Last year’s Eastern Conference title was a nice consolation for a team that missed the district playoffs. But that prize isn’t what Hornet head coach Harold Fairclough was referring to when he made the following statement less than a week before the start of the 2016 season, his first at the helm of the Emmaus program.
Before the Hornets were finished celebrating last week’s 77-13 season opening win over Dieruff, they were already thinking about their next game.
While the players and coaching staff were happy with the win, they also saw some things their team needs to work on before it faces some of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference’s more powerful teams.
A new era in Emmaus football will begin Friday night when the Hornets visit J. Birney Crum Stadium to take on Dieruff and open the 2016 season. The team will play its first regular season game under new head coach Harold Fairclough.
The Hornets will look to build on last year’s season, which culminated with a 7-5 overall record and an Eastern Conference title.
This year’s McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star football game is set for Thursday.
Two Emmaus offensive linemen were selected to the team in Jared Romig and Eric Miller.
“Ever since I was younger I wanted to play in this game,” said Romig. “When I got first-team all-conference I knew I was going to have the opportunity to play in this game and I was very happy I was selected.”
About the only predictable thing in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference baseball season this spring was unpredictability.
Any team among the league’s top 10 could beat any other on a given day. That trend continued into the postseason as No. 9 seed Pocono Mountain East knocked off an upstart Emmaus team that had been playing its best baseball heading into the postseason.
The Cardinals won 9-4 in a game that was played over two days after a storm forced a suspension last Monday at Emmaus Community Park.
As the third-place team out of District 11, Emmaus entered Saturday’s game against District 12 runner-up Martin Luther King High School as an underdog.
Despite the Cougars’ 15-12 overall record, their reputation preceded them as they were a state semifinalist last year and play in one of the state’s strongest areas for high school basketball.
Andrew Vanim can’t change what happened at districts. He can’t get back that one dive that hurt his score and left him devastated by the fact that he failed to qualify for states.
The only thing he can do is handle the setback with class and move on from it. He appears to be doing both.
“I don’t take this as a loss,” said the Emmaus junior after finishing in third place at Saturday’s District 11 Class 3A Diving Championships. “I take this as a learning experience. It’s just that one dive. It just happened. Things happen.”
Heading into team districts, there were at least a couple dual-meet results that didn’t sit well with Emmaus wrestling head coach Jeff Arbushites.
His Hornets got rematches with two of those teams at the District 11 Class AAA team tournament. Emmaus got revenge on Freedom in the tournament’s opening round, but came up short in a consolation bracket match against Liberty.
For the second straight season, Emmaus earned a spot in the Zephyr Duals championship match. For the second straight year, a very good Wyalusing team edged the Hornets for the championship trophy.
“Overall you can’t be upset about it,” said Emmaus head coach Jeff Arbushites. “We lost to a quality team, very well coached, very well conditioned. They were physical in the finals.”
Despite winning seven bouts in the championship match, the Hornets gave up bonus points to Wyalusing in five of the seven bouts they lost and fell 33-27.
In Randy Cuthbert’s first season as Emmaus’ head football coach, the Hornets reached the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Last season, Cuthbert’s second at the helm, the Hornets stuck around a week longer by reaching the title game.
This year, the team wants to keep up the progress by winning the EC title.
With a 61-22 win over Williamsport last Friday night, the Hornets earned a place in this week’s championship game. They will host Reading, which beat Pleasant Valley last week to get into the EC title game.