

“Small schools” for our poll consist of schools from BangorSaucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern, WilsonPalisadesPalmertonSalisbury, Notre Dame, Pen ArgylNorthern Lehigh and Catasauqua. 

Here are the “rules” for our voters:

Each pollster identifies their top five teams among the “big schools” and the top four squads for the “smaller” group—the top school gets five (or four for the small schools) points, the second team gets four (or three) points and so on, with an average score determining the order of teams in both of the polls.

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list!

Now, here are our RCN football experts (along with myself) weighing in on four of the most competitive high school games this weekend… 

The “PICK 4” Freedom @ Easton
*on RCN-TV
Northampton@
Stroudsburg
Northern Lehigh@ 
Salisbury
Northwestern@
Southern Lehigh
Gary Laubach Freedom Northampton Northern Lehigh Southern Lehigh
Tony Cocca  Freedom Northampton Salisbury Southern Lehigh
Keith Groller  Freedom Northampton Salisbury Southern Lehigh
John Leone  Easton Northampton Salisbury Southern Lehigh
Chris Michael  Freedom Northampton Salisbury Southern Lehigh


Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” for our predictions ahead of the weekend’s high school action and tune-in to our “RCN SportsTalk” television show for the latest “standings” to see which of our local football personalities are most correctly predicting the high school games this fall.

Congratulations to you, our RCN-TV website readers! All voters correctly predicted both Parkland and Penn would be victorious in their games broadcast on RCN last week.  Be sure to try to keep the streak alive by checking out the “fan voting” section and make your pick for this Friday’s high school action.

HS Football 2019: Week 6

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

First of all, a programming alert that we will be having a preview of this weekend’s big Penn State/Maryland Big 10 showdown on this week’s “RCN SportsTalk,” in addition to an exclusive Skype interview with current All-American Tailback Shane Simpson (a former Easton product now playing for Towson).  Plus, high school fall sports features, previews of this weekend’s games and a feature on DMV sports legend Bob Headen, in a jammed-packed show for you this Thursday, live at 7pm on RCN-TV and available through RCN On-Demand!

Also, be sure to enjoy a special weekend on RCN as we present exclusive coverage of the Celtic Classic, including the National Highland Athletics Championships, the Tartan Parade, and some of the finest entertainers and musical groups from around the world, performing at this year’s event.

*****

In case you missed last year’s “Pick 4” contest, Keith Groller “lost” (aka, had the fewest number of correct football game predictions) and had to perform Fortnite dance moves live on our “SportsTalk” program.  Since he was such a ‘grateful loser” (aka, he still complains that the contest that he oversaw each week was rigged against him, with the Russians somehow involved), I told him back in June he could come up with whatever he would like to do, to whomever lost THIS year’s contest (there’s no way he’d lose two years in a row, right?).

Well, after forgetting to do so each week for over two months but vowing each time he’d come up with something the following week (and then claiming that he never made that promise–until we showed him footage of previous shows), he finally decided to defer to the Pen Argyl football team, who were our guests on “SportsTalk.”  Keith said he’ll leave it to them and do whatever they came up with as the task that we all would have to adhere to. (By the way, Keith did suggest having the loser doing something with shoveling manure, but both the players and I agreed that was way too gross).

So after some careful deliberation, the student-athletes came up with this year’s “prize” to whomever had the least number of correct predictions…

Running.

That’s right, the students said they would like to see their favorite RCN personality run a lap around a track.  Now, thanks to the RCN-TV HD cameras you can clearly see that not all of us are in the best physical condition (some more than others) of our careers.  However, we are willing to risk our health, pull muscles galore and even sacrifice our entire bodies…just for our customers’ amusement!

Needless to say, I speak for all the announcers when I say that we are completely thrilled and excited about the possibility for this fall’s task for one of us “lucky” participants.

In a completely unrelated story that clearly as nothing to do with the results of our Pick 4 contest, we are also on the lookout for young and fit RCN broadcaster-lookalikes for a yet-to-be-announced project coming up later this year (right around the time high school football season comes to an end;).  If you know anyone that might fit that bill, please have them email me at chris.michael@rcn.net

In the meantime, if anyone can recommend some quality litiment that works wonders, I’d be much obliged.

*****

Speaking of the “Pick 4” contest, here are this week’s picks as our RCN football experts (along with myself) weighing in on four of the biggest high school games this weekend…   

The “PICK 4” Liberty vs. Emmaus East Stroudsburg South vs. Northampton Parkland vs. Nazareth Wilson vs. Pen Argyl
Gary Laubach Emmaus Northampton Nazareth Wilson
Tony Cocca  Emmaus Northampton Nazareth Wilson
Keith Groller Emmaus East Stroudsburg South Nazareth Wilson
John Leone  Emmaus East Stroudsburg South Parkland Wilson
Chris Michael  Emmaus East Stroudsburg South Parkland Wilson

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” for our predictions ahead of the weekend’s high school action and tune-in to our “RCN SportsTalk” television show for the latest “standings” to see which of our local football personalities are most correctly predicting the high school games this fall. 

