Wilson Warriors win football officials sportsmanship award
The 2018 Lehigh Valley high school football season officially ended Friday night when Bethlehem Catholic fell to Imhotep Charter 41-6 in the PIAA 4A semifinals.
For the Wilson Area Warriors, the season ended more than a month earlier.
The record was 1-9 for Chris Labatch’s team, but in those 10 weeks his kids made a positive impression.
They earned the team sportsmanship award from the Eastern Pennsylvania Football Officials Association.
The team received its trophy Thursday night at the EPFOA’s annual banquet at The Meadows in Hellertown.
“When you grow up the way I did with the mentors I had like Coach [Bret] Comp, Coach [Matt] Evancho and Coach [Bob] Frankenfield, the first thing they teach you is to be a good person and it’s great to see our kids honored in this way because it shows they’re great people,” Labatch said. “Sometimes, events don’t happen the way you want them to on the field, but if you keep becoming better people, in the long run, everything will work out.”
Frankenfield, the former longtime boys basketball coach who is in his first full school year as athletic director, said Wilson expects its coaches to exemplify good sportsmanship at all times.
“Every year our principal, John Martuscelli, tells Chris and all of our coaches how important good sportsmanship is,” Frankenfield said. “Awards like this tell us that we at Wilson are doing things the right way to develop young men and young women to be future leaders in our society. Mr. Martuscelli and all of Warrior Nation are super proud of what Coach Labatch and his team did this year.”
Frankenfield added: “We want to win, but to me, this equals a state championship. It shows what other people think about what Chris and the kids are doing at Wilson.”
Labatch said Wilson will graduate only four seniors and a lot of quality kids will be coming back.
“We’re looking forward to the future,” Labatch said. “But I wish all the seniors the best.”
One of them is Zach Miller, a two-way lineman, who received one of the four EPFOA scholarship awards designed to salute kids for excellence on and off the field.
“Zach’s a three-year starter and that’s just the start,” Labatch said. “You couldn’t ask for a better person. He helped me along with Ben Hindmarch help us get together with the Miracle League of Northampton County. He’s also an outstanding student, a great kid.”
Similar things were said about the other scholarship honorees — Emmaus’ Cameron Brooks, Northwestern Lehigh’s Derek Holmes and Austin Homan from Schuylkill Haven.
Each of them shine in sports, in the classroom and in the community.
Brooks is a three-sport athlete but still finds time to post a 3.85 GPA and participate in several meaningful endeavors such as Habitat for Humanity and the Lunch Buddy program.
“With the Lunch Buddy program, we sit down with special needs kids on game days and try to get to know them and see what their lives are all about,” Brooks said. “It’s such a rewarding feeling to be involved with them.”
Holmes, another three-sport athlete and a first-team all-star at third base in baseball, is 15th in his senior class at Northwestern and is involved in the Key Club, Student Council, Special Olympics and several other activities.
“It’s a ton of work, but we have a great support system with our teachers and coaches at Northwestern and it helps us all become successful,” Holmes said. “I’m just very thankful for the officials. They work hard and have to put up with players and coaches, but they do a great job during the season and with this program.”
Mini Maxwell winners announced
Maxwell Football Club President Mark Dianno recently announced the 2018 Mini Max High School Award winners for Pennsylvania and The Morning Call coverage area was well represented among the 63 players selected from PIAA Districts 1, 3, 11 and 12.
Players were nominated by their coaches throughout the season and evaluated by criteria that includes football performance, academics, and community service.
The Mini Max Award recipients will be honored at a dinner Jan. 10 at the Drexelbrook Catering Ballroom. The awards dinner is open to the public and tickets are available on the club’s website: www.maxwellfootballclub.org.
The Maxwell Football Club will select one player from the group of Mini Max winners as the winner of the Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year. The Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year will be announced on Jan. 10 awards dinner.
The area’s mini-Max winners were:
Dalton Daddona, Bethlehem Catholic; Ethan Parvel, Emmaus; Tristan Wheeler, Freedom; Dylan Dailey, Jim Thorpe; Trevor Harris, Liberty; Cole DeFranco, Notre Dame; Ethan Brader, Palisades; Adam Piston, Parkland; Tadd Barr, Pen Argyl; Jonathan Post, Pennridge; Nick Levinsky, Quakertown; Jacob Kamp, Salisbury and Tim Weaver, Saucon Valley.
Parkland volleyball coach Mike Krause was recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association as one of 40 AVCA region coaches of the year.
Krause’s team was cited for his team’s ability to “take pride in understanding what the opponents’ strengths are and what they need to do to challenge their strengths. When they develop a plan, the whole team enjoys practicing the game plan and modeling what they anticipate the opponents to do during the match. This motivates everyone to develop their skills to improve the team’s ability to compete.”