Here we go Saucon Valley, it is the time that all of you football fanatics have been waiting for. Your Friday night, high school football-fix is near! After a great run and doing Saucon proud, Coach Phil Sams is gone (to Southern Lehigh!). Coach Trembler, however, has taken over and his players are roaring to go. The Saucon Valley Panthers will play host to crosstown rival Southern Lehigh in the 2019 Colonial League season opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Southern Lehigh Spartans were 7-4 last season and lost 28-10 to Wallenpaupak in the District XI 5A tournament in their season finale. Saucon Valley last fell to Bethlehem Catholic in the District XI 4A championship game. In the 2018 season opener last season, the Spartans lost to Saucon 27-13. Southern Lehigh did take a hit to graduation losing a few of their skilled players including all-star quarterback Logan Edmund who accounted for over 6,000 yards of offense and 70 touchdowns over his remarkable high school career. The Spartans, however, do have their big boys back. Their entire starting line returns to open the 2019 season.
Saucon Valley also suffered a few personnel losses. The Panthers graduated twenty seniors from last year’s 10-3 squad including Tim Weaver and Ian Csicsek. Weaver is now in Big 10 country at Indiana while Csicsek took his 2,850 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns from a season ago to Muhlenberg College. The Panthers may be missing a few big names, but they do return the services of Evan Deily, David Osman and Dante Mahaffey. Deily, a senior, and Osman a junior are as good as they get along the offensive and defensive lines. Mahaffey, the Panthers quarterback, is only a sophomore but played admirably throughout his freshman campaign.
Both teams are, no doubt, looking to find a few puzzle pieces, but this Saucon-Creek-Rivalry is a great way to kickoff the 2019 season. So, let’s get to it!
Things Worth Watching:
When the Panthers have the ball…..
Expect to see a base 4-3 defense from Southern Lehigh. They will likely mix-up their coverages utilizing one or two safeties. The Spartans will also play man-to-man defense and blitz their linebackers. The Spartans are all too familiar with Saucon Valley’s history of playing “bully-ball” so don’t be surprised to see the defense matching-up man-to-man on all of the Panther receivers and crowding the line of scrimmage with seven or eight defenders. Southern Lehigh may sell-out and try to overwhelm the Panthers by crowding the line of scrimmage and bringing pressure. An in-your-face style defense comes with risk and hopefully the Panther offense can “pop” the pressure and find the end zone.
The Panthers, of course, no matter what scheme the Spartans utilize, will try and establish their running game. Sophomore Damian Garcia (#30) and Ramel ‘Rah-Rah’ Moore (#2), a senior transfer from Nazareth, will likely carry the load as the Panther running-backs. Look for junior, Chris Mann (#28) and freshman Ty Pfizenmayer (#34) to be hammers and help pave the way for the Panther ground attack from their fullback position.
As most football fans agree, the performance and execution of the offense all starts with the offensive line. Joining Deily and Osman up front will be senior Nick Warnke (#77), Eli Deily (#76) and Cody Swinney (#56). Deily is a junior and Swinney is a sophomore. Also in the mix up front are senior Bobby Yovish (#67) and sophomore Jack Marouchoc (#74). Yovish measures 6’0″, 220 while Marouchac is listed 6’1″, 235.
The 2018 Hogs: Week 1
- Left Tackle: #77 Sr. Nick Warnke 6’3″, 235
- Left Guard: #60 Jr. David Osman 6’0″, 230
- Center: #56 So. Cody Swinney 5’10”, 235
- Right Guard: #65 Sr. Evan Deily 5’11”, 230
- Right Tackle: #76 Jr. Eli Deily 6’3″, 290
When the Panthers put the ball in the air, it is, once again, going to be sophomore Dante Mahaffey (#12). The Panther staff likes the poise and athleticism that Mahaffey brings to the field. Mahaffey is of the dual-threat variety and passed for over 900 yards last season while rushing for 400 more. Good things happen with the ball in Mahaffey’s hands.
At the receiving end of Mahaffey’s strikes will by a stable of quality pass-catchers. The Panthers welcome senior Chris Orlemann (#3) and sophomore Ty Csencsits (#11) to the field. Orlemann is back after taking a break from football last season. Csencsits earned his way into the Panther lineup late last year. Sophomore Anthony Orlemann (#9) and freshman Alex Magnotta (#8) are also quality members of the Panther receiving corps. Anthony Orlemann, the younger brother of Chris, has demonstrated a knack to come up with the tough catch, while Magnotta has had a great preseason. Magnotta, a rangy target with great athleticism, could create matchup issues as he stands at 6’2″ with a wing-span to match. Senior Aiden Renninger who has had an excellent off-season is a steady competitor and gives the Panthers another weapon to consider. Renninger is listed at 6’0″, 170 and transitioned nicely from quarterback to tight-end. The Panthers have no shortage of playmakers.
When the Spartans have the ball…..
Southern Lehigh will primarily run a ‘Wing-T’ offense that operates from the shotgun. They run this scheme as well as anybody. The Spartans will try to power the ball right at the Panthers and also attempt to cross-up the Panther defense with counter plays and misdirection. The Spartans will also show a spread “Pistol” look and a four wide-receiver set. The Panthers will use both odd and even fronts to try and stuff the Spartans.
Senior Noah Vogeler (#10) will likely get the nod as the Spartans starting quarterback. Vogeler is listed a 6’0″, 180 and has only three completions in eight attempts credited to his name. This is understandable considering that he played behind the talented Logan Edmond for three years. It will be Vogeler’s first career start.
When Southern Lehigh runs the football, senior fullback Hunter Hughes (#38) will lead the way for classmates Cam Fisher (#32) and Asher Smith (#48). Hughes is a solid 6’1″, 225 and is effective as both a blocker and runner. Smith has size and speed at 6’0″, 190 while Fisher, at 5’9″, 155, is a tough tackle when he flashes his quickness.
As mentioned before, Southern Lehigh returns their entire offensive line from last season. Senior tackles Eric Vingom (#75) and Cole Moyer (#67) will combine with guards Riley Craft (#58) and Alex Schafer (#55) along with Collin Gill (#68) at center to protect Vogeler when he passes and open holes for the running game. Gill and Craft are also seniors, Schafer is a sophomore. Gill may be a little under-sized at 5’11”, 205, but Craft makes up for it at 6’1″, 295. Vingom, Moyer and Schafer are cloned at about 5’11”, 245.
As if the season opener isn’t enough to create an electrifying high school football atmosphere, the rivalry of two familiar teams who are invested in the pursuit of a Colonial League championship will ramp the emotions of this game into a frenzy. It will be an energized, playoff setting on a splendid August night. If nothing else, these two rival schools will be battling for bragging rights. The Panthers certainly have their work cut out for them, but the high school football environment doesn’t get much better than this!
- Friday’s Fabulous Football Forecast!:
- Partly Cloudy with light, northerly winds. Mid- 70’s at kickoff and an overnight low of 60.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!