The Morning Call (Sunday)
Week filled with firsts, turnarounds
It was a big night for Allentown Central Catholic Friday night as the Vikings completed a two-game sweep of rival Bethlehem Catholic with a 38-17 win in the District 11 4Asemifinals,
But it was also a big night for a proud CCHSalum.
EdGallagher, a 1986 Vikings graduate, celebrated his first District Onetitle as the head coach at Souderton. TheIndians beat Pennridge 31-17 behind a big night by senior running back Jalen White, whoranfor 137 yards and two touchdowns.
“There are no words to describe this feeling,” Gallagher said Saturday morning. “I thought we’d pretty good this year, but I did not expect a district championship. They realigned the Suburban OneLeague this year, so I thought wehadashot at being successful in the league. Wewent5-0in our division to qualify for districts and then webeat a pretty good Spring-Ford team and an excellent Pennridge team to win it. Ourkids played really well.”
Gallagher was a memberof Central’s state-championship coaching staff in 1993 and said the opportunity of working with head coach in Morgans, offensive coordinator TomFilipovits, SamSenneca and others on that 1993 Vikings team had a great influence on him. Hestill runs the Delaware Wing-T CCHSrantonear perfection in winning six District 11 titles and two state crowns between 1991-98.
“There’s no doubt that Central still and always will meanalot to me,” Gallagher said Saturday morning. “As we were celebrating and watching the Big Ticket on TV, we
gave a toast to Central Catholic for their victory in the Holy War.”
When he washire dat Souderton in 2003, the Indians were on a 14-game losing streak and coming off an 0-12 season. Earlier this year, Gallagher, who also spent time coaching at Pennridge, won his 100th game.
Hewill try to do what many in District 11 have attempted and failed to do — beat St. Joe’s Prep in the state tournament. Whether it was Parkland several times or Freedom in 2018 or Nazareth in 2019, St. Joe’s Prep has been the end of the road for District 11 champs in the last decade.
The Indians will get their shot in the state semifinals next Saturday afternoon. While not finalized, the gameis likely to be played at Cardinal O’Hara.
“We’re going to work hard and do our best to compete,” Gallagher said. “They maybea different level, but we’ll give our best shot.”
2. Anim posing Frame: Trevor A morim has the fortune and misfortune of having Matt Frame on his team.
The Northern Lehigh junior and his teammates have to attempt to tackle Frame, a
6-foot, 215-pound definition of a Bulldog with the ball in workouts.
“In practice, not a lot of guys try to be honest,” Amorim said. “You just two-hand touch him.
“You don’t like filling [the gaps] whenhe’s running upthe middle.”
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Frame was on their side during Saturday’s District 11 Class 2A semifinal. It was Palmerton which had the chore of trying to bring him down.
They did, but not until the junior amassed a career-high 259 yards and three touchdowns on only 21 carries in a 42-27 Northern Lehigh victory.
“He’s a load, for sure,” Blue Bombers coach Chris Walkowiak said. “That’s why it’s important to win the line of scrimmage before he gets going. Once he gets going, he tough and carries some people with him.”
Frame, who has 957 yards and 14 touchdowns in eight games this season, showed his versatility on several big gainers Saturday. None were more impressive than his game-changing 39-yard TDrunwith2.7 seconds left in the first half.
Thejunior fullback burst through a hole, but once in the secondary he sidestepped two would-be tacklers and burst around the left end for the score.
3.Talkingturkey: Easton coach Jeff Braido was disappointed with his team’s performancein a 37-7 loss to Freedom Friday night in the District 11 6A semifinals.
But the RedRovers, whoare 3-4after being projected to be one of the area’s best teams, have one more chance to end the season on a high note and that’s Thanksgiving morning in the 114th meeting in one of the nation’s longest running scholastic rivalries — Easton vs. Phillipsburg.
