Chris’ “ALL-UNDERRATED” Football Edition (Part 2)

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A week ago I started naming my underrated sports personalities from last fall’s football team (see last week’s blog entry for the “rules” and the previous week’s “winners.”)

Continuing on with that list… 

MOST UNDERRATED RUNNING BACK

 Liberty’s Nasir Legree.

While Legree was one of several outstanding backs in the Lehigh Valley, I think you could argue that none of those other stud backs had as much of a single target placed upon him than this senior.  When I saw him against Parkland, which featured one of the fiercest rushing defenses in the EPC, Legree was working with a quarterback making his debut (who showed great flashes of potential and will be a player to watch for 2019-20).  The team was also without several key lineman and facing a Trojans’ squad that was sending everything they had at Nasir, daring someone else to beat him—a strategy many opposing teams employed during the year.  Legree was also huge in one of the biggest upsets of the year—against the eventual District XI 6A champions—and Liberty’s biggest rival, the Freedom Patriots.  

MOST UNDERRATED CONTRIBUTION OFF THE FIELD

Parkland Cheerleaders, band and PA announcers.

The Lehigh Valley boasts some of the top cheering squads in the state and the Parkland cheering section has to be one of the Valley’s best in terms of their spirit and their routines on the track during football games.  They do a tremendous job adding to what already is normally an exciting atmosphere for the school’s home games.

While Liberty, Freedom and Easton seem to get the most attention for local bands, the Trojans can’t take a back seat to anyone with their performances every year.

But a personal highlight for me this past football season was when these two groups, along with Parkland Stadiums’ announcers, went through the different branches of the military at their home games.  The band played the theme songs from the corresponding service corps and the cheerleaders led a salute to the veterans in attendance for standing during their halftime shows.  It was a really great idea and well-executed! (Also, the Parkland dance team has been exceptional again so far this winter—keep an eye out for their performances in the gym!) 

Parklandcheer2

parklandcheer1

MOST UNDERRATED PLAY

Easton Wide Receiver Nahjee Adams getting an extra six yards for a first down after it appeared he was going to be down before getting to the sticks in a key game against Liberty.  Not only did Adams make a spectacular grab but he had the idea of fighting to get the extra yardage needed to get the first down on a 3rd down and 25.  This play also set up the game-winning touchdown and gave the Rovers a big win en route to qualifying for the district playoffs.  It was one of the most dramatic plays in a crowded field of close regular season games this past fall.  

MOST UNDERRATED QUARTERBACK

Notre Dame’s Cole DeFranco.

It might be hard to say that the District XI’s leading passer (by far!) could be underrated, but in a year which Ethan Parvel, Jared Jenkins, Logan Edmond and others were getting tons of attention, all DeFranco did was complete 208 passes for a school record 3,441 yards (more than 1,600 yards than any other District XI player) and set another seasonal school record with 43 touchdowns thrown in a season.

All told, DeFranco finished his career completing 675 of his 1,026 attempted passes and set career school records with 9,904 total yards and 99 touchdowns.  He threw over 4,500 more total yards than any other active player in the district.

DeFranco got some accolades in the media, but probably deserved more than was given after you look at both the team and individual accomplishments this season (not to mention some of his tremendous throws in their dramatic win over Saucon Valley which gave his school its first-ever Colonial League championship).

Coming up on this Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program, we’ll have an all-star panel of wrestling experts breaking down thoughts from the current regular season for high school wrestling, including thoughts on the top teams and individual wresters heading into the post-season.

Plus, we’ll be previewing this weekend’s Colonial League wrestling championships and the EPC “Challenge” and next week’s District XI team wrestling finals—the latter two events can be seen live on RCN-TV.

Among this week’s guests are the Morning Call’s wrestling beat writer Tom Housenick, long time wrestling official Gene Waas and members of the RCN wrestling announcing crew!

Email your wrestling comments and questions to us at rcnsportstalk@rcn.com and we might read and respond to your emails live on this Thursday’s live show!

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.

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