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Schuylkill League, Colonial League reach cooperative agreement for football

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    Area athletic directors, from left, Jason Zimmerman of Northwestern, Kyle Spotts of Lehighton and Bryan Geist of Northern Lehigh were among the key figures in arranging the cooperative scheduling agreement between the Schuylkill and Colonial Leagues. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

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Published January 18. 2019 11:28AM


PALMERTON – So let it be written. So let it be done.

The final piece of the puzzle with regards to the Colonial and Schuylkill Football Leagues was put in place Thursday morning.

What it brings to the table for the schools is a cooperative scheduling agreement — not a merger of leagues. Instead, this will be a marriage that will be for three months during the football season, starting in the fall of 2020 when the new cycles for the leagues kick in.

“I can’t say enough about how hard the people worked to get this done,” beamed Colonial League president and Northern Lehigh Athletic Director Bryan Geist. “This is absolutely a great day for our football teams, our schools and more importantly our players and fans.”

The idea was the result of brainstorming between two of the top executives from their respective leagues — Tamaqua assistant superintendent Dr. Stephen Toth and Northwestern Lehigh’s Athletic Director Jason Zimmerman.

Both men are visionaries who see things, plan things and act.

For openers, this was a thought process going back two to three years, Zimmerman explained. “When Steve and I got together we said ‘wouldn’t it be nice’.”

The “nice” idea has now become reality.

“We needed a lot of cooperation not only from within the Colonial and Schuylkill (Leagues), but we wanted to bring Pine Grove, Williams Valley, Tri-Valley, and Nativity in as well,” explained Toth. “It was imperative to get them to come on board to fill out the plan.”

The four aforementioned schools were part of the Schuylkill League in all sports except football. Pine Grove, Williams Valley and Tri-Valley have been part of the Twin Valley Conference for decades, while Nativity has recently been playing as an independent.

Toth and Zimmerman lauded the 28 school districts, the coaches, administration and school boards for making this come to the fruition.

“We had our go-arounds several times,” said Lehighton AD Kyle Spotts, who was in on the ground floor since the idea was in the early stages. “Jason) Zimmerman and I went back-and-forth with emails. Then, if it got frustrating, one of us would pick up the phone and talk. In the end it all worked out.”

Zimmerman likens the structure to District 7’s WPIAL football system.

“I’ve been looking at them and thinking about this for a long, long time. So too was Toth. We kept putting our heads together, coming up various plans. It’s not the perfect plan. There is no such thing as a perfect plan, but it helps.”

The key components to this newly formed co-op is that schools of similar size will go head-to-head on the field and all schools will have more opportunities to fill out their non-league schedules.

“Now we will for the most part settle District 11 qualifying and seeding by playing one and other on the field,” said Tamaqua AD Mike Hromyak, referring to last season’s Class 3A playoff battle between several strong teams in both the Schuylkill and Colonial Leagues that had to be settled by rating points. “This is also going to be a big help in scheduling. We can now open with a school like Northwestern Lehigh and play other teams that are great for the football community and our program.”

Toth and Zimmerman were extremely sensitive to “rivalry weekend” and rivalry games outside the co-op. “I talked with North Schuylkill coach Wally Hall and he said he loved the idea, but the only way he said he’d agree would be if they can continue to play Mount Carmel,” explained Zimmerman. “So we made that happen. Mount Carmel stays on North Schuylkill’s schedule.

“Yes, we wanted to make it right for everyone, which sometimes is very difficult. But you know all these schools are so easy to work with. Hey we can have differences, and in the end we find a solution to make it happen.”

And thus it has happened. So let it be done.



Bangor (4A), Blue Mountain (4A), Lehighton (4A), Northwestern Lehigh (4A), Pottsville (4A), Saucon Valley (4A), Southern Lehigh (5A), Wilson (4A).


Jim Thorpe (3A), North Schuylkill (3A), Northern Lehigh (3A), Notre Dame Green Pond (3A), Palisades (3A), Pen Argyl (3A), Salisbury (3A), Tamaqua (3A).


Pine Grove (3A), Schuylkill Haven (2A), Mahanoy Area (2A), Catasauqua (2A), Palmerton (2A), Minersville (2A).


Panther Valley (2A), Shenandoah (A), Marian Catholic (A), Tri-Valley (A), Nativity (A), Williams Valley (A).




Week 1 - vs. Blue Mountain

Week 2 - at Palmerton

Week 3 - vs. North Schuylkill

Week 4 - at Salisbury

Week 5 - vs. Notre Dame-GP

Week 6 - at Pen Argyl

Week 7 - vs. Northern Lehigh

Week 8 - vs. Tamaqua

Week 9 - at Palisades

Week 10 - at Lehighton



Week 1 - vs. Palmerton

Week 2 - at Tamaqua

Week 3 - at Wilson

Week 4 - at Northwestern

Week 5 - vs. Pottsville

Week 6 - vs. Blue Mountain

Week 7 - at Bangor

Week 8 - at Saucon Valley

Week 9 - vs. Southern Lehigh

Week 10 - vs. Jim Thorpe


Week 1 - at Schuylkill Haven

Week 2 - vs. Minersville

Week 3 - vs. Catasauqua

Week 4 - at Palmerton

Week 5 - at Shenandoah

Week 6 - vs. Tri-Valley

Week 7 - at Williams Valley

Week 8 - vs. Nativity

Week 9 - vs. Panther Valley

Week 10 - at Pine Grove


Week 1 - vs. Panther Valley

Week 2 - at Northwestern

Week 3 - vs. Tamaqua

Week 4 - at Notre Dame-GP

Week 5 - vs. Palisades

Week 6 - vs. North Schuylkill

Week 7 - at Jim Thorpe

Week 8 - at Pen Argyl

Week 9 - vs. Salisbury

Week 10 - at Palmerton


Week 1 - vs. Tamaqua

Week 2 - vs. Northern Lehigh

Week 3 - at Southern Lehigh

Week 4 - vs. Lehighton

Week 5 - at Bangor

Week 6 - vs. Wilson

Week 7 - at Blue Mountain

Week 8 - at Pottsville

Week 9 - vs. Saucon Valley

Week 10 - vs. Catasauqua


Week 1 - at Lehighton

Week 2 - vs. Jim Thorpe

Week 3 - at Panther Valley

Week 4 - vs. Marian

Week 5 - vs. Catasauqua

Week 6 - at Schuylkill Haven

Week 7 - vs. Pine Grove

Week 8 - at Mahanoy Area

Week 9 - at Minersville

Week 10 - vs. Northern Lehigh


Week 1 - at Northern Lehigh

Week 2 - vs. Schuylkill Haven

Week 3 - vs. Palmerton

Week 4 - at Catasauqua

Week 5 - vs. Nativity

Week 6 - vs. Williams Valley

Week 7 - at Shenandoah

Week 8 - vs. Tri-Valley

Week 9 - at Marian

Week 10 - at Tamaqua


Week 1 - at Northwestern

Week 2 - vs. Lehighton

Week 3 - at Northern Lehigh

Week 4 - vs. Pen Argyl

Week 5 - vs. Salisbury

Week 6 - at Notre Dame-GP

Week 7 - vs. Palisades

Week 8 - at Jim Thorpe

Week 9 - at North Schuylkill

Week 10 - vs. Panther Valley



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