Eagles have look of a contender
Cocalico entered the 2012 District playoffs as one of the hotter teams moving on, and the Eagles certainly didn’t disappoint last week.
The Eagles were firing on all cylinders and took out West Perry, an equally hot team, with surprising ease. Which makes for an interesting matchup this Friday night at Lancaster Catholic.
While some may view this game as a tough draw, or wish the Eagles would be on the other side of the bracket where an argument could be made that Cocalico would be the team to beat on that side, you got to see this as a great opportunity.
You beat defending State champion Lancaster Catholic, and then potentially Bishop McDevitt next week just to get to the finals, and you are at least mentioned in the same breath as the beloved ’77 State champion hoops team.
But first things first.
I’ve said from the first time I saw this Cocalico team that it may be the best Eagle squad I’ve covered in a long time, and that includes the District finals team of two years ago.
Not only are they productive on both sides of the ball, they are physical, and have been consistently all year.
Offensively, they have the power running game of Nick Reitenbach and the speed of Spencer Moser, not to mention two quality quarterbacks in Brock Gosling and Jhett Janis who can hurt you with their legs or by the play-action pass.
And they are doing it behind a talented offensive line that has been so strong at the point of attack all year, and never got off the ball better than they did this Friday against West Perry.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles fly to the ball and for the most part have been stingy all year with four shutouts to their credit.
Last but not least, they have one of the better kicking games around with Wyatt Dungan, and are coached by one of the best staffs around.
It’s going to take a great effort by a great team to knock them off. Certainly, Lancaster Catholic is all of the above.
But it doesn’t take a lot for me to see this Eagles’ team pulling off the upset and getting another opportunity to tangle with Bishop McDevitt, assuming they take care of business Friday vs. Conrad Weiser.
I know one thing…at the very least, it has the potential to be one of the best games of the entire tournament.
Don’t miss it.
Tommy Long: Would like to wish former Ephrata AD Tommy Long good luck as he moves on to Annville-Cleona. It’s been great dealing with him over the past several years.
He made a huge impact at EHS, not only trying to change the culture at Ephrata but was one of the big reasons we now have that crown jewel of a turf field over on Hammond Ave.
He had a vision, and to his credit, got it accomplished.
And I have no doubt his successor, Steve Sweigart, will make a positive impact as well. Sweigart, an Ephrata guy, knows the ins and outs at EHS and will be an excellent leader.
Looking forward to working with him a little more closely in the future.
Athletes of the Week: Hope all of you have enjoyed our new Athletes of the Week feature that debuted this fall. Thanks to our friends at Haller Enterprises, who sponsor the piece each week, we’ve been able to recognize some fantastic athletes over the last 10 weeks. And we plan to continue it through the winter and spring sports season.
So athletes, get your games on! Todd Ruth
Sports Editor More RUTH, page B-3