Catty football team picks up another honor

The unbeaten Colonial League champs win the officials' sportsmanship award.

The Catasauqua football team has already won one trophy this season for its ability on the field and might add some more hardware Saturday night.

But even if the Rough Riders go on to claim the biggest award of all in high school football on Dec. 15 in Hershey — a state title — chances are nothing will make head coach Tom Falzone prouder than the honor his team received Thursday night.

Falzone, along with his coaching staff and team, won the 2012 Sportsmanship Award from the Eastern Pennsylvania Football Officials Association at the annual EPFOA banquet at the West Coplay Maennerchor.

The EPFOA is the chapter that officiates all games in the Lehigh Valley Conference, Colonial League and Mountain Valley Conference.

It's one thing to have a winning football team. It's another to win with class and that's obviously what the unbeaten Colonial League champion Catty squad has been doing.

"It's awesome … it's a special award for us and our kids," Falzone said. "We preach all the time about doing things the right way on and off the field. This award reinforces that to our kids. We do have good kids as well as good football players."

Falzone said he can relate to what officials go through because his wife, the former Stephanie Gemmel, is a field hockey official.

"She has officiated for a lot of years and I know what it's like," Falzone said. "I definitely respect the profession. We try to conduct ourselves the right way as coaches. We're models for the kids and we want to act the right way. That's why this is so special."

The award meant so much to the Roughies that Principal David Ascani and athletic director Tom Moll were on hand to accept it along with the entire coaching staff.

One of the unique things about the Catty staff is that it includes three former head coaches: the legendary Ed Csencsits as well as Bob Bydlon and Bob Panny.

Csencsits and Bydlon are former Catty coaches and Panny was in charge at Whitehall.

"When you win something like this it's also in recognition of the kind of guys you have on your staff and I have great guys," Falzone said. "They all do a great job, but it helps to have the experience of three former head coaches with us."

Ascani noted that Catasauqua is the smallest public high school in the Lehigh Valley and said that makes the team's success even more remarkable.

"I can't say enough about Coach Falzone and his staff and our kids," Ascani said. "Not only do they perform well on the field, but they also do a good job in the classroom. Our students who play football are respectful of our teachers and other staff members and that says a lot for Coach Falzone and his staff. He not only has high expectations for them on the field, but in everything they do."

Moll kidded that he thought the school received the award because of free pizza and the high volume of mercy-rule games the Roughies have played, which allow the officials to get home early.

Turning serious, he said: "It's a great honor because it shows we try to do things the right way."

Keeping in touch

•Centennial Conference champs and No. 15 ranked Johns Hopkins will play Washington & Jefferson on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs and Central Catholic graduate Adam Schweyer will be a key member of the Blue Jays' defense.

Schweyer earned first-team all-Centennial honors as a strong safety and outside linebacker. He has made 59 tackles this season, including eight tackles for losses and three sacks. He also has a pair of interceptions for the 9-1 team.

Moravian College women's volleyball player Jesse Krasley (Parkland) was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III Honorable Mention All-American for the second straight year.