Triumphant Amid Tears, Spartans Bid Adieu to Record Setting Season

ALLENTOWN – Southern Lehigh’s remarkable season ended here Friday night in a 41-0 shellacking by the top-ranked Allentown Central Catholic Vikings. 

It was a bittersweet end to a record-setting football season.  Not only did the Spartans win their first playoff game in school history and allow a Colonial League-low 98 points during the regular season, but Spartan players such as junior quarterback Ty Edmond, senior wide receiver Jeff Smillie, and senior linebacker Ray Durkin set school records in multiple categories.  Through tear-filled eyes, seniors such as fullback Luke Gotzon and his twin brother, halfback Matt Gotzon, accepted silver medals as District 11 3A Runners-Up in their last football game as Spartans.    

During the post-game team huddle, coaches encouraged the emotion-laden players to hold their heads high.  Defensive coordinator Derek Bleiler put it best when he told the seniors, “as freshmen you would have been laughingstocks if you had said you’d be wearing district medals” someday.  Head coach John Toman joined in Bleiler’s theme, telling players “nobody would have believed” that they could one day be district runners-up.  Offensive coordinator Mike Feifel agreed and urged the kids to wear their silver medals with pride. 

The team’s class of 2011 made incredible gains over their four years in the program.  They went from 3-7 as freshmen to 6-4 as sophomores and earned the second playoff berth in school history.  As juniors they went 7-3 and earned a second consecutive playoff berth.  This year as seniors they achieved an 8-2 regular season record, won the first playoff victory in school history, and won silver medals as the second-best 3A team in District 11.  In short, the 2010 varsity squad is one that will not be soon forgotten. 

Friday night’s performance, however, was quite forgettable.  Toman did achieve his goal of limiting the Vikings’ running game, but the Spartans were unable to contend with Central Catholic’s multifaceted offense.  Junior quarterback Brendan Nosovitch torched the Spartan secondary for over 300 passing yards and five touchdowns while playing only 27 minutes.  Similarly, the Spartans ran the ball more effectively than during last year’s matchup with Central Catholic, but never got beyond the Vikings’ 30-yard line.  The Spartans looked softer, slower, and less sharp than the Vikings.  The good news is that they committed few turnovers and fewer penalties.

Being shut out by a state powerhouse may not seem like a fun way to spend the last night of one’s high school football career.  But the class of 2011 has left a lasting impression on Southern Lehigh’s football program.  Thanks in part to their labors, Toman, his staff, and future Spartans will have a great foundation to build on in coming years.

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