Last Wednesday, Parkland quarterback Devante Cross celebrated his 18th birthday, the point in one’s life that enters a boy into adulthood.
Two days later, Cross flexed every muscle of his 6-2 frame when the Trojans needed it most.
It was a goal the Parkland boys cross country team had set back in the summer. The Trojan harriers knew they had the talent to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
Following an unbeaten regular season at 17-0, Parkland accomplished that feat by capturing the EPC Cross Country Championship Meet team title last Tuesday at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club. Four Trojan boys finished in the top 10 runners to edge Easton by nine points in the team standings.
Kelley Stump had plenty of success on the Parkland field hockey team just a few years ago. During her time there, the Trojans finished as league and district runner-up when she was a sophomore; that team also advanced to the PIAA semifinals. But a championship eluded her during her high school years.
Even with the Bulls just coming off a five-run inning in the top of the third, Limeport co-manager Mike Cudwadie had a few words for his teammates and players going into the fourth: "We're not done yet."
The Bulls' offense certainly wasn't finished, but that would have been more than enough with pitcher Jared Schaffer dealing on the mound.
After plenty of success in the Tri-County ranks in recent years, the Northern Yankees transitioned to the Blue Mountain League a year ago with much of the same triumph. In their inaugural BML season, the Yankees were one of the final four teams standing in last year's playoffs.
But a 1-0 series lead in the semifinals against Limeport quickly diminished to a 3-1 series defeat in a matter of days, leaving an uneasy feeling in the Yankees' stomachs.
Just a week ago, it looked as if the road to another championship appearance in the Blue Mountain League would be easy for Limeport.
The Bulls, who finished the regular season with the No. 1 seed in the playoffs at 25-11, quickly built a 2-0 series lead against the Northampton Giants. A pitching spectacle from ace Adam Maini in Game 1 led to an 8-0 win. A 7-5 victory the next day brought the Bulls within one win of their fourth championship appearance in six years.
The Cooperman family has a successful tradition of baseball.
Casey, the oldest of three brothers, just finished a successful collegiate season at Bloomsburg University. Tyler is right in the middle of his journey at DeSales Unversity. And Chad just finished his junior season at Salisbury High School where the Falcons finished a game shy of reaching the district championship. All three share one thing in common success on the pitching mound.
It's no secret the amount of success that the Parkland boys and girls soccer teams have had over the years.
But what might not be as evident is the path some of those athletes took to get to the high school level.
The Parkland Area Soccer Club, which has been around over a decade, fields teams for in-house, recreational and travel programs. Those squads range in the age group from five years old all the way up until 19 years of age. It's those programs that have helped the high school teams reach the heights they have over the years.
Parkland's defense this past fall was a big reason why the Trojans captured a district championship and made a run in the state playoffs.
Three of those defensive players had an opportunity to suit up for one more high school game. They did so with an emphatic performance in last week's annual McDonald's Football Classic.
In a matter of a half inning, Parkland watched its 3-0 lead disappear into a tie game after six innings.
But when Parkland senior Jeff Strisovsky walked up to the plate in the bottom half of the seventh, he didn't waste any time in giving the Trojans back that lead in the biggest game of the season.