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HS FB POLL: 10/18/21

October 18, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Here are three local sports observations before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
Unfortunately, police activity ended up being the big story of the weekend, instead of any individual or team “on the field” highlights – as it should be.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Nazareth football team (this time at the Emmaus high school stadium) was besieged with a shooting threat to their game.
The anonymous 911 call, threatening bodily harm, precipitated radical changes to what should have been one of the biggest and most exciting regular season nights for high school football in the Lehigh Valley.
Fans were banned from attending, single-handedly ruining the Hornets’ homecoming activities – one of the biggest highlights of the students’ school year.
Sports has always been a means to escape the tribulations of the more serious aspects of life. But more and more over the last 18 months, it has been the more sinister elements of society invading what should be fun events for everyone.

#2
As we head down the home stretch of the high school football season, it’ll be an interesting final couple weeks as the district playoff picture comes into shape. This is always an interesting time for local sports fans, media members and even coaches and athletic directors to try to get a handle on the rather complex system used to see playoff teams and decide who gets into the postseason…and who doesn’t.
The system is based on having every team play the same amount of games and, in most cases, the same teams as everybody else.
This is certainly not the case this year, with many schools electing to play teams outside of the Lehigh valley and of course, the fact that Covid-19 has mangled this fall schedule.
A bunch of teams will, at best, play only nine games this fall and a few other teams will only play eight…and that’s if we don’t have any more disruptions over the next few weeks.
While very complicated and occasionally controversial, the weighted “PowerPoint” system has overall been very fair for all sports and District XI. The formula, however, is based on the concept that every team plays exactly the same amount of games. This year, its’ strategy will obviously be tested with all the different elements and problems that local schools have had to deal with.

#3
Head coaches from the school districts that have been more extremely cautious about protecting their kids from the virus report being hampered in terms of their “on the field” productivity. At some schools, any sign of a single symptom requires at least a three-day quarantine from the rest of the team which, depending on what day this diagnosis takes place, virtually eliminates that player from preparing for that week’s game.
There are clearly larger issues here and the student athletes’ health is the primary concern, as it should be. But in terms of sports, it has already made a challenging fall season even tougher to navigate for local coaches trying to prepare for games each week.
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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Emmaus
2) Parkland
3) Freedom
4) Nazareth
5) Easton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Notre Dame-GP
3) Palmerton
4) Bangor
5) Northern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to check the “upcoming events” here on the website and check it frequently as there continues to be changes from day to day.

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.

HS FB POLL: 10/11/21

October 11, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Here are three local sports observations before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
Congratulations to Emmaus field hockey head coach Sue Butz-Stavin for surpassing 1,000 coaching victories for her career this past week.
We alerted you she was closing in on this milestone achievement a month ago here at “The Shop.” Now achieved, it is truly staggering to take in all the consistent success she has had over the last several decades and to ingest all that she has accomplished in her career.
Among one of the more mind-blowing statistics about her legendary coaching run: the last time her Green Hornet team did NOT win a district title…Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.
How long will this amazing streak continue? The local field hockey playoff season begins next week. Coach Butz-Stavin will be a guest on SportsTalk in a couple weeks to talk about her momentous accomplishments and this fall’s post-season action.

#2
We made a unique choice for our tape-delayed RCN broadcast this Friday, which features Catasauqua facing Pine Grove.
There are quite a few reasons it became one of our picks for this weekend.
For one, it’ll be the first time we feature the Catasauqua football team in eight years on our network. Also, this week’s contest is scheduled to be the first game played at the school district’s brand new/refurbished Alumni Stadium.
It’s been tough seeing teams like the Rough Riders and the other schools schedule games outside our coverage area, but it will be our pleasure to break our own protocols for this one week and feature a regular season game featuring a non-Lehigh Valley opponent for the special circumstance.
It should be a great night for Catasauqua residents and their sports fans. We wish everyone with the Roughies program all the best on this special evening this Friday!

#3
Of course, the big football story last weekend was the Central Catholic / Nazareth game being postponed due to a bomb threat. I already have a call in to Nazareth head coach Tom Falzone and Central head coach Tim McGorry to talk with them about the incident. I will have details on all that happened that night this Friday when we have the Blue Eagles game against Emmaus and Central’s game against Whitehall on Saturday. Both games will be live on RCN-TV.
By the way, Friday’s live contest game will feature our number four and number one ranked teams, respectively, squaring off against each other in our polls (see more on that below.)
Elsewhere, it was great seeing Notre Dame-Green Pond getting back to action last Friday after missing two games because of Covid-19 issues. The Crusaders weren’t exactly thrilled with the game’s end result. They played undefeated North Schuylkill and suffered their first loss of the year – by a significant margin.
While Notre Dame returned to the playing field, two other Lehigh Valley games were canceled this past weekend — Dieruff versus Pocono Mountain East and Easton at Bethlehem Catholic — both because of the virus.
It certainly has been another unique fall sports season.

