Rentzheimer ... Stars ... Turkey Day ... PIAA
BY ROD HECKMAN
Over the past nine seasons, he's had one of the most successful boys programs in the TIMES NEWS area.
He won four league titles, one district championship and reached the postseason all nine years.
But yet he never seemed to get the recognition he probably desereved.
Bring up Karl Rentzheimer's name around the area, and you're sure to get a few, Who? responses.
Among our writers and throughout the scholastic baseball region, though, Rentzheimer was widely regarded as one of the top people in his profession.
Recently, the Pleasant Valley head coach stepped down from his position.
While he's sure to be missed by the Bears, he leaves behind a program that is viewed simply as a winner.
"Karl has been coaching baseball at PV for the past 22 years, nine as the head coach," commented Pleasant Valley athletic director Jake Percey. "He has done a fantastic job and will be missed not only for his experience, but also for all the work he did to help the young men here at Pleasant Valley."
Rentzheimer finished with over 150 wins. Two of his recent players, Aaron Fuhrman and Jeremy Gigliotti, were drafted and many more went on to have solid career in college. Four of his players were named TIMES NEWS Baseball Player of the Year.
The Schuylkill County Football Coaches Association held its All-Star game this past Wednesday at Schuylkill Haven.
Players from Panther Valley, Marian, Jim Thorpe and Tamaqua participated in the event, which was moved this season.
The game, which had been played in June, was switched with the hope of having more players participate. It was also felt that more fans would be in a football mode, which would help attendance.
While time will tell if the change is a success, the thought here is kudos to the SCFCA for making this decision.
The day before Thanksgiving might not be the best day for the event, but it makes more sense than June. With the season still fresh in people's minds and state playoffs about to start, now is the time for football to be played. You can't blame kids for not wanting to be involved in an all-star game after graduation and when the weather is more suited for swimming.
Speaking of football, yesterday there were plenty of Thanksgiving Day games played throughout Eastern Pennsylvania.
As a Northampton graduate, I'm familiar with the excitement of Turkey Day football. I remember the pep rallies, our homerooms creating ads for the big program, and just the sheer excitement that built up to the game.
The Konkrete Kids continued their longtime rivalry with Catasauqua. Other contests featuring District 11 schools included East Stroudsburg South against Stroudsburg, and Easton versus Phillipsburg.
In the TIMES NEWS area, there used to be two fierce Thanksgiving Day rivalries. Coaldale and Lansford battled 42 times, with the final contest played in 1963. Palmerton and Slatington (now Northern Lehigh) also met on the holiday until ending the tradition in 1975.
While I may be in the minority, I'm a big fan of having games on Thanksgiving. In fact, it would be great to see another local rivalry form.
A game like Lehighton against Palmerton, or the Indians continuing their ties with Panther Valley would obviously be an attractive matchup.
The PIAA just released its enrollment classifications for the next two school years.
Depending on each school's figures, there's a chance some of our area teams will be moving to different classes.
Over the last two years, Class AA in football had a range of 185-310. That figure will be changing to 186-298.
With Jim Thorpe (305), Northwestern (307) and Palmerton (292) all close to the cut-off, there is a chance they could be moving up to AAA.
Panther Valley could also jump. The Panthers were on the borderline two years ago (182) when the range for Class A was 1-184.
If current enrollments remain pretty much the same, some other area teams would also change in the next school year. Those with the biggest chance of moving include Northern Lehigh girls basketball (from AA to AAA), Lehighton girls track (AA to AAA), Tamaqua girls softball (AA to AAA) and the Jim Thorpe and Palmerton boys track teams (from AA to AAA).