There is a large youth movement happening in the Parkland boys soccer program. After seeing 10 seniors graduate after last season, and one underclassman leave for an academy program, the Trojans have a small senior class and a team with youth all throughout the pitch.
Head coach Patrick Birns, in his ninth season at the helm, knows the challenges he has in front of him with an inexperienced roster, but there are still some strengths in areas that he is excited about.
It was a different end to a season than anyone around the Parkland football program was used to. The conclusion of the 2018 District 11 football season saw Freedom High School win the district championship over Emmaus. The previous six years Parkland had won every district gold, a run unseen for quite some time.
But the Trojans now look toward a new year and new added motivation to get back to winning trophies.
When Parkland girls soccer head coach Al Haddad looks up and down his 2019 roster, he can smile knowing the talent and experience he will have back for the defending District 11 Class 4A champions.
Eight players from last year’s squad graduated, including four that are on college teams this fall. But the Trojans still boast talent at just about every position on the field.
Everyone around the Lehigh Valley knows the last name Dawkins, and the sport that it is primarily associated with. Darryl Dawkins played for the played 14 seasons in the NBA, primarily with the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers and New Jersey Nets.
Nick Dawkins is a star offensive lineman for the Parkland football team that is committed to play at Penn State University next fall.
So why not basketball?
The 2018 Parkland girls volleyball team brought home its fifth consecutive District 11 championship last season. With nine seniors having graduated, seven of whom are continuing to play collegiately, 16th-year head coach Mike Krause will have a whole lot of new faces with little varsity experience to work toward achieving that sixth straight title.
But the goals and expectations for a program with so much recent success, does not change.
It didn’t take long to get back to where he was before. After missing almost a full season, Parkland junior running back Isiah Rico never lost a step.
Rico carried the ball 31 times and amassed 209 yards while scoring three touchdowns to lead a dominant rushing game in the Trojans’ season-opening 49-14 win last Friday night at Northampton Area High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium.
Rico suffered an injury four weeks into his sophomore campaign last year, but has come back stronger than before. The Parkland ground game totaled 429 yards and accounted for all seven touchdowns.
The Parkland boys basketball team found itself this summer. After another run at a District 11 championship fell just short in the final, the Trojans have kept their foot on the pedal and continued the tradition of winning ways in the offseason.
Parkland went undefeated in pool play, winning all three games at the A-Town Throwdown to advance to the playoff portion. The Trojans also qualified for the Cedar Beach league playoffs, earning a spot in the final four of the field.
Before 2019 Parkland High School graduate James Cipolla enrolled at the school, the boys lacrosse program hadn’t won a championship of any kind. After his four years in red and white, the Trojans have earned two district championships and two league titles. To say Cipolla made his mark on the program is an understatement.
And after another successful season on the field, Cipolla has been named the Parkland Press Male Athlete of the Year.
The Parkland boys basketball team has had a ton of success during its summer league season and in the tournaments it has been a part of. Even in the offseason when wins and losses don’t carry as much weight, the Trojans had won seven of 10 games in the Cedar Beach Summer Basketball League. The also advanced deep into the Cedar Beach Bash at the Beach tournament last month.
It wasn’t pretty for either team. But it got better. And it started at one end of the floor.
After a lackluster first half, the Parkland boys basketball team picked it up on both ends of the court to come out on the winning end of its Lehigh Valley Summer League basketball game Tuesday evening at Cedar Beach, taking down Bangor 43-34 in the Big School Division.
The Trojans moved to 6-3 overall and are in the top-five of the league standings with just a few weeks left of the regular season.