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Another great season ends without a title

Disappointing end aside, the 2022 Emmaus Green Hornets had an awesome football season.

Coach Harold Fairclough’s team went 9-1 during the regular season and earned a spot in the District 11 6A semifinal. For most of the season, the Hornets were the EPC’s best team and one of the best teams in Pennsylvania 6A high school football. At one point, their state ranking reached third.

This senior-laden team’s season opener took them to Bethlehem Area School District Stadium to battle the team that beat them in the 2021 district final, Freedom. The Hornets used a solid ground game and a tough defense to earn a 19-13 victory to earn an impressive win.

Their home opener the week next resulted in a hard-fought 12-7 win over Central Catholic. Emmaus followed that up with another tight win this time at Whitehall, 27-19. With the exceptions of two games, the Hornets blew through their competition the rest of the season.

The exceptions were a fine football game at eventual EPC South winner Nazareth. This could have gone either way, but Emmaus had one too many red zone failures and lost, 20-14. The season’s final game against rival Parkland was an entertaining one. The Hornets bombed the Trojans to take a 30-7 lead and then held on in the second half to win 40-25.

Although Emmaus did not win the EPC South division, they did earn the No. 1 seed in the District 11 6A playoffs. In their quarterfinal game, they bombed Wilkes-Barre in a 42-14 mercy-rule win. But of course the players, coaches and fans know the season did not end the way they would have liked, with a 28-27 loss to Freedom in the district semis.

One thing everyone in the green and gold liked this year was quarterback senior Jake Fotta, who was just awesome. His stats back up the accolades - a 64 percent completion rate, 23 TDs and just three interceptions. Fotta was cool and his leadership was a big reason Emmaus was so good.

Fotta’s top target was senior Dylan Darville, who might be the EPC’s most explosive offensive threat. Darville is now an Emmaus record-setter and grabbed 56 passes for 1,115 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was almost uncoverable and scared the daylights out of many a defensive coordinator.

Senior Tylik Jarvis led the rushing attack with crafty and tough running. He averaged 5.5 yards every time he touched the ball and scored nine touchdowns. Ryan DeJohn, Rafael Terrero, John Wassel and Chase Fotta all contributed as well. Terrero, Wassel and Josiah Williams will be back next year

Much credit to the Hornets’ offensive explosiveness must go to the offensive line. This group opened holes for the running game and gave time to Fotta. Ben Mercado and Mario Landino led the way and were supported by Jonah Miller, Jaden Skumpija and Austin Whiteshell.

The Emmaus defense was superb all season. Mercado and Landino anchored the line and the team received also solid play from E.J. Boney. It was probably the strength of the defense, although the linebackers looked good. Aiden Garrett, Reilly Bechtel, Jackson Lake and Wassel comprised a mean, green machine. Owen Garcia handled the place-kicker and kickoff duties and did a fine job. Jake Fotta was a lethal punter.

The senior class provided many memories and will be missed, but the Hornets have much talent returning and younger players continue in development. This means likely Emmaus will continue near the top of the EPC South and in District 11 6A in ‘23 and beyond.

PRESS PHOTO BY MARK LINEBERGER Emmaus Tyler Ruddick (57) brings down a Freedom ball carrier as teammate Rielly Bechtel (44) comes on to assist.
PRESS PHOTO BY MARK LINEBERGER Record-setting wide receiver Dylan Darville (24) caught 56 passes for 1,115 yards and 12 touchdowns this fall.