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members.
Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.
Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Emmaus
2) Parkland
3) Freedom
4) Nazareth
5) Easton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Notre Dame-GP
3) Northern Lehigh
4) Wilson
5) Bangor

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

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.

HS FB POLL: 10/4/21

October 4, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Here are three local sports observations before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
The revolving door in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division continues to swing around in high school football.

Consider the following so far:
Central Catholic defeated Emmaus and Parkland but got crushed by Freedom and Easton. The Patriots lost to both Emmaus and Parkland but dominated Nazareth — a team that keeps improving each week and almost beat the Trojans.

The Red Rovers now have three wins but were routed by both Freedom and Parkland, and have Emmaus and Nazareth looming on the horizon.

Whitehall started the year 3-0 but has now lost two in a row by significant margins and has several more tough opponents coming up throughout the rest of its regular season schedule.

As you saw on RCN TV last weekend, the Blue Eagles recorded its fourth victory with a 17-6 win over Liberty and have lots of great talent coming out of their sophomore program. They could be contenders again after winning the district title the last two seasons but, as we broke the news during the broadcast, they now will be without their top wide receiver, Nolan Lobb, for several weeks.

Meanwhile, the Hornets have responded from its lone, early season loss to Central by out-scoring its last three opponents by over 150 points.

It appears Emmaus has emerged as the team to beat in this competitive division, which is a good thing for RCN customers: we already have the Hornets scheduled for three of its toughest games coming up over the next month on RCN-TV! All three contests will probably decide the EPC-South championship.

#2
Meanwhile, in the EPC – North, Northampton continues to dominate against teams from the Pocono region. As in the past, the Koncrete Kids beat up on teams from the Northern tier of the District 11 area – some struggling to even field a team. This year’s squad could be different as they’ve already pulled off one of the year’s biggest upsets week one by surprising Bethlehem Catholic. They could very well beat Whitehall at the end of the regular season and then make noise by beating more Lehigh Valley teams come playoff time.

#3
There were also some key games in the Colonial League this past weekend.

Saucon Valley, a team that was ranked number five in our preseason poll but had managed just one win so far through five games, upset last week’s #5 team, Bangor.

Wilson lost its first game of the year on its home field last Saturday, 42-6, to Northwestern. The Warriors have had a great start but can’t afford to pick up too many more losses in a very competitive 4A playoff field–only four teams qualify for the playoffs in this classification this fall.

Catasauqua got back on the winning path. Like Northampton, they are mostly playing teams from outside our coverage area. We will get a great look at how strong the Rough Riders are this season when they face off against Lehigh Valley 2A teams starting week 10.

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Emmaus
2) Parkland
3) Freedom
4) Nazareth
5) Easton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Notre Dame-GP
3) Wilson
4) Northern Lehigh
5) Catasauqua

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

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.

HS FB POLL: 9/27/21

September 30, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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.

Here are 3 local sports observations, before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1

It was another great weekend for the 34th Annual Celtic Classic Highlands Games and Festival.

It was once again my privilege to host the United States National Championship held in Bethlehem along with my partner, Dr. Harrison Bailey, who returned for this year’s broadcast on RCN TV.

Each year the competitors put on a tremendous show and are truly larger than life characters — both figuratively and literally (one participant this year was 6-ft-8, 385 pounds). This year’s caber toss thrown by participants weighed in at over 19 feet and 153 lbs.

These athletes are entertaining to watch for both die-hard Celtic athletic fans as well as first-time viewers.

Be sure to catch the action this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. on RCN- TV, as well as reliving all of the great moments and memories from this year’s events. All of our broadcast games, events and stage performances can be watched through RCN On Demand, which is free for RCN customers.

#2

There’s been some outstanding fall teams in the Lehigh Valley outside the sport of football.

Among the pleasant surprises so far this season include the Emmaus and Northern Lehigh girls soccer teams, an undefeated Nazareth field hockey squad, who just scored a win over previously undefeated Whitehall, the Emmaus girls cross country team, who have now won over 40 consecutive matches in a row and many others. It should be an exciting league and district playoff season when it commences in a few weeks.