The loser better have a good pair of track shoes!

 ***** 

The majority of last week’s RCN game viewers’ poll here on our website had Liberty and Bethlehem Catholic as the favored teams to win, although both teams ended up losing by significant margins on Friday. 

Don’t forget to try again this week by voting and giving your opinions on who will win RCN’s Friday high school game and Saturday’s Penn/Lafayette contest! 

***** 

And now, here are this week’s high school football polls for District XI teams… 

“Big” Schools Poll

1) Easton

2) Nazareth

3)  Freedom

4)  East Stroudsburg-South

5)  Parkland

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Northwestern

3)  Central Catholic

4)  Saucon Valley

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list.

 

HS Football 2019: Week 5

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.|

In the years we’ve been doing the “Pick 4” high school football prediction contest, we usually keep the predictions’ themselves, for the most part, exclusively here on the RCN-TV website, while we post the weekly standings only on our TV show.

However, a couple times each season, we usually like to share the standings with our internet readers, just to give you an idea of how your favorite RCN personalities are doing with this year’s contest.

One of those traditional times would be this week, as we approach the midway point of the regular season. Our up-to-the-minute standings are as follows…

Tony Cocca 14-2
Chris Michael 12-4
Keith Groller 11-5
John Leone 11-5
Gary Laubach 10-6

Keep in mind, there’s plenty of time (and games) left with the second half of the season and several weeks of the playoffs yet to come. Also, it is a tight horse race (as usually stays that way into the postseason) between all participants and should make for an exciting finish in November.

Continue to watch our weekly show and hear our “SportsTalk” podcasts (found here on the RCN-TV website) for the latest standings (along with commentary from those participating in the contest).

Now, here are our RCN football experts (along with myself) weighing in on four of the biggest high school games this weekend… 

The “PICK 4” Parkland vs. Liberty Dieruff vs. Pleasant Valley Saucon Valley vs. Northern Lehigh Bethlehem Catholic vs. Nazareth
Gary Laubach Parkland Pleasant Valley Saucon Valley Bethlehem Catholic
Tony Cocca  Parkland Dieruff Saucon Valley Nazareth
Keith Groller Parkland Dieruff Saucon Valley Nazareth
John Leone  Parkland Pleasant Valley Saucon Valley Nazareth
Chris Michael  Parkland Dieruff Saucon Valley Nazareth

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” for our predictions ahead of the weekend’s high school action and tune-in to our “RCN SportsTalk” television show for the latest “standings” to see which of our local football personalities are most correctly predicting the high school games this fall.

Also, be sure to check out the “fan voting” section of RCN-TV’s games each week here on our website to let your opinions be known as well! 

 *****

Before we get to the polls, a reminder for NFL fans to subscribe to get your “NFL Red Zone” packages.  The season is now underway and you won’t want to miss a minute of the action. Call 1-800-RING-RCN or log on to rcn.com to learn the easy way to see all the great gridiron action this fall. 

Also, be sure to check out the tailgating contest that RCN is running to find out how to win great prizes and truly enhance your tailgating parties this football season.  You won’t want to miss out on all the goodies available to win! 

***** 

Now, here’s our look at our high school football “big” and “small schools” polls (as voted by select media members, coaches & administrators for District XI teams)…

 “Big” Schools Poll

1)  Nazareth

2) Easton

3)  Freedom

4)  East Stroudsburg-South

5)  Parkland

 

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Notre Dame

3)  Northwestern

4)  Central Catholic 

Each pollster identifies their top five teams among the “big schools” and the top four squads for the “smaller” group—the top school gets five (or four for the small schools) points, the second team gets four (or three) points and so on, with an average score determining the order of teams in both of the polls.   

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list! 

Programming Alert!!! 

Cleary, RCN-TV will be broadcasting the best EPC game of the weekend with our “Big School” & “Small School” number one teams playing each other (Bethlehem Catholic/Nazareth, Friday, tape delayed at 9:30pm), but the best Colonial League match-up will be a pair of 3-1 teams (Saucon Valley & Northern Lehigh) squaring off–the winner staying one game back of the top spot in the conference. 

We’ll not only have a preview of that game from one of the key people who will be involved in that Friday contest on our “SportsTalk” show this week, but he will be telling us about a special ceremony that will also be taking place at that game, along with a couple other surprises.  Tune in Thursday at 7pm on RCN (or hear our podcast, posted on Friday) to hear the big news!!!

