The District 11 wrestling tournaments kick off this week with Thursday’s 3A action taking place at Liberty and Northampton.
Top-seeded Nazareth will wrestle at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Northampton against the winner of the eight-nine matchup between Easton and Emmaus. At the bottom of the bracket, second-seeded Northampton will kick off at the same time as Nazareth, where they’ll meet the winner of seventh-seeded Stroudsburg and tenth-seeded Blue Mountain.
The East Penn Conference wrestling championship is slated to take place on Saturday at Easton Area Middle School.
The official pairings for the Saturday full slate of competition between each team in the conference won’t be decided until Thursday, but one matchup that appears to be a near certainty before pairings are released is the 7 p.m. championship bout between Bethlehem Catholic (8-0, 7-0) and Nazareth (11-1, 6-0).
It’s finally the end of the football season and for our viewing area, this is an earlier exit for Lehigh Valley teams than we’ve been accustomed to in recent memory. Bethlehem Catholic’s run to the state semifinals over the past couple of years helped prolong the season after Thanksgiving, but with Nazareth falling to St. Joe’s Prep and Southern Lehigh getting bounced by Archbishop Wood, that leaves us with only Turkey day games this week.
So, enjoy the start of the holiday season and thanks for following throughout the year.
Here’s a look at our final poll.
For the first time ever, I didn’t get one pick right in last week’s edition. Truly a Haley’s Comet moment, but also a great week for all three winners last week, as Nazareth’s victory over Parkland will always be remembered by the Blue Eagle faithful for their Nazareth special.
Pottsville proved that they are no joke, as they head into the state tournament and Southern Lehigh dismantled Oil City 41-0 in their state playoff game.
What can all three teams do this week?
Hopefully, I have better luck this time around.
1. Nazareth (12-1)
Last week’s rank: #1
Well, Week 10 is finally here. The last week of the regular season is upon us without much fanfare in the District 11 postseason. Most teams are already qualified, but Week 10 is more about the rivalries with Bethlehem taking center stage this weekend.
Bethlehem Catholic hosts Central Catholic in the Holy War on Friday night and then the greatest spectacle of the high school season kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday at BASD with Freedom taking on Liberty.
Sprinkle in the Parkland-Emmaus contest, as well as Nazareth and Easton to round out the big games this week.
Week seven didn’t bring many surprises to the table, outside of Easton continuing to crumble with the real part of their schedule in tow.
Freedom stays on top after a record passing night by quarterback Jared Jenkins, as the top three teams seem to be cemented now until the end of the regular season, barring upsets.
Central Catholic preps for the postseason, while Northwestern looks to continue its quest for the Colonial League crown.
With Week 9 on the horizon, here are this week’s picks.
1. Freedom (7-1)
Last week’s rank: #1
Last week we saw Nazareth fall for the first time this season. Was it the eventual slip that most teams in the EPC face, or are there cracks in the foundation?
The lone EPC team to remain undefeated is Easton following its win over Central Catholic over the weekend, but the Rovers haven’t been truly tested yet.
That changes this week with Freedom coming to town.
Parkland’s win over the Blue Eagles could be a sign they’re gearing up at the right time, while the Colonial League battle between Southern Lehigh and Northwestern could decide the league crown.
As we arrive at midseason of the poll, it’s become quite clear that Nazareth is one of the most fun teams to watch in the area, as well as the top squad.
The Blue Eagles made plenty of mistakes in last week’s win over Bethlehem Catholic, but still walked away with a convincing win. It shows that even on a bad night, the Anthony Harris-led squad is a problem for teams to handle.
The Blue Eagles have another hurdle this week taking on Parkland, but unless someone finds a way to stop Harris, nobody will be taking down the Blue Eagles.
We have a new team at the top of the poll following Nazareth’s 35-33, thrilling win over Freedom last Friday night.
It was one of the best high school games the area has seen in a while and now the Blue Eagles have the task of upholding their status at the top by hosting Bethlehem Catholic Friday night. It could mark back-to-back weeks where Nazareth is involved in the top contest in the area and those things tend to happen when you have the best quarterback in the region with Anthony Harris under center.
Week 4 of the poll features the most movement this season as teams settle into their identities. Freedom remains steadfast at the top, but face a hungry Nazareth squad looking for respect.
Parkland and Bethlehem Catholic will be in a battle this week, while Central Catholic and Whitehall are in desperation mode.
Southern Lehigh’s impressive romp over Notre Dame catapults them into the poll as well.
With three weeks of action in the books, Week 4 will continue to prove who belongs where.
1. Freedom (3-0)
Last week’s rank: #1