5 things to know about the 2022 EPC football season and full schedule – The Morning Call

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference produced five different champions for the 2021 football season, and seven teams played in games that could have secured titles.

Northampton won the EPC North title; Parkland won the EPC South.

Freedom beat Emmaus 28-14 for the District 11 6A championship, while East Stroudsburg South made an amazing comeback with a 47-41 overtime win in the District 11 5A final. Allentown Central Catholic had its own thriller, battling Northwestern Lehigh 21-14 from behind in the 4A title game.

But the one thing no EPC team enjoyed in 2021 was a state playoff win. Freedom lost to St. Joe’s Prep, East Stroudsburg South was routed by Erie Cathedral Prep, and Central Catholic’s season ended by Jersey Shore.

When the first official steps of the 2022 season are taken on Monday, with the start of the heat acclimation phase, the goal for all 18 teams in the EPC is not only to compete for league and district championships, but also to progress as far as possible, possibly as far as Parkland did it 20 years ago when he won the PIAA Class 4A crown in 2002.

It’s a long way from August 8th to August 8th/9th/10th. December is the weekend of the six state championship games being played for the first time at Cumberland Valley High School. No school time is longer. But with a mix of talent, hard work, perseverance and some luck, this four-month trail could offer many great memories.

Here are five things you should know about EPC Football 2022:

1. Plan for week 1 revised. With the EPC formed in time for the 2014/15 school year, the Week 1 football schedule featured nine cross-divisional games. Most of those games last season were won by the South teams, and most of them in a one-sided manner.

In 2021, the South teams went 7-1, with the only North win coming from eventual North League champions Northampton. The Concrete Kids beat Bethlehem Catholic 17-14. The Parkland-Pleasant Valley game has been canceled by COVID-19.

The other seven games were all South routes, decided by an average of 43.1 points per game.

To give North a slightly more successful start to the season, the week of nine cross-division games in the schedule was moved to Week 6 in late September. Week 1 will now feature several big matches between traditional powers. For example, Emmaus will play at Freedom in a rematch of last year’s 6A District Finals. Easton plays Catholic Visits in Whitehall in Parkland and Bethlehem. The only cross-divisional match – and there will be at least one each week – will see Nazareth travel to Allentown to face Dieruff.

2. Ranking shake. Every two years, the PIAA reclassifies teams based on changing enrollment numbers and their formula for success. The new two-year cycle begins this fall with 96 schools playing football in Grade A, 94 in 2A, 88 in 3A, 93 in 4A, 99 in 5A and 88 in 6A.

In terms of EPC/District 11 football, the biggest change is that 6A will now be a sub-region that includes District 4’s Williamsport and District 2’s Wilkes-Barre Area and Hazleton. They will rank in the top 8 with 10 EPC members Advance to the postseason tournament via the power ranking system.

From Class 6A to 5A, Pleasant Valley and Pocono Mountain West dropped, giving 5A six schools, with East Stroudsburg South, Pocono Mountain East, Southern Lehigh, and Whitehall being the other 5A teams. The first four rise in this classification. The 4A classification also only has six teams, half of which are EPC members – Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic and East Stroudsburg North, and Bangor, Blue Mountain and Pottsville. There, too, the top 4 are advancing.

3. No changes at the top. As far as we know, as heat adaptation begins, all 18 head coaches will be returning from 2021, which is highly unusual. The league usually features at least one change. In fact, there were four freshman coaches last season, at least in terms of attendance at new schools: Mel Thomas (Allen), Kyle Haas (Bethlehem Catholic), Shawn Daignault (Liberty) and John Toman (Northampton). The coach who has been with his current school the longest is Jim McCarroll of Pocono Mountain West. He’s the only coach the Panthers have ever had and he’s entering his 21st season.

4. Giant of yards. Last season, the EPC consisted of six 1,000-yard rushers led by Freedom’s Deante Crawford, who had 1,719. Parkland’s Dahlir Adams (1,271), Pocono Mountain West’s Jaden Bowens (1,267), ES South’s Ron Blake (1,153) and Pleasant Valley’s Rob Papaleo (1,006) have all had great seasons, but all have graduated. The only 1,000-yard rusher to return is Stroudsburg’s Andre Reames, who had 1,022 yards last season. Reames is also the top returning goalscorer, having hit 15 touchdowns for 90 points last season.

