2015 EasternPAFootball.com Class 3A Coach of the Year: Matt Evancho, Saucon Valley
Matt Evancho just completed the 2015 season coaching arguably Saucon Valley’s greatest season ever. The Panthers put together an incredible run winning a Colonial League title, District 11 3A title, and making it all the way to the Eastern final.
The results were an undefeated (10-0) regular season and a 14-1 overall record.
In nine years as head coach at Saucon Valley his 61 wins are the most in school history. He led the Panthers to the 2007 and 2013 Eastern Conference Championship and won Colonial League Championships the past two years and a District title. He finished with an 61-43 record.
In 2014 his team finished 10-2. Going into 2015, Evancho had a veteran team coming back.
“We had a lot coming back and the kids just felt like they wanted more,” said Evancho. “They weren’t