Northampton Press

Friday, February 21, 2020

Tamaqua the lone D-11 team to move on

Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by Jeff Moeller Special to the Press in Sports

The local District 11 postseason is over.

The Catasauqua-Northampton Thanksgiving Day clash will formally pull down the curtain on the overall season.

Except for Tamaqua, both Nazareth and Southern Lehigh had its seasons end at the hands of District 1 suburban Philadelphia powerhouses last weekend.

Nazareth was thumped by District 12 champion St. Joseph’s Prep – a team laced with Division I recruits including the son of former Philadelphia Eagles’ middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter – 45-24 in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium (BASD), while Southern Lehigh was throttled by perennial power Archbishop Wood, 41-7 in a PIAA Class 5A quarterfinal at Pennridge High School.

Tamaqua, the lone District 11 team left in the trek to Hershey, downed Berks power Wyomissing (12-1) 20-10 in a Class 3A quarterfinal. They will meet Wyoming Area this weekend.

Yet, it was a season filled with plenty of regular-season some of the most memorable postseason games in District 11 history.

Nazareth (12-2) entered the quarterfinal round after a gut-wrenching 22-21 overtime victory over Parkland a week earlier in the District 11 Class 6A final at BASD Stadium.

Instead of playing for the tie that would send the game into another overtime, the Blue Eagles elected to go for a two-point conversion that will forever be known as the “Nazareth Special” modeled after the Eagles’ successful play in the Super Bowl.

Nathan Stefanik’s flip to Jaiden Cabrera in the back of the end zone gave Nazareth its first district title since 2011 and the second to current Blue Eagles’ head coach and former Catty mentor Tom Falzone, who won one with the Rough Riders in 2013.

Southern Lehigh Asher Smith was a literal one-man running machine for the Spartans, as he ran for a single-season record 2,532 yards and helped his team to a school-best 12-2 mark.

Parkland (10-3), which started the season 2-2 and then won eight straight before the Nazareth loss, rallied from a first-half deficit to defeat Freedom with a 23-point fourth quarter rally, 40-32, in a district quarterfinal.

Freedom (10-2) ended one of its most successful runs in the school history on Parkland’s one-yard line when receiver Owen Johnson-McCormick was dragged down by Parkland defenders. Patriots’ quarterback John Jenkins finished his career as the school’s all-time passing leader. Freedom had won a district title and appeared in two finals in the previous three seasons.

Bethlehem Catholic (7-5) had its two-year run as Class 4A champions when they lost at Pottsville, 18-13, in a district quarterfinal.

It was the final step in a disappointing final month for the Golden Hawks, who began the year with a 6-2 start.

Overall, it was another memorable and monumental year for District 11.