5. Who flies? East Stroudsburg South’s Bobby McClosky threw for a league-high 2,190 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. But he graduated along with the rest of the top six passers in EPC North and three of the top six in EPC South. The top returning QB in terms of yards is Emmaus Junior Josiah Williams, who had 1,893 yards and 18 TD passes last season. But he will be fighting for the QB job with Jake Fotta, who had a great sophomore year in 2019 but sat out all of last season with a cruciate ligament tear. Central Catholic’s Tamlin Ferguson threw for 1,459 yards as a junior last year, but he too will have to fight for a spot.

The best returning QB positioned for a big year is Nazareth’s Sonny Sasso, a senior who threw for 1,877 yards and 15 TDs last year.

The 2022 Eastern Pennsylvania football schedule with all games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted:

FRIDAY, 08.08. 26

Pocono Mountain East near Stroudsburg

Nazareth near Dieruff

Catholic Bethlehem in Whitehall

Pocono Mountain West near Northampton

Emmaus at liberty

Easton in Parkland

Allen in East Stroudsburg South

Pleasant Valley in East Stroudsburg North

SATURDAY, 08.08. 27

Freedom at Allentown CCHS

FRIDAY, SEPT. 2

Dieruff in East Stroudsburg South

Stroudsburg near Northampton

Parkland in Nazareth

Whitehall at liberty

Allen in Pleasant Valley

Allentown CCHS in Emmaus

East Stroudsburg North on Pocono Mountain East

Freedom in Easton

SATURDAY, SEPT. 3

Pocono Mountain West in Bethlehem Catholic

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9

Northampton at East Stroudsburg North

East Stroudsburg South in the Pleasant Valley

Parkland at Freedom

Pocono Mountain East at Allen

Freedom in Stroudsburg

Emmaus at Whitehall

Dieruff at Pocono Mountain West

Catholic Bethlehem in Nazareth

SATURDAY, SEPT. 10

Easton at Allentown CCHS

FRIDAY, SEPT. 16

Whitehall near Easton

Pleasant valley near Dieruff

Allentown CCHS in Parkland

East Stroudsburg North near Emmaus

Stroudsburg on Pocono Mountain West

Catholic Bethlehem in Liberty

Allen in Northampton

East Stroudsburg South on Pocono Mountain East

SATURDAY, SEPT. 17

Nazareth at liberty

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23

Parkland at Whitehall

Easton at Allen

Pocono Mountain West at East Stroudsburg North

Freedom in Nazareth

Dieruff in Stroudsburg

Emmaus in Bethlehem Catholic

Northampton at East Stroudsburg South

Pocono Mountain East in the Pleasant Valley

SATURDAY, SEPT. 24

Freedom at Allentown CCHS

FRIDAY, SEPT. 30

Pleasant valley at parkland

East Stroudsburg South at Liberty

East Stroudsburg North near Nazareth

Freedom for everyone

Easton on Pocono Mountain East

Whitehall on Pocono Mountain West

Stroudsburg near Emmaus

SATURDAY, OCT. 1

Allentown CCHS near Dieruff

Northampton in Bethlehem Catholic

FRIDAY, OCT. 7

Whitehall at Liberty

Pocono Mountain East near Dieruff

Catholic Bethlehem in Easton

Pleasant Valley in Northampton

East Stroudsburg South at Parkland

Freedom at Emmaus

Allen at Pocono Mountain West

East Stroudsburg North near Stroudsburg

SATURDAY, OCT. 8th

Nazareth at Allentown CCHS

FRIDAY, OCT. 14

Easton at Liberty

Stroudsburg near Allen

Freedom in the Pleasant Valley

Dieruff in East Stroudsburg North

Allentown CCHS in Whitehall

Northampton on Pocono Mountain East

Pocono Mountain West at East Stroudsburg South

Emmaus in Nazareth

SATURDAY, OCT. fifteen

Parkland in Bethlehem Catholic

FRIDAY, OCT. 21

Catholic Bethlehem at liberty

East Stroudsburg South near Stroudsburg

Freedom at Parkland

Allen in East Stroudsburg North

Pleasant valley on Pocono Mountain West

Emmaus in Easton

Northampton near Dieruff

Nazareth at Whitehall

THURSDAY, OCT. 20

Pocono Mountain East at Allentown CCHS, 7:30 a.m

FRIDAY, OCT. 28

Pocono Mountain West and Pocono Mountain East

Allentown CCHS in Catholic Bethlehem

East Stroudsburg North at East Stroudsburg South

Stroudsburg in Pleasant Valley

Parkland at Emmaus

Whitehall in Northampton

Nazareth near Easton

SATURDAY, OCT. 29

freedom in freedom, 1

Dieruff at Allen, 1:30

THURSDAY 11 24

Catasauqua at Northampton, 10am

Easton vs. Phillipsburg, 10:30 a.m

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