Heading into the District 11 Class 2A Cross Country Championship race, neither Salisbury’s Shane Artis or any of his competitors knew exactly what place they needed to finish to secure a place in this weekend’s state meet.
The top 10 runners who are not part of state-qualifying teams make it Saturday’s PIAA Class 2A Championships in Hershey. But until the race is over no one knows how many runners from the top two teams, which earn automatic berths to states, will finish within the top 10, thereby allowing more runners from further down the results to make states.
A spot in the District 11 Class 2A girls’ soccer championship game was once again on the line for Salisbury. A year after its best season in program history, the Falcons had the opportunity to avenge last year’s district championship loss and earn a second straight PIAA playoff appearance.
Palisades wasn’t on board with that script.
The chips were stacked against Salisbury even before Friday’s kickoff against Southern Lehigh in the regular season finale. The Falcons were without a number of their play makers due to injury and other factors.
The path to victory got even more difficult when junior quarterback Jacob Kamp went down with an injury early in the second quarter.
Southern Lehigh scored on its first four drives and never looked back, putting an on offensive clinic in its 51-7 victory over Salisbury at Southern Lehigh High School. The Falcons managed just 114 yards of total offense.
Whether it finished as the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the District 11 Class 3A rankings, the opponent that awaited Salisbury in the playoffs was going to be a very strong team.
The bright spot for Salisbury, however, is the fact that it has qualified for the district playoffs. It’s what head coach Andy Cerco and the Falcons hope is a turning point in the right direction toward becoming a regular visitor to postseason football in future years.
A 21-0 deficit isn’t what Salisbury head coach Andy Cerco had in mind when his team hosted Palmerton on Friday night. Many teams would have rolled over facing such a large early deficit, but his Falcons quickly righted the ship.
Those 21 points, however, proved to be just a little too much to overcome. Salisbury (4-5) rallied to tie the game at 42-42 in the fourth quarter, but the Blue Bombers (6-3) closed the game with two touchdowns to secure the 56-42 win on Friday night.
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.
The penultimate week of the high school football regular season saw Emmaus and Salisbury both clinch district playoff berths, with the former coming in a victory over Easton and the latter via a loss to Palmerton.
Here’s a look at some of Friday night’s action.
The Hornets jumped out to an early lead and held off the Rovers in the fourth quarter for a 30-20 win.
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.