Leopards in First

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 have been writing my blog for almost seven years and the last time I wrote about a Lafayette football team being in first place in the Patriot League was way back in 2013.  They won the championship that year.  It was their last.

In fact, since that championship season, Lafayette has gone 11-22 in the League and has not had a League-winning record since.  And after an 0-7 start to this season, it would be safe to say no one expected they would put themselves in a position to win the Patriot League championship.

But that is exactly where they are.  They are 3-1 in the League, the same record as Holy Cross.  This past weekend, the Leopards beat Holy Cross by a 23-20 score.  Thus, they now hold the tiebreaker should both teams end with the same PL record.

Lafayette has two games remaining – Colgate and Lehigh. Win both and Lafayette is the champion.  However, there is a sports adjective to describe the upcoming game with the Raiders of Colgate – it is called a “trap game”.  This game is the absolute definition of that term:

“A trap game in college football is loosely defined as a game against a lesser opponent that is sandwiched between or directly before a ‘big-time’ game such as against a rival or highly ranked opponent.”

The only shot to a championship for Lafayette started this past week by playing the team that was in first place – Holy Cross.  Therefore, that was the epitome of a “big game”.  After Colgate, comes the 155th game between Lafayette and Lehigh.  That game is ALWAYS on the minds of both teams.  After all, it is college football’s most played rivalry.  Lehigh has won the last four games, so I suppose it is just human nature to constantly be thinking about your arch rival.  There is a countdown clock in the Lafayette locker room that starts the first day of practice denoting when the Lafayette-Lehigh game will begin.

Now you see why Colgate becomes a possible “trap game” – a huge win last week; an even bigger game next week.  The problem here is the term “lesser opponent”.  You see, Colgate also started 0-7 this year.  They were chosen to win the Patriot League before the season started.  In fact, their quarterback was chosen as the pre-season PL offensive player of the year.  They seem to finally be playing at the level most felt they would, having won three of their last four games.  And they have won four straight over Lafayette by a combined scoring total of 138-36; 72-0 the last two years.

Kickoff for the “trap game” is 12:30PM this coming Saturday at Lafayette.  Let’s hope the Leopards are not thinking about the game in Bethlehem the following week.

No matter, it is fun to write once again – Lafayette is atop the Patriot League in the football standings.  It has been a long time!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. With sports betting now legal in many states, it is interesting to see how an NFL weekend outcome affects the payouts. It is estimated that 90% of all bets placed on the Chiefs-Titans game were placed on the Chiefs.  The Titans won the game 35-32 after the Chiefs’ tying field goal was blocked with no time left.  It was estimated the bookies won $10 million on the outcome.  With all the upsets on Sunday, it was a good day to be a legal bookie. One bettor in New Jersey, however, put $440,000 on the Titans to win.  That same person also bet $440,000 on Tampa Bay and $420,000 on the Browns.  Both those bets were winners, too.  Oh, my! 
  1. And lest you think the NFL reigns when it comes to betting, more money was bet on LSU-Alabama than any NFL game. Alabama was a 2-1 favorite to win the game so most fans put their money on LSU.  LSU won 46-41 in a thriller.  LSU and Ohio State are now 2-1 favorites to win the national championship. 
  1. It does not appear Saquon Barkley is fully recovered from his high ankle sprain. In the last two games, he has gained a total of 29 yards, with just one yard coming on 13 carries this past week against the Jets.
  1. If NBA basketball is beginning to show up on your radar, please note that after a 5-0 start, the 76ers lost three in a row. Ben Simmons is banged up and Joel Embiid was suspended.  Right now, they are barely one of the top 10 teams in the league.
  1. District XI championships will be decided this week on RCN-TV. Friday night features Parkland taking on Nazareth for the 6A championship.  Nazareth last won a District title in 2011 and Parkland won the next six straight before Freedom won last year.  On Saturday, at 7:00pm it’s the 4A final with Central Catholic traveling to Northern Lehigh to take on Pottsville. Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm, Lafayette entertains Colgate on RCN-TV.  See the blog. 

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 5-8)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 98-48-1  (67%) 

PITTSBURGH

PHILADELPHIA

JETS

DALLAS

NEW ORLEANS

CAROLINA

INDIANAPOLIS

MINNESOTA

BUFFALO

BALTIMORE

 SAN FRANCISCO

OAKLAND

RAMS

KANSAS CITY

 

 

 

 

HS Football: Week 13

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. 

For our smaller schools, it’s been an earlier than normal exit for most teams in our Lehigh Valley viewing area. 

Only one local team qualified for the 3A playoffs this year (Notre Dame) and the Crusaders made a rare early exit (they did have injuries and ineligible player which hurt their chances). 

In 4A, we are left with just one local team as Bethlehem Catholic and Wilson lost to Pottsville in consecutive weekends and left the Hawks’ rival, Central Catholic, as the lone Valley team in that classification–playing for a championship this weekend against the Crimson Tide. 

