Sweet taste of state championships

Parkland, Garnet Valley tasting sweet success
December 14, 2007 9:53:14 AM PST
The smell of State Championships is in the air and it smells a lot like chocolate. The Parkland Trojans are marching ahead to the PIAA AAAA finals, while the Garnet Valley Jaguars are eyeing that AAA championship tonight and tomorrow in Hershey. This weekend these teams are driven to create a legacy that is dreamed about by many, and only accomplished by a select few. The State Championships are up for grabs and it is anybody's game?well, anybody who made it this far.

Parkland's tale is just that- a fairy tale of sorts. They have managed to outlast every single competitor that was put in their path.

They shutout an unheard of seven teams in a row, Northampton, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Dieruff, Emmaus (twice), and Whitehall. They took down Wyoming Valley West, the mighty Hazleton Cougars, and the PIAA District XII champion Washington Eagles on their path to championship glory. The Trojans ran through the undefeated Ridley Raiders, as if Parkland was fighting alongside their namesakes in 300, garnering 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

In all of their playoff games, Jim Morgan's team had one constant; they came in with a better record than their opponent. This is not the case in the finals. Pittsburg Central Catholic has the same, and very impressive, undefeated 15-0 record as the Trojans of Allentown do.

The Trojans are banking on their first championship in five years, and if Sam Tajiri and Kevin Herod perform like they did last week, they may just have the title in their grasps.

Meanwhile, it's the Joust of the Jaguars in the AAA state finals. The Jaguars of Garnet Valley will have to face a tough team of in the form of the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars.

Mike Ricci's 13-1 Garnet Valley crew has been roaring through the season like they were truly one of the fastest cats in the jungle (cheetahs, not withstanding). They took down teams like Strath Haven, Unionville (the team attributed to the one loss earlier in the year), and Pottsgrove in the opening rounds of the playoffs. West Scranton and Lampeter-Strasburg also fell to the power of Garnet Valley in recent weeks.

Coach Ricci's championship dreams ride on the passion and drive of his players including passing leader Eric Van Wyk with 1352 yards, scoring leader Jared Bonacquisti with 140 points, and rushing and receiving leader Tim Keyser with 1113 and 641 yards respectively.

In a time where some pro athletes are being shown in a not-so positive light, it is fortunate that these young men of Parkland and Garnet Valley demonstrate true sportsmanship, true athleticism, and true fervor for the game, all qualities that are possessed only by true champions.

Garnet Valley vs. Thomas Jefferson December 14 @ 7:00 p.m.
Parkland vs. Pittsburgh C.C. December 15 @ 5:00 p.m.


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