HS Football 2019: Week 3

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

One aspect of sports coverage that has changed with the early start to high school sports season is that our RCN SportsTalk team has been extremely proactive in trying to reach as many school districts and sports as possible by scheduling interviews with as many teams as possible, well in advance of the start of the school year.

This week traditionally was the start of the school’s “sports year,” but with the earlier starts to the season, we’ve been contacting coaches and scheduling interviews well before the first day of school. So as we celebrate “Labor Day” this week (and the remaining school districts that have not yet opened, conduct their “first day of school” activities), I wanted to point out all the Eastern Pennsylvania schools in our coverage area that we have scheduled to interview in the next week or have already spoken with:

Allen
Bangor
Bethlehem Catholic
Bonnor-Prendergast
Catasauqua
Central Catholic
Dieruff
East Stroudsburg-South
Easton
Emmaus
Freedom
Nazareth
Northampton
Northern Lehigh
Northwestern
Notre Dame
Palisades
Parkland
Pen Argy
Saucon Valley
Southern Lehigh
Whitehall

This doesn’t include our conversations and previews touching on EVERY Lehigh Valley district in our coverage area previewing each school’s football program.

We will also have features on our “DMV” teams coming up over the next several months as well, thanks to our friends at the Office of Cable Television in Washington, DC  and we will CONTINUE to be out covering games over the next several months in addition to featuring in-studio sports guests from different schools on “SportsTalk” and broadcasting live football games every weekend.

Not bad work for the “first day of school”….

*******

Time for our look at our high school football polls (as voted by select media members, coaches and administrators within the RCN-TV viewing area) and the return of the “Pick 4” game predictions for games that will be played this weekend in the season’s opening weekend of contests.  For this week’s high school football poll for District XI teams…

 “Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Parkland

3)  Nazareth

4)  Easton

5)  East Stroudsburg-South

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Notre Dame

3)  Central Catholic

4)  Northwestern

Or poll remains with the standard format that we have utilized for many seasons.  For the largest school districts within the District XI/RCN-TV footprint, they qualify as the “big schools” in our pigskin poll.  These schools consist of Parkland, LibertyAllen, Easton, Emmaus, Dieruff, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East & West. 

“Small schools” for our poll consist of schools from BangorSaucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern, WilsonPalisadesPalmertonSalisbury, Notre Dame, Pen ArgylNorthern Lehigh and Catasauqua. 

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list!

The “PICK 4” Freedom vs. Parkland
*on RCN-TV
Bethlehem Catholic
vs. Liberty
Notre Dame vs. Southern Lehigh Northern Lehigh vs. Bangor
Gary Laubach Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Notre Dame Northern Lehigh
Tony Cocca  Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Notre Dame Bangor
Keith Groller Parkland Bethlehem Catholic Notre Dame Bangor
John Leone  Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Notre Dame Northern Lehigh
Chris Michael  Freedom Bethlehem Catholic Notre Dame Bangor

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” and on our “RCN SportsTalk” television show for the latest “standings” and to see which of our local football personalities correctly predicts the most high school games this fall. Also, be sure to check out the new “fan voting” section of RCN-TV’s games each week here on our website to let your opinions be known as well!

 

HS Football 2019: Week 2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Before we get to our football conversations, a reminder to keep checking out our next few “SportsTalk” programs (on TV and our podcast here on the RCN website), as we will continue to have fall preview features on fall sports teams OTHER than football in both the Lehigh and Delaware Valley areas, in addition to highlighting the top teams and players on the gridiron as well.

Now, we present our first in-season look at our high school football poll (as voted by select media members, coaches & administrators within the RCN-TV viewing area) and the return of the “Pick 4” game predictions for games that will be played this weekend in the season’s opening weekend of contests.

For this week’s high school football poll for District XI teams…

 “Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Parkland

3)  Nazareth

4)  Easton

5)  Emmaus 


“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Notre Dame

3)  Central Catholic

4)  Northwestern

Other schools receiving multiple votes: Palmerton

Our poll remains with the standard format that we have utilized for many seasons.  For the largest school districts within the District XI/RCN-TV footprint, they qualify as the “big schools” in our pigskin poll.  These schools consist of Parkland, LibertyAllen, Easton, Emmaus, Dieruff, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East & West. 

“Small schools” for our poll consist of schools from BangorSaucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern, WilsonPalisadesPalmertonSalisbury, Notre Dame, Pen ArgylNorthern Lehigh and Catasauqua. 

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list!

