Emmaus and Parkland match-ups are important in every sport. The student-athletes know each other and want to beat each other.
In volleyball, the Trojans have been a dominant force over the last decade-plus, winning the last four District 11 championships. They have also gotten the better of their crosstown rivals the Green Hornets in a majority of those years.
But last Thursday night at Emmaus High School, Emmaus broke through and defeated Parkland. And to do so, it had come from behind in dramatic fashion.
It’s been a long time since Parkland has lost a regular season football game in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. The Trojans had won 12 straight league games spanning across two seasons.
But in a wild contest last Friday night, the Trojans suffered their first setback since the 2016 regular season finale, falling 21-20 to Freedom at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“Heck of a game,” Freedom head coach Jason Roeder said. “Both teams battled like crazy. Both teams put their hearts and souls out there. We’re fortunate to come out on top.”
The Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams know each other well. They see each other often each season, and sometimes even play each other four times in a year, like they did in 2017.
The Trojans were 4-0 against the Green Hornets last season, on their way to Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 championships, breaking Emmaus’ streak of two straight district titles.
Despite all of those setbacks last season, this year’s Emmaus team has a lot of talent and experience returning, while the Trojans lost more than half of their starting lineup.
Before the season started, many Lehigh Valley football fans might have predicted that the week four matchup between Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 powers Parkland and Bethlehem Catholic would be a game between unbeaten teams.
However, both teams that will meet Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium have suffered setbacks during the 2018 regular season. Both came at the hands of Freedom.
There was some hype heading into the showdown between the Parkland and Central Catholic football teams last weekend. Both teams were coming off convincing wins in week one of the regular season, and both featured strong running games.
The two teams have not faced one another the last two years because the Vikings were in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference North Division before returning to the South Division in 2018.
There were many new faces all across the field and on both sides of the ball for the Parkland football team last Friday night in its home opener at Parkland School District Stadium.
But just as they’ve done the last six seasons, the Trojans took care of business and played better football than their opposition. They used a 28-point third quarter to take full advantage of the game and dominate Northampton 41-0 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference opening weekend for both teams.
For the first time in more than two seasons, the Parkland football team will take on Allentown Central Catholic in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference division game, as the Vikings return to the South Division after spending the past two years in the EPC North.
Both Parkland and Central are coming off victories on opening weekend. The Trojans shutout Northampton 41-0 at home and the Vikings took care of Stroudsburg on the road 38-14, both games were against EPC North Division teams.
Rising senior Shelby Staib of Parkland High School has a lot of confidence and momentum heading into her final year as a Trojan student-athlete.
She capped off her junior campaign with her first ever district championship in the javelin at the District 11 meet back in May, a few weeks after winning gold at the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference meet.
When it comes to winning, 2018 Parkland High School graduate Jake Nimeh did a lot of it. He never even experienced a loss while playing in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Ice Hockey League.
The Trojans accumulated a total of 68 wins and two ties with no losses, including four league titles and two appearances in the state quarterfinals during his four year career.
Nimeh was also on the golf team, and was the top overall performer on the team at the District 11 Class 3A tournament last fall.
First-year Parkland girls basketball coach Ed Ohlson is a familiar name to Lehigh Valley basketball fans, and Parkland fans in general. His son Eddie played for the Trojans in the early 2000s and is now an assistant coach on the boys team.
Ed, who was part of Rich Fatzinger’s boys staff at Parkland, was also a longtime area boys coach for several different schools before making the switch to the girls side.
Last weekend Parkland competed in the A-Town Throwdown Divaz Challenge, which was separate and played a week after the boys tournament for the first time.