#3

We’ve continued to bring you a steady stream of competitive high school football games each weekend on RCN TV this fall. Last Friday, Freedom and Nazareth were tied at 14-14 before the Patriots went on an impressive offensive showing in the 4th quarter to record the victory.

Elsewhere, the steady onslaught of Lehigh Valley teams beating up on squads from the EPC North continued, which included Emmaus winning 84 – 0 over East Stroudsburg North. There seems to be growing discontent in the region about this widening disparity between the teams. Also, some local schools are frustrated that they have to butt heads against the best teams in District 11 each week, while other Valley schools rack up easy wins, matched up against teams that barely have enough players to field a team.

Once we finally rid ourselves of COVID-19 concerns, expect this issue to become even more prominently discussed and more loudly debated in local sports conversations.

Meanwhile…

Two more games were postponed last weekend due to COVID-19 — including one featuring our previously number one ranked team, Notre Dame. Because of the Crusaders’ inactivity and Northwestern’s big win last weekend, the Tigers will move into the number one spot in our poll for the Colonial League teams.

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Emmaus
2) Central Catholic
3) Parkland
4) Freedom
5) Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Northwestern
2) Notre Dame-GP
3) Wilson
4) Bangor
5) Northern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

HS FB POLL: 9/20/21

September 20, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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 take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area, I want to give people a heads-up of some “can’t miss” episodes of the RCN SportsTalk show over the next few weeks!

Our guests and show topics will include…

Coaches and players from this year’s PIAA State Champion  Allentown Central Catholic Vikings

Legendary Emmaus Field Hockey Head Coach Sue Butz-Stavin, who is closing in on 1,000 coaching victories for her career

Good Counsel Head Football Coach Andy Stefanelli of the DMV, discussing MaxPrep’s declaration that he’s playing one of the top five most competitive schedules in the country

Doctors and athletic trainers discussing the continuing concerns and issues in playing sports and suggested precautions to utilize to stay healthy in the COVID-10 era

Last but certainly not least, RCN’s Gary Laubach will talk Lafayette football, local sports issues and will also reveal some personal news about himself and his great career

Make sure you set reminders, schedule your DVRs and check out the shows through On-Demand (free for RCN customers) for some of the biggest shows and very important interviews!

Each new show will debut on Thursday evenings at 7 pm on RCN-TV!

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Now, it’s time to look at this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members.

Our preseason #1 team — the Parkland Trojans — are now the ONLY Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South’s undefeated team through the first four weeks of the season. Parkland defeated Freedom, 19-15 last Friday night. If you missed the game, RCN customers can watch it for free through RCN On Demand!

Our #2 and #3 teams (Freedom and Nazareth) face off against each other this Friday. You can watch that game live on RCN TV at 7pm.

Our preseason top Colonial League team — Notre Dame also remains undefeated, after a hard-fought win over Northern Lehigh. Northwestern, our number two preseason team, also is 4-0.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland
2) Freedom
3) Nazareth
4) Emmaus
5) Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame-GP
2) Northwestern
3) Bangor
4) Wilson
5) Catasauqua

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

HS FB POLL: 9/13/21

September 13, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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.

Here are three local sports observations before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
We were happy to bring home a very special ceremony at halftime of the Liberty / Whitehall game last Friday, which featured the official retirement of Saquon Barkley’s high school jersey.

The current New York Giants running back gave a speech thanking his high school coaches, administrators and classmates and seemed genuinely touched by the event, which also  featured his brother and parents. The halftime ceremony included many former Zephyr coaches and players, including former New England Patriots center Dan Koppen, who won a Super Bowl ring with Tom Brady.

The RCN crew did a great job broadcasting the event. If you missed it, RCN customers can check out the ceremony for free through RCN On Demand!

#2
Covid reared its ugly head cancelling or forcing the rescheduling of four teams’ games in our viewing area.

That being said, it was great to be out and about broadcasting games from the stadium this past weekend for the first time in one and a half years. A big thank-you to the crew for doing a great job while observing Covid protocols to bring you the sights and sounds of this weekend’s RCN broadcasts. Also, thanks to the local athletic directors and personnel from the various school districts for welcoming us back to their stadiums!

#3
In local soccer, the Emmaus boys team was not too thrilled when the local papers published their high school soccer polls for the fall and the Hornets were NOT picked as the team to beat.