*******

Now, here are our RCN football experts (along with myself) weighing in on four of the biggest high school games this weekend:

The “PICK 4” Freedom vs. Bethlehem Catholic
*on RCN-TV
Catasauqua vs. Northern Lehigh Pen Argyl vs Saucon Valley Nazareth vs. Emmaus
Gary Laubach Freedom Northern Lehigh Saucon Valley Nazareth
Tony Cocca  Freedom Northern Lehigh Saucon Valley Nazareth
Keith Groller Bethlehem Catholic Northern Lehigh Pen Argyl Nazareth
John Leone  Freedom Northern Lehigh Saucon Valley Nazareth
Chris Michael  Freedom Northern Lehigh Saucon Valley Nazareth

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” and on “RCN SportsTalk” to see which of our football experts correctly predicts the most high school games this fall.

HS Football 2019: Pre-Season Predictions

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Last week, we started to get you ready for the start of high school football with some “storylines to watch” for the 2019 campaign.

This week, we have our pre-season high school football poll (as voted by select media members, coaches & administrators within the RCN-TV viewing area) and the return of the “Pick 4” predictions for games that will be played this weekend in the season’s opening weekend of contests.

Now the unveiling of our preseason high school football poll for District XI teams…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Parkland

3)  Easton

4)  Nazareth

5)  Emmaus

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)  Northwestern

3)  Central Catholic

4)  Notre Dame

Our poll remains with the standard, tried-and-true format that we have utilized for many seasons.  We will take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV footprint.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Dieruff, Freedom, Stroudsburg, Pleasant Valley, Northampton, Nazareth, Whitehall, Southern Lehigh, East Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East & West.

“Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern, Wilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  Each pollster will identify their top five teams among the “big schools” and the top four squads for the “smaller” group—the top school gets five (or four for the small schools) points, the second team gets four points and so on, with an average score determining the order of teams in the poll.

Check back each week here at “The Shop” to see if your favorite teams make our list!

*******

Now, here are our RCN football experts weighing in on four of the biggest high school games this weekend…

The “PICK 4” Northwestern @ Notre Dame
*on RCN-TV
East Stroudsburg South @ Whitehall Central Catholic @ Stroudsburg Pleasant Valley @ Liberty
Keith Groller Northwestern Whitehall Central Catholic Liberty
Tony Cocca  Notre Dame Whitehall Central Catholic Liberty
Chris Michael  Northwestern Whitehall Central Catholic Liberty
John Leone  Notre Dame East Stroudsburg South Stroudsburg Liberty

Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” and on “RCN SportsTalk” to see which of our football experts correctly predicts the most high school games this fall.

HS Football: Things To Watch

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

The RCN Sports staff members are busy preparing for another great season of high school football.

With “double sessions” in full swing, it’s time to take a look at some of the great storylines to follow for teams and schools within the RCN-TV viewing area.

NEW COACHES:

  • There were seven coaching changes in the Lehigh Valley alone this off-season.  We’ve already featured most of them on our “SportsTalk” show (and are trying to schedule dates for those we have not as of yet had on), but I think all of the school districts with new hires have reason for optimism.
  • Whitehall, Bangor and Central Catholic all have up-and-coming programs.  New head coaches typically need a few years to fully implement their system–both on the field and off–and the fact that all three of these teams have quite a bit of talent that will return beyond next year bodes well for the overall health of the programs.
  • All three may not challenge for league honors in 2019, but keep an eye on the players who develop over the course of the fall to see which players might have “break out seasons”, which should help these schools be playoff contenders by 2020.

WILSON (DC) FOOTBALL:

  • Our friends at “DKN Sports” in the Washington DC area recently produced a feature on the Wilson high school football program and their successes in recent seasons (a portion of their story will be featured on an upcoming edition of “RCN SportsTalk” to hear more about them.)
  • While there will be a number of competitive teams in the DMV on the gridiron once again this fall, Wilson has a ton of talent returning for this year’s squad and should be posting some impressive wins in 2019.

PEN ARGYL/BANGOR’S “100th”:

  • These two long-time rivals will be meeting for the 100th time this fall.  While the Bangor/Green Knights game sometimes gets overlooked by other key rivalry match-ups (Easton/P’burg, Northampton/Catasauqua and other traditional “Thanksgiving Day” games), expect this event to be much bigger than any previous meeting between these two schools.
  • Both programs took some lumps last year but both head coaches have told me that their kids have been working hard and vow big improvements for the new season.
  • We’ll be talking more about the 100th meeting between Bangor and Pen Argyl on one of our three “SportsTalk at the Allentown Fair” shows coming up in two weeks.  Keep checking back to the RCN-TV website for more details on these special programs that will be shot “on location.”

Next week, we’ll commence with our usual high school football polls and game predictions contest, which include RCN announcers, local media and coaches and administrators that will continue through the scholastic football season.