The Steelers are actually just one of seventeen, equally fierce, teams participating locally in the Suburban Youth Football League. It draws kids from Parkland to Saucon Valley and Emmaus. Despite my hype, the real powerhouse is traditionally North Parkland. It's packed with juvenile delinquents, convicted felons and ringers from Mongolia who guzzle Budweiser during water breaks. Some say Michael Vick played there last year.
But last year, North Parkland was crushed by the 90 lb. Steelers' team. It had a perfect record, winning most games by 20 or more points. Those boys, and their coaches, have all moved on to the next level, where they are once again terrorizing the league.
All but my grandson, Dat.
He's very proud that he now tips the scales at a hefty 72 lb. (with pads), and is joined this year by the kids who played in the 80 lb. division last year. They're scrappy, but lost every game. This year looked like a repeat performance. Upper Macungie's Mustangs broke them in the season opener, 13-7. In their second game, South Parkland's Trojans prevailed in overtime.
This weekend, these 80-turned-90 pounders finally shed their curse as a team that always snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Power running back Justin Schmoyer, who always hovers near the upper weight limit, beefed up the line, and the Steelers' luck changed. In the first half, he opened up a gaping hole that Dat Lambert exploited for a sixty yard touchdown. Once he got through the line, Dat was able to elude defenders and ran like hell for the end zone, and fortunately in the right direction.
In the second half, Schmoyer opened another hole for Joshua Clark, who himself scampered another sixty yards down the sideline for a second touchdown. In addition, Lambert and Clark had some long gains that were called back because of holding.
Final score? 12-0. After the game, the two Bethlehem teams congratulated each other, were hugged by moms and ate cupcakes and an increasingly popular Puerto Rican meat pastry called patellias(sp?). My grandson may now weigh 72 1/2 lb.
But before trying on another championship jacket, there are plenty of tough teams standing in the way. Next weekend, the Steelers face the 3-0 North Parkland Powerhouse.
Blogger's Note: The photos used here come with the kind consent of Jeff Kaboly Photography, who told me my blog sucks while I worked the chain gang. I speared him.