Southern Lehigh may be atop the Colonial League West Division, and Salisbury has hopes of making it to the .500 mark as the regular season nears a close.
But records will be thrown out the window when the two rivals square off on Friday night in a battle of school districts linked by Route 309.
The Spartans (8-1) look to keep the momentum of a five-game win streak going when they host the Falcons (4-5) at 7 p.m.
The Salisbury boys soccer team is one that can usually be penciled into the district playoff bracket before the season even begins.
The District 11 web site doesn’t even go back far enough to find a year when the Falcons weren’t in the postseason tournament.
Even the best programs suffer a down year once in a while, and this year was it for Salisbury. The Falcons missed out on districts for the first time since 2000 when they finished 7-10-2 overall and 5-8-2 in the league.
To say the Salisbury field hockey team endured a rough past few seasons would be an understatement. The Lady Falcons never won more than three league games in any of the previous five seasons.
Not only did this year’s squad eclipse that mark with an 8-7-1 record in the Colonial League, but Salisbury tied its league win total over the past four years combined. The Lady Falcons also finished just a half game behind Saucon Valley (9-7) for the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Salisbury football team hopes to keep its momentum going in search of its third consecutive win on Friday night when it hosts Palmerton (5-3). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Salisbury High School.
When the Falcons (4-4) welcome a Blue Bomber offense that is one of the more balanced in the Colonial League. That offense is led by senior quarterback Tekoah Guedes.
Weeks five and six figured to be a tough stretch for the Salisbury football team with games at Notre Dame (Green Pond) and unbeaten Palisades, two of the top teams in the Colonial League. But since those back-to-back games in late September, the Falcons seem to have gotten back on track.
Salisbury (4-4) improved to .500 with its second straight win on Friday night, a 34-13 victory over Northern Lehigh (0-8). After falling behind 7-0 early, the Falcons scored five of the final six touchdowns to keep their district playoff hopes very much alive.
The fate of the Salisbury girls’ soccer team, at least regarding its Colonial League playoff hopes, rested on the final game of the regular season. A win against rival Southern Lehigh on senior night could have punched the Lady Falcons’ ticket to the league tournament.
A loss, however, would be heartbreaking as Southern Lehigh would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Lady Falcons felt just how heartbreaking it was to be so close to one of its goals and come up short.
Coming after arguably its best performance of the season, Salisbury head coach Andy Cerco and his coaching staff will likely address the possibility of an upset when the Falcons host Northern Lehigh on Friday night.
Northern Lehigh (0-7) is the only remaining winless team in the Colonial League through seven weeks. Pen Argyl defeated the Bulldogs two weeks ago in a battle of winless teams, and last week’s 54-6 romp against Saucon Valley has Northern Lehigh in the cellar of the league standings.
One of the more underrated aspects of Salisbury’s football team may be the ability of players to shift around when necessary for the betterment of the team. When a couple of players moved around prior to Saturday’s game against Pen Argyl, head coach Andy Cerco wasn’t surprised at the success his team endured.
Salisbury (3-4) erupted for over 400 yards of offense on the ground en route to a 48-14 victory over the Green Knights (1-6) at Pen Argyl High School. The win, which featured a number of players at new positions, ended the Falcons’ four-game losing skid.
University of Connecticut red-shirt freshman wide receiver Mason Donaldson saw the field on select special teams plays for the Huskies’ football team through their first two games this season. But heading into a late-September game against East Carolina University, the Salisbury High School graduate was in store for a bigger role offensively.
And when UConn’s top wide receiver, Hergy Mayala, left that game after just three plays, Donaldson was due for an even large role unexpectedly. He rose to the occasion and ran with his chance on the Division I stage.
With only a little more than a week of soccer left in the regular season, the goal is for teams to be playing their best as the postseason nears. And while Salisbury head coach Rick Babyak sees room for improvement, it’s hard for him to complain when his squad picks up another victory, remains near the top of the Colonial League standings, and has recently qualified for the district tournament.