So before we unveil our final “Small School Poll” of the 2019 campaign, here’s a look at how we saw things way back in early August–a few weeks before the season began. 


“Small” Schools Poll–PRESEASON

1)   Bethlehem Catholic

2)   Northwestern

3)   Central Catholic

4)   Notre Dame 

Other schools receiving votes: Saucon Valley 

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

Now, here’s a look at how things shook-out here at the end of the season: 

“Small” Schools Poll–FINAL

1)   Central Catholic

2)   Northwestern

3)  Bethlehem Catholic

4)  Notre Dame  

Other schools receiving votes:   Saucon Valley 

WIth Central’s thrilling 17-point come-from-behind victory last Saturday over Northwestern, it gave the Vikings the top spot under first-year Head Coach Tim McGorry (you can hear our podcast with him and his coaches from before the season elsewhere here on this website). 

Bethlehem Catholic faded during the season’s second half after being ranked in the top spot (both in our poll and according to the District XI “power point” system) throughout much of the season. 

With all five teams getting votes at both the beginning and end of our poll, I have to congratulate our “pollsters” again this fall for doing a tremendous job with their pre-season predictions on who would be the top schools in 2019! 

*****

Now, we still have a couple teams in the mix among our “big” schools…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Nazareth

2)  Parkland

3)  Freedom

4)  Easton

5)  Northampton

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  ParklandLibertyAllen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, Dieruff, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East & West.  

Next week, we’ll look at our FINAL poll for these schools and unveil how we did in predicting the top teams in this category as well! 

******* 

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.Nazareth Central Catholic vs.Pottsville Solehi vs. Oil City Colgate vs. Lafayette
Gary Laubach  Parkland  Pottsville Solehi  Lafayette
Tony Cocca  Parkland  Pottsville Solehi Lafayette
Keith Groller  Parkland  Central Catholic Solehi  Colgate
John Leone  Parkland  Pottsville Solehi Lafayette
Chris Michael Parkland  Central Catholic Solehi Lafayette

 

The “PICK 4” Parkland vs.
Nazareth
Central Cathoic vs.
Pottsville
Southern Lehigh vs.
Oil City
Lafayette vs.
Colgate
Gary Laubach  Parkland Pottsville Southern Lehigh Lafayette
Tony Cocca  Parkland Pottsville Southern Lehigh Lafayette
Keith Groller  Parkland Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Colgate
John Leone  Parkland Pottsville Southern Lehigh Lafayette
Chris Michael Parkland Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Lafayette

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!

 

High School Football: Week 12

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.

We’ve advanced to the second round of the high school football playoffs and, for Class 3A & 5A teams, we’ll see champions be crowned for the District XI playoffs.

“Playoff week two” also means that our weekly football polls will be coming to an end.  So as we head into the 12th week of the football season overall, here’s a look at where our pigskin experts (a mix of local coaches, administrators and RCN and other media members) stack up the teams in our coverage area:

“Big” Schools Poll

1)   Nazareth

2)  Freedom

3)  Parkland

3)  Easton

4)  Northampton

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Northwestern

2)  Central Catholic

3)  Bethlehem Catholic

4)  Saucon Valley 

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:  ParklandLibertyAllen, 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 biggest high school games this weekend…

The “PICK 4” Parkland vs.
Freedom
Central Cathoic vs.
Northwestern
Southern Lehigh vs.
E. Stroudsburg South
Lafayette vs.
Holy Cross
Gary Laubach  Freedom Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Lafayette
Tony Cocca  Parkland Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Holy Cross
Keith Groller  Parkland Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Holy Cross
John Leone  Parkland Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Holy Cross
Chris Michael Parkland Central Catholic Southern Lehigh Holy Cross

 

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!

Birds Win the East

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.

That’s right – the Eagles will be the NFC East champs!  Alright – maybe this is just wishful thinking, BUT the Eagles went to 5-4 after the win over the Bears this past Sunday.  Admittedly, it was not always pretty as the Birds left plenty of points on the table in the first half.  Too many field goals and not enough touchdowns, but a win is a win in the NFL – just ask the Dolphins!

Here is why they will win the NFC East:

They are finally getting healthier.   Darren Sproles came back and so did cornerback Avonte Maddox.  DT Tim Jernigan played as did safety Andrew Sendejo.  That leaves just Jason Peters and Nigel Bradham still on the sidelines.  With a bye week this week, maybe they will all be back for the Patriots and/or the Seahawks.  Fortunately, both those games are at home and, after yesterday, the Patriots do not look invincible.

The toughest part of their season is over.  They will play Washington, Miami, and the Giants twice.  And their fate could rest with a home game in Week 16 against the Cowboys.  That could be the game to truly determine the Division champion.