Thegameoffers a major twist this season. For the first time in more than 100 years it won’t be played at Lafayette College due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, it’s scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 26 at P’burg’s Maloney Field.
“We’re fortunate in that we can lose a playoff gameandnot have to put our equipment away which most people do,” Braido said. “Wealways have an opportunity to redeem ourselves and end our season on a positive note. It’s going to be more difficult this year because wehave to go to P’burg to play.”
Oneof the area’s other great rivalries — Liberty vs. Freedom — is nowset for 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving. Both schools were scheduled to be offthat day and the always spirited contest should serve as an upbeat sendoff into the holiday weekend.
4.Nodiverdown: Palmerton’s season ended with a 42-27 loss Saturday afternoon at rival Northern Lehigh in the District 11 Class 2Afinal, but coach
Chris Walkowiak is proud of the fight the Blue Bombers showed throughout a 3-5 season.
“The kids are awesome,” he said. “I love coming to practice every day with them because of what you saw today, win or lose.
They play hard. That’s all you can ask for as a coach. They are going to carry those lessons from football into life and they are going to be successful.”
Walkowiak will have many of his weapons returning led by freshman quarterback Matt Machalik and sophomore running back Cole Serfass.
Other returning starters include: wide receiver/defensive back James Denicola, slotback/ outside linebacker Lucas Heydt, junior center Jeremy Mooney, defensive tackle Zack Anthony and junior lineman Shade Klotz, whomissed the last two games.
Palmerton beat Northern Lehigh two weeks earlier in the regular-season finale and put up a fight in a 30-20 loss to fellow District 11 2Afinalist Palisades the weekbefore.
Machalik totaled 1,117 yards (665 passing, 452 rushing) and 14 touchdowns, including a 90-yard kickoff return in Saturday’s season-ending game.
Serfass finished this season with 964 rushing yards and 11 TDs, plus three passing TDs.
Denicola led the Blue Bombers with 16 catches for 314 yards and six scores. Heydt had four total TDs. Klotz was tied for the team lead with 8.0 tackles per gameentering Saturday.
5. Bleeding maroon and gold: Brian Gilbert and Ramie Moussa are pleased to be wearing purple these days as athletic director and head football coach at Palisades. But both menspent several seasons coaching football at Whitehall and were thrilled to see the Zephyrs win the District 11 5Atitle Thursday night.
“I watched the gameonTV and have been following them all year,” Gilbert said. “I still have a son [Luke} at the school and he’s friends with a lot of those guys. Someof them were in the program whenIwasthere three years ago. Thehard work they put in has paid off. Alot of my staff stayed and Coach [Matt] Senneca hired them. It’s good to see those guys have that moment and that junior class they bring back is pretty talented. This could be a big springboard for them into next season.”
While Gilbert left after winning a district title in 2017, Moussa was still at Whitehall two years ago whenthe Zephyrs went 2-8.
“Listen, if you cut mywrist you’d see I still bleed maroon and gold,” Moussa said. “I wanted this so bad for Matt Senneca. Hehastaken a lot of heat, a lot of crap, so he deserved that championship. Theteam deserved it and I amsohappyfor them. I was their biggest fan. I’m still proud to be a Zephyr.”
6. District 11 Class A ,3 A finals updates: Adecision is expected to madeearly this weekfrom the District 11 football committee with regard to allowing the two title games to be conducted Thanksgiving weekend.
TheClass 3Afinal between unbeatens Notre Dame-Green Pond and North Schuylkill and the Class Achampionship game featuring Williams Valley and Tri-Valley were postponed from Friday night because of COVID19 concerns at North Schuylkill and Tri-Valley.
Crusaders coach Phil Stambaugh and Vikings coach Tim Savage agreed to postpone the games instead of taking the forfeit victories and the gold medals.
Notre Dame-GPalso is waiting to schedule other games until District 11 makes a decision, some of which mayhave to do with North Schuylkill and Tri-Valley being cleared to play the weekend of Nov. 27-28.