The Emmaus High School Marching Band was performing the 1982 Michael Jackson classic “Thriller” as the Parkland Trojans were on what proved to be their final offensive drive last Friday night. It was an apt musical selection, as this year’s edition of the Battle of Cedar Crest Boulevard was certainly a thriller.
Down four points with two minutes remaining, Trojan quarterback Tanner Lewis had his team on the move for the go-ahead and possible winning touchdown.
When the Emmaus girls soccer teams missed the East Penn Conference playoffs, it meant the team would go 12 days between games. In some cases, that can be too long of a layoff for a team to come out sharp in districts. For Emmaus though, the team used the time well and came out rejuvenated to pick up a 3-1 win over Nazareth in the quarterfinals of the District 11 Class 4A playoffs.
The win puts the Lady Hornets into the semis against familiar foe Parkland, who they met twice during the regular season, splitting the two games.
The Emmaus Green Hornets take the first step toward a state football championship Friday night.
The District 11 Class 6A quarterfinals kick off with four games including the second-seeded Green Hornets, who host the seventh-seeded Nazareth Blue Eagles at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at East Penn School District Stadium.
“There’s nothing like it,” said coach Harold Fairclough about the postseason. “The playoffs are about the little things. Practicing as it gets dark. Practicing as it gets colder. A lot of teams are already turning in their uniforms and we’re still playing.”
For the fourth time in two seasons, Emmaus and Parkland will meet in the postseason. They met in both the East Penn Conference and District 11 playoffs in each of the past two seasons, in addition to their four regular season meetings over the two years.
The teams are more used to meeting in the District 11 finals, having met in each of the last two championship games, with Parkland having won last year after Emmaus won in an overtime shooutout in 2016. This season, they meet in the semifinal round of districts.
Emmaus senior setter Caroline Bond wanted her season and volleyball career at Emmaus to keep moving on.
Lst Thursday night on the Emmaus home court, the Green Hornets were able to allow Bond and the other senior members of the team the chance to keep playing for a District 11 Class 4A championship by downing Whitehall 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-21 and 25-13) in the district quarterfinal round.
Emmaus was also just happy to get back out on the court after falling in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals to Nazareth a week prior.
It was just another Parkland-Emmaus boys soccer postseason game. Another one-goal, overtime thriller that has become the norm when the two teams meet, especially in the postseason.
The Trojans and Hornets were tied at halftime, and then tied at the end of regulation and again after both 15-minute overtime periods. The game would have to be decided in penalty kicks.
Like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the Parkland Trojans will field a quality football team. Their reputation is well-known and they are an established Lehigh Valley powerhouse. They consistently turn out well-disciplined, fundamentally sound football teams. They usually have great individual talent and are always well coached. They are a football machine.
Sue Butz-Stavin was inducted into the inaugural District 11 Hall of Fame Class on Sunday.
The long-time Emmaus field hockey coach was unique among the group of 14 that were honored at the Holiday Inn in Breinigsville.
The group included eight former star athletes and six coaches. But of the six, Butz-Stavin is the only one who is still coaching.
“To be honored by such a distinguished group and to be part of the first class in District 11 is quite an honor,” said Butz-Stavin. “I was a little surprised (when I found out), being someone who is still coaching.”
One thing is certain about the Emmaus girls cross country team: it doesn’t quit.
Without two of its top runners in Kera Reinhard and Clara Kennedy, it would have been easy to offer excuses and marginal resistance during the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Cross Country Championships on Oct. 16 at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course. Instead the Green Hornets pulled together and offered a solid performance, finishing third overall with 105 points. Easton claimed first place with 78 points and Parkland finished second with 99 points.
The football gods are fickle. Their criteria for deciding the outcome of games is unknown and they never give interviews. In fact, no one knows where they set up shop and why they care so much about high school football games.