Carson Wentz is healthy.  He has certainly been hindered by the lack of quality wide receivers (even Alshon Jeffery dropped passes he should have caught on Sunday), but he is throwing the ball with accuracy, has found his favorite receivers in Ertz and Goedert, scrambles as well as most, and always wins the “quarterback sneak” battle.

The running game is excellent. Jordan Howard has been a real find and Miles Sanders is becoming better and better every week.  Howard gets the tough yards and Sanders, with his ability to both run and catch the ball, is their most dangerous ball carrier in the open spaces.

The defensive line and linebackers almost make up for the weak secondary.  This group stops the run, pressures the quarterback, and plays extremely aggressively.  If they can keep the pressure on the QB, the secondary will be helped immensely.

The coaching staff is very competent.  With the injuries the Eagles have had being 5-4 right now does not seem so bad.  The team plays hard with plenty of emotion, takes chances because of the coaches’ confidence, and plays as a unit.  Both the defense and offense can only get better the rest of the season if they stay healthy.

Ergo (I haven’t used that word since college), the Eagles WILL win the NFC East.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. What are today’s athletes thinking? After a terrible performance by Cleveland Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead, a tweet criticized his play (rightfully so).  He responded with a tweet filled with profanity and threatening comments.  Did he really think there would be no consequences to that Tweet?  He was let go by the Browns on Monday morning. 
  1. There are plenty of poor football teams in the NFL and most thought the Dolphins were the worst. And then the Jets stumble into the conversation by losing to Miami.    The Dolphins methodically reduced the quality of their roster to bolster their draft choices in the next two seasons.  Now, it appears the Jets did it without trying!  That, also, hurts the Dolphins – now Cincinnati is in the lead for the #1 draft pick. 
  1. Nick Foles (remember him?) should be back for the Jaguars next game. Jacksonville has a bye this week and Foles practiced this past week, but did not play.  He should be ready for the next game.
  1. Was Lamar Jackson of the Ravens the better quarterback of the night when he beat Tom Brady’s Patriots 37-20? Jackson became the youngest QB to defeat a team with an 8-0 or better record.  Baltimore matched all of the offensive TDs (4) that the Patriots had given up all year.
  1. District XI playoffs continue this week on RCN-TV. Friday night features a double header with Parkland visiting Freedom at 7:00pm followed by EastonNazareth at 9:30pm.  On Saturday at 7:00pm it’s a 4A semifinal with Central Catholic traveling to Northwestern.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 9-5)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 93-40-1  70%) 

OAKLAND

KANSAS CITY

BUFFALO

TAMPA BAY

GIANTS

NEW ORLEANS

BALTIMORE

GREEN BAY

DETROIT

INDIANAPOLIS

RAMS

MINNESOTA

 SAN FRANCISCO

 

Pick 4 Update

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.

High school football playoffs are now underway (yes, the playoffs DO start before Halloween again this year) and we’ll have the most comprehensive previews and predictions on all of this weekend’s opening round District XI playoff games on Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program.  We’ll have some big-time names in terms of high school football head coaches in Eastern Pennsylvania to give their insights and opinions on ALL of this weekend’s playoff games…tune in to this week’s show to find out who’s breaking down this weekend’s matchups!

As we begin a playoff run I just wanted to keep everyone updated on the latest “Pick 4” contest standings–where your favorite RCN personalities select who they think will win the weekend’s most competitive games…

1-tie)  Tony Cocca     28-8

1-tie)  Chris Michael     28-8

3)  Keith Groller      27-9

4)  Gary Laubach     25-11

5)  John Leone     24-23

John Leone (who many people know is a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan) has channelled his inner Johnny Manziel by rapidly plummeting in the standings–after sharing the leader position just a few short weeks ago, he’s hit rock bottom by falling into last place.

What will the final results be? Will “Speedy” Leone get out of the basement?  And who will be our “grand loser” for this year’s event? Remember, whoever finishes with the worst record has to run a lap around a local high school track…on camera!

Stay tuned for the exciting finish over the next few weeks.

Now, here’s this week’s “Pick 4” predictions … 

The “PICK 4” Saucon Valley vs.
Central Catholic
Easton vs.
Northampton
Emmaus vs.
Freedom
Fordham vs.
Lafayette
Gary Laubach  Central Catholic Northampton Freedom Lafayette
Tony Cocca  Central Catholic Northampton Freedom Lafayette
Keith Groller  Central Catholic Easton Freedom Fordham
John Leone  Central Catholic Easton Freedom Lafayette
Chris Michael Central Catholic Easton Freedom Fordham


Keep following along each week here at “The Shop” for our predictions ahead of the weekend’s high school action and 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!

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

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Nazareth

2)  Freedom

3)  Parkland

4)  Northampton

5)  Emmaus

“Small” Schools Poll

1)   Northwestern

2)  Central Catholic

3)  Bethlehem Catholic

4)  Notre Dame

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

 

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.