For Emmaus football head coach Joe Bottiglieri, there are a set of mixed emotions regarding the Hornets' season that came to an end last Friday night to Wyoming Valley West in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Hornets - who fell 6-0 to the Spartans - were shut out for the first time in five years, and a few costly turnovers ruined a superb defensive effort from Emmaus.
"We just were not in sync," said Bottiglieri. "We didn't execute. We had some new people in the lineup and we just didn't put it together at all. It's a shame because the defense played outstanding.
Not many people gave Emmaus a chance.
But the Hornets didn't pay any attention to the outside noise when they traveled to Nazareth High School's Andrew S. Leh Stadium to take on the Blue Eagles last Friday night.
After the Blue Eagles went up 7-0 early in the second quarter, the Hornets responded just seconds later. Sophomore running back Wyllim Miller took the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards for a touchdown, leading to a string of 28 consecutive points and en route to a 35-14 victory.
Emmaus seniors AJ Bishop and Ben Roda have been playing soccer together since they were eight years old. The chemistry the two possess on the field is clearly evident.
And during last Thursday's LVC boys soccer championship game against Parkland, that cohesion was on full display during the season's biggest moment thus far.
Bishop connected with his Hornet teammate early in the second half to break a scoreless tie, and Roda added his second goal of the game in double-overtime to stun the previously unbeaten Trojans, 2-1.
Both the Emmaus and Parkland girls cross country teams remained undefeated entering last week's meet at Lehigh Valley Parkway that also included Whitehall and Central Catholic.
And the final league meet figured to come down to the Hornets and Trojans for the regular season league title.
However, despite the Hornets getting two runners in the top four Hanna Brosky (3rd 19:53) and Lindsey Bray (4th 20:03) Emmaus couldn't overcome the Trojans' third, fourth and fifth runners.
The Emmaus football team erased a 21-3 third quarter deficit against Liberty on Friday night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium and it seemed evident the Hornets' final-minute score would be enough to overcome their sluggish first half of play.
Quarterback Andrew Kerson connected with wideout Jacob Maehrer in the right corner of the end zone with just 49 seconds remaining in the game. Maehrer's catch, as he maintained possession while falling to the ground, gave the Hornets a 22-21 lead after a failed two-point conversion.
The Northampton football team possesses one of the most prolific passing attacks in the Lehigh Valley this season.
But it was another quarterback who shined the brightest during last Friday's matchup between Emmaus and Northampton.
Hornet senior quarterback Andrew Kerson threw for 185 yards and three touchdowns to lead Emmaus. And combined with the big playmaking ability of sophomore running back Wyl Miller (134 rushing yards and two touchdowns), the Hornets defeated the Konkrete Kids at East Penn School District Stadium, 35-14.
Both Emmaus and Parkland's girls volleyball teams entered last week's Lehigh Valley Conference showdown unbeaten.
And after winning game one 26-24, the Hornets were in good position to hand the Trojans - last season's district and state champion - their first loss.
But that wouldn't be the case. The Trojans responded to win the next three games to defeat the Hornets 3-1 (24-26, 25-14, 26-24, 25-14) to remain perfect on the season.
Not many people expected last Friday night's football game between Emmaus and Freedom at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium to unfold the way it did.
The Hornets entered the game with consecutive dominating efforts in conference play with victories over Bethlehem Catholic and Central Catholic in the previous two weeks.
But the Patriots didn't let any of that outside noise affect their play.
After a 10-point game at halftime, the Patriots reeled off 28 unanswered points in the second half en route to an unexpected 44-12 victory.
The Emmaus football team opened up its 2012 season in convincing fashion with a dominating 40-0 victory over Germantown last week.
For the Hornets (1-0) and head coach Joe Bottiglieri, they'll be riding a boost of confidence, and hope to continue that momentum when they take on Bethlehem Catholic (0-1) this weekend.
"It's important to start the season off with a win and we did," said Bottiglieri. "It's good to get that win under your belt. It gives you a sense of confidence and a sense that, coming out of preseason, a sense that the hard work paid off."
This past offseason has been a little different for Penn State University senior distance runner Lindsey Graybill, a member of both the cross country and track and field teams at the school and a 2009 graduate of Emmaus High School.
Graybill - who suffered a knee injury in June - had to change her offseason workouts a bit in preparation for the upcoming cross country season, which will begin on August 31 at the Lock Haven Dolan Duals.