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 in their Oct. 26 game against the Green Hornets.
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 the boys methodically on the move for the go-ahead and possible winning touchdown.
The seniors on this year’s Parkland field hockey team were freshmen when head coach Lizzie Millen took over the program for the 2015 season. The team has played well for Millen over the four years, but the one thing it hasn’t been able to do is beat rival Emmaus.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, they drew Emmaus in the first round of both the EPC and District 11 playoffs and had their season ended with a 7-0 loss in districts. The teams also met in a regular season finale in which Emmaus won 9-1.
In a rematch of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship game, the Parkland girls volleyball team flipped the script and got the better of Nazareth 3-0 by scores of 25-10, 25-20 and 25-11 in the District 11 Class 4A semifinal round Tuesday night at Catasauqua High School to advance to another district final.
The Trojans have won four straight district championships. They will take on top seed Emmaus Thursday for this year’s crown. That game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. back at Catasauqua High School.
In a game dominated by Parkland through most of the play, the Lady Trojans pulled off a 1-0 shutout of Emmaus in the District 11 soccer semifinals. The win guarantees Parkland a spot in the PIAA tournament and also a shot at a third straight district title when they face Easton Thursday night. The Lady Rovers (16-4) reached the finals by virtue of a 1-0 double-overtime win over Whitehall (17-4) in the other semifinal matchup. Parkland and Easton didn’t meet in either the regular season nor the postseason.
The Trojans came out firing thanks to a goal by junior Jackson Vanderpool less than two minutes into their District 11 semifinal game, but Emmaus responded well and finished Parkland’s season with a 3-2 win in a game played at Whitehall High School’s sports complex. Emmaus will now face Freedom in the district championship game.
Playing against arguably one of the hottest teams in the Lehigh Valley, Parkland stayed calm throughout a scoreless regulation and then found a shot about a third of the way through overtime to pick up a 1-0 win over Nazareth in Saturday’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title game. The win gave the Lady Trojans their fifth straight EPC championship.
Throughout the game, Parkland (16-2) had the better of play, but Nazareth was no slouch. The two teams seemed to keep much of the play in the middle of the field with both teams making an occasional run on the other team’s goal.
Riley Williamson gave everything he had. The Parkland boys cross country runner had just run a brilliant race Oct. 16 at the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Cross Country Championships at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course and was paying the price. Barely able to stand, arms draped around two others, eyes squeezed shut and wincing in pain, Williamson looked like the walking wounded.
The Parkland boys soccer team fired shot after shot on the East Stroudsburg South net, but was having trouble getting one by the goal keeper.
After 21 shots and nearly 70 minutes of game action, the seventh-seeded Trojans finally broke through for a goal. They did so once more in downing the Cavaliers 2-0 last Tuesday night in the first round of the District 11 Class 4A playoffs at Parkland High School.
Senior Teagan Mangahas and junior Jackson Vanderpool both found the back of the net about four minutes apart from each other in the game’s final 11 minutes.
Parkland did a solid job in the fourth set of Saturday’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championships, limiting Nazareth hitter Maria Harding and tying the match at 2-2. It suddenly seemed as if all of the momentum swung to the Trojans’ bench.
And it had, until Harding and the Blue Eagles stepped on the court in the match-deciding fifth set.
The Parkland and Easton football programs have a lot of rich tradition of winning. At least one of the two teams has played in the district final every year since 1996.
But when squaring off against each other on the gridiron over the last half decade, the results have been rather one-sided in favor of the Trojans.
Parkland had won the last seven meetings dating back to the 2014 season, including a couple of games in the district tournament. It had also outscored Easton 235-37 in that span.
But that all changed last Friday night.