Emmaus was the defending district champion and came within a whisker of winning a state championship last fall (losing to perennial power Neshaminy, 2-1, in double overtime).  Even with a number of talented players returning from that squad, a few teams ranked higher than the Hornets in the pre-season polls.  Both their players and longtime head coach John Cari were very vocal about those predictions and made a few claims of their own.

You can hear their comments for yourself on this week’s edition of RCN SportsTalk, Thursday at 7pm on RCN-TV.  (We’ll also have more Emmaus-related sports news next week here at “The Shop!”)

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce or release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

Below, we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Parkland
2) Central Catholic
3) Whitehall
4) Emmaus
5-tie) Freedom/Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Notre Dame-GP
2) Northwestern
3) Wilson
4) Bangor
5) Northern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

HS FB POLL: 9/7/21

September 7, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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.

Here are 3 local sports observations, before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1  Hats off to our “SportsTalk” pollsters again–already shining through the first two weeks of the season!

While every other Lehigh Valley media outlet had Freedom or Easton as the “teams to beat” in 2021 in the EPC or in the entire region, our voters had Parkland in the number one spot and Emmaus third.  Both the Trojans and the Hornets were victorious last weekend, beating the Red Rovers and the Patriots respectively.  Great job RCN football voters!!

#2  The Colonial League also had some very entertaining contests last weekend.  

Northwestern had a thrilling 34-33 win in a Thursday night matchup, and Bangor and Wilson have jumped out to impressive 2-0 starts this year, winning in landslide fashion.  The league looks as balanced as ever through the first two weeks of the regular season.

Also, Notre Dame, the team we saw last week on RCN, continued to earn its #1 ranking in our poll beating last week’s #4 team Southern Lehigh, and, for the moment, knocked the Spartans out of our “Top 5” spots. 

#3  RCN broadcast the first ever Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South game from the “new” Cottingham Stadium last week–a broadcast that was picked up and shown across the state on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.  

Hats off to the crews of both RCN and PCN to bring home the historic game to audiences across the Commonwealth.  By the way, if you missed the Easton coaches and players talking about all the new aspects (and their favorite parts) of their new digs, check out last week’s RCN SportsTalk show..it’s available for free for RCN customers through RCN on demand.

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland

2) Emmaus

3) Nazareth

4) Freedom

5) Whitehall

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton


COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame

2) Northwestern

3) Northern Lehigh

4) Bangor

5) Wilson

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades


Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

 

HS FB POLL: 8/30/21

August 30, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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.

Here are three local sports observations, before we take a look at week one of our “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
COVID news entered the high school sports picture last weekend as two games–one of them less than 48 hours before kickoff–were scrapped because of a reported case of the outbreak.  While many coaches were pretty much told to “proceed as normal” a couple months ago, they spent a good portion of the last several days going back and revamping team procedures, how practices are conducted, implementing mandatory mask-wearing and other practices that we were all hoping we would not need to discuss during the sports calendar year.

#2
As usual, the EPC-South dominated the opening weekend of high school football with only one “North” team securing a victory. Many victorious teams won their game by over 50-point spreads. Things figure to get much tighter this weekend.  Easton will host its first Lehigh Valley opponent–Parkland–at their new stadium this Friday night.  The game will also feature the #1 and #3 ranked teams in our poll (see below) and should be a good contest to watch on  RCN-TV this weekend.

#3
A great idea to follow local sports action this fall is to bookmark the RCN-TV broadcast schedule posted here on our website.  Before the season even kicked off last week and the COVID-cancelled events occurred, there were multiple changes to this fall’s schedule due to school district changes, stadium occupancy issues and other factors.  Therefore, it is very important you keep checking back to our schedule as things change more than ever!

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools within the RCN broadcast area.  This season will be unique in which Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not be playing the majority of teams within their own leagues!

So below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland

2) Freedom

3) Easton

4)  Emmaus

5)  Nazareth 

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton


COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame

2) Northwestern

3) Northern Lehigh

4) Saucon Valley

5)  Bangor

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

On this week’s “SportsTalk”…

Our guests will include members of the Easton football team talking about their fall sports program and also giving their thoughts on a special night this Friday–the first EPC-Lehigh Valley Division game at the “NEW” Cottingham Stadium.  Construction was completed a few weeks ago on the exact same spot as the “old” stadium–that same block has been holding high school football games for nearly 100 years.  Friday will be a special night for local sports fans, and RCN will have the historic game live at 7pm!

A New Season!

August 24, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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 season is nearly here!

