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The SportsTalk Shop: FINAL 2121 FB POLL

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Full disclosure time!

With the high school football playoff season winding down, it’s time to take a look back to our preseason predictions from early August and see how our SportsTalk pollsters did this year.

Most years we can brag a little (although we really don’t do much of that) or, if we were completely off base, we are fully prepared to offer up a mea culpa to our readers and viewers.

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 was the first year in which Colonial teams cross-scheduled and played teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll reflected teams in the Lehigh Valley while many local teams did not play a majority of teams within the Lehigh Valley area. 

So below we have both our preseason and our final 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.


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

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.


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

Our posters were correct in naming Freedom as our preseason number one team as they captured District XI 6A title for the first time since 2018. Emmaus, Parkland and Nazareth were also in our top four, both before this season back in August and in our final tabulation.

Central Catholic Head Coach Tim McGorry was on our “SportsTalk” program recently and freely stated that his younger players developed much quicker than he had anticipated. SportsTalk co-host Keith Groller also admitted vastly underestimating the Vikings in his preseason prognostications on our last episode, citing that he ranked them eight out of 10 teams back in August.

Regarding Bethlehem Catholic as our preseason “number five,” the Golden Hawks ended up going through a transition under their new coaching staff. It was clear late in the season when I talked to Head Coach Kyle Haas that his emphasis with the program was more on changing the culture, instilling more discipline and building for the future than on winning games this year.


1) Notre Dame-GP
2) Northwestern
3) Palisades
4) Saucon Valley
5) Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh, Palmerton and Palisades


1) Northwestern
2) Northern Lehigh
3) Notre Dame-GP
4) Palmerton
5) Southern Lehigh

It’s clear this wasn’t our most accurate poll we’ve ever done, but it’s due to many good reasons and we are quite happy to be proven wrong in a few circumstances.

One of the area’s nicest head coaches, Northern Lehigh’s Joe Tout, has had an incredible season after his program really struggled the last few years with injuries and low participation numbers.

Tout was quite vocal when the schedule came out.  He complained his school, one of the smallest in the area, had a disadvantage in playing much larger schools and much better football teams – on paper – than other schools his size.

Joe’s team lost to three teams this fall (including our “number one” team, Northwestern), but remains the last school “alive” from our viewing area in the state playoffs. RCN TV is looking forward to bringing you live coverage of his team’s game against PIAA powerhouse Southern Columbia this Friday night!

Palmerton was another team that had struggled to keep their program going in recent years but became another feel-good story by becoming one of the top teams in the Colonial League this fall.

The resurgence of these two teams was reflected in their appearance in our poll, complete with the Bulldogs defeating the Blue Bombers for the 2A championship.

Notre Dame suffered an incredible rash of injuries and, in one of the biggest surprises of the year, failed to even reach the 3A championship this year.

Palisades also had a disappointing season.  Fresh off a district championship in 2020, the Pirates struggled mightily this fall and saw their head coach resign at season’s end.

Of course, these polls are for amusement purposes only and we hope you enjoyed following along all season. Keep checking back to “The Shop” and to our “SportsTalk” show on RCN TV as we get you ready for the winter sports season, rapidly approaching!

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.