Over the last four years, the Parkland ice hockey team has become a dynasty in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Ice Hockey League, winning league titles each of those years by wide margins. The Trojans have also made some deep runs in the Flyers Cup, the postseason tournament that follows the regular season.
The 2015 season is no different. The Trojans have opened up play with a 7-0-1 record through their first eight games. And last Monday night, Parkland was at its winning ways again, this time against rival Emmaus for the second time this year.
The Parkland girls’ swimming team went a perfect 11-0 in the East Penn Conference (13-0 overall) last season. As the 2015-16 gets underway for head coach Rob Robitaille, there is once again plenty of optimism around both sides.
And starting with the girls’ end, why wouldn’t there be? While the Lady Trojans did graduate a number of key swimmers—including Erin Jordan (state medalist in the 500-yard freestyle) and Erika Freeman (14th in 200-yard IM and 16th in 100-yard backstroke at states)—the cream of the crop returns looking for similar success in 2015.
Parkland’s senior class has been wanting this for four years. They’ve been league and district football champions all four years they’ve been in high school, but they never advanced far after that.
It became a monkey on their back and there were questions about what would happen after this year’s fourth straight district championship.
Last season, head coach Andy Stephens incorporated something new into the plan for the Parkland boys basketball team. To go along with the strength and conditioning agenda, he put his team learn under the tutelage of former Central Catholic and Penn State football player Mike Cerimele, who runs STACK Velocity Sports Performance training center.
After winning a fourth straight District 11/2 subregional title, Parkland meets a familiar opponent in the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs. Philadelphia Catholic League champ LaSalle College High School, a team that defeated Parkland in this game three years ago, will be the Trojans’ next obstacle as the team’s meet Saturday at 1 p.m. at Northeast High School in Philadelphia.
When a team graduates six seniors, five of which started a game for Parkland at some point last season, one might expect a bit of a drop off. Guards Aubrey Beidelman, Erin Bross, Erica Bross, Alexis Koder and Samantha O’Keefe, as well as forward Brooke Robertson, won’t be suiting up when the Trojans’ season opens on Friday.
Despite those departures, head coach Wes Spence returns plenty of experience and talent at every position, leaving a bright outlook for the months to come.
On the field, this season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Andre Williams. Off the field, however, life is good for former Parkland High School and Boston College standout who is in his second year as a New York Giants running back.
As far as football, Williams is one of four running backs who have handled the Giants’ ground attack. Williams hasn’t been in the limelight much since last year when he was the team’s leading rusher with 721 yards and seven touchdowns on 217 carries.
When the final seconds ran off the clock at Wyoming Valley West High School last Friday night, Parkland walked away with a 63-21 win that probably wasn’t even as close of a game as the score indicated. And that was mostly the result of the Trojan defense shutting down one of the state’s top offenses.
Besides a pick-six touchdown, and a late score in the fourth quarter when the game was already wrapped up, the Parkland defense allowed just seven points against a team averaging more than 30 points per game.
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.
Goal number two for the Parkland football was accomplished last Friday night when it beat Easton 37-0, which was followed up by a 55-35 Wyoming Valley West victory over Liberty to give the Trojans the District 11 championship.
But they want more. They’ve been here before.
Now begins the quest for a PIAA state championship and all of its glory.
Parkland (11-1) opens up the state tournament traveling to Kingston Friday night to square off with District 2 champion and undefeated Wyoming Valley West (12-0).