Much like last year, the emphasis on the preseason activities over the last few weeks has been less “X-s and O-s” and more talk about COVID protocols, adjustments made this preseason, “possible” changes for the fall (and staying “flexible”) and the increased emphasis on keeping everyone safe.

That being said, it should be an intriguing year on the field for high school football as the current plan for this fall looks more “normal” than in 2020 — but that could change.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to in the upcoming sports year is welcoming new on-air personalities to our sports broadcasts. You’ll be seeing and hearing more about them in the coming weeks and months, but here’s just a little bit of information about the new members of the RCN TV sports family…

Megan Kane: A multiple league and district winning head coach at Southern Lehigh High School and an assistant coach with the multiple-MAC champion DeSales University women’s basketball team. Known as one of the best prepared coaches in the area, she will be the first woman to broadcast a men’s game in Lehigh Valley history.

Okezie Alozie: One of the top Lehigh Valley running backs in the early 2010s. Okezie went on to have an outstanding Division I college career at the University of Buffalo and earned tryouts for several NFL teams. He was named an All–American Honorable Mention by Pro Football Focus and an All–MAC selection in 2015 as a Safety & Linebacker. Okezie returned to the Lehigh Valley in 2016 to reside with his family in Bethlehem while coaching 7on7 football for Diamond Athletics. 

Josh Young: A three-sport standout at Freedom High School and a two-sport athlete at Franklin and Marshall College. He earned the NAACP student-athlete award in high school and was on the diversity council in the Bethlehem School District. He’ll be working the sidelines this fall in-between his commitments to attend games to cheer on his younger brother, Joe, for Harvard University football games (his brother is the team’s starting quarterback.)  A former wrestler, you may also see him giving his opinions “on the mats” for RCN telecasts in the winter months.

Dante Terenzio: Local wrestling coach and sports writer for The Morning Call. He has been a frequent contributor on the “RCN SportsTalk” programs and will be handling football play-by-play this fall.  When available, he will also assist with our basketball and wrestling broadcasts, in-between coaching, teaching and chasing after his two young baby girls (his second was born this past February).

Please welcome these new announcers and their unique viewpoints, experiences and insights on local sports.  Be on the lookout for more new faces joining our family in the months to come!

**********

Before the high school football season gets underway it’s time to unveil our preseason top five teams for both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Colonial League.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland

2) Freedom

3) Emmaus

4) Easton

5) Bethlehem Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame

2) Northwestern

3) Northern Lehigh

4) Southern Lehigh

5) Saucon Valley

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

On this week’s “SportsTalk”…

We’ll have our official high school football preview show, featuring observations and predictions about the upcoming season, as well as interviews with local coaches and players as we get ready to kick off the season this Friday night.  Tune in this Thursday at 7pm on RCN-TV and get ready for the fall season!

 

SUMMER “MELTS” 2021

August 9, 2021 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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.

Despite much uncertainty and a few local organizations hampered by possible health issues, we were able to bring many of our regular summer sports activities to our RCN TV audience over the last couple months.

While a couple annual events were canceled because of COVID, we did bring you to high school baseball championship games, the McDonald’s all-star football classic and, with the exception of two rainouts, a full slate of Blue Mountain League baseball “game of the week” contests.

Below are the melts (aka, “highlights”) from all of these events. If you missed the broadcast or wanted to see them again, many are still available for RCN viewers to watch for free through our on-demand services. To purchase a copy of these games, you can call 610-443-2909 to order DVDs.

RCN Sports: Northampton Giants vs Limeport Dodgers (7/21)

RCN Sports: McDonald’s All-Star Football Classic (6/21)

RCN Sports: Orioles vs Limeport Bulls (7/21)

RCN Sports: Orioles vs Northern Yankees (7/21)

RCN Sports: Pleasant Valley Bears vs. Emmaus Hornets (5/21)

RCN Sports: Parkland Trojans vs. Emmaus Hornets (5/21)

RCN Sports: Northampton Giants vs. Hellertown Royals (6/21)

We will continue to get you ready for the fall sports season on our Thursday night RCN SportsTalk show.  On this week’s show, we’ll continue featuring some of the new head football coaches in our viewing area by introducing you to the new Liberty coach along with several of his players on this year’s team.

Next week, we will interview the new athletic director at Wilson Area High School…a man who was on our program almost 10 years ago as a star player on that same school’s district winning football squad.  We will reminisce a little with him along with talking about a few key, and somewhat controversial, issues heading into the fall scholastic sports season.

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