MVC needs more than a merger to close gap with LVC

MVC football teams went 0-4 and were outscored 181-80 this past weekend.

The numbers from a Mountain Valley Conference perspective were not good on the gridiron this weekend.

Whitehall 56, Pleasant Valley 28.

Parkland 35, Stroudsburg 21.

Nazareth 56, Pocono Mountain East 25.

Bethlehem Catholic 34, Lehighton 6.

Yes, East Stroudsburg South remained unbeaten with an impressive 49-0 win over Scranton and will play for MVC honor as well as their own on Friday night against Easton in what we might as well call the District 11 Class 4A semifinals since no other district is now involved in this bracket.

I know it's a touchy subject for the MVC and this shouldn't be construed as a rip job.

As someone who has done our preseason postcards and preseason and weekly previews on this league now for several years, I have great respect for all of the coaches in this league.

I happen to think guys like Pleasant Valley's Jimmy Terwilliger, Pocono Mountain East's Phil Dorn and Lehighton's Tom McCarroll are three of the brightest young coaches in the area. I like the vets, too, guys like South's Ed Christian, North's Chuck Dailey and Pocono Mountain West's Jim McCarroll.

And I truly believe certain kids like the Cavaliers' Niko Petrone are good enough to play, and shine, in any league.

However, this weekend's results only cement the opinion that the Lehigh Valley Conference, by and large, is a superior league to the MVC.

That's a concern to many Monroe County coaches since beginning next year everyone will be in the same league, although in football, the crossover will be minimal.

Everything is expected to be finalized and announced on Nov. 20, but we're told that in football the new super conference will have two divisions of nine teams.

The (for lack of a better description) Mountain Division will feature Allen, Dieruff, Bethlehem Catholic and the six Monroe County schools.

The other division will feature everybody else — the two Bethlehem public schools, Central Catholic, Easton, Emmaus, Nazareth, Northampton, Parkland and Whitehall.

There will be two weeks where the divisions will cross over and play against the other division and right now, that scenario doesn't bode well for the "Mountain Division."

And, there could be even more of a struggle for the current MVC members in other sports.

That's why not everybody in the northern tier is thrilled about the merger, although it's clear that this was done mostly out of necessity after Lehighton decided to depart for the Anthracite League in football and the Schuylkill League in most other sports after this year.

What's it going to take for the MVC members to compete for league championships in the new league?

Terwilliger weighed in at Whitehall on Friday night. For the second straight year his Bears had a successful season end along the Route 22 corridor. In 2012, it was a 37-0 loss at Parkland and this time it was a 28-point rout, as Tony Cocca famously once said, "a few corn fields" away in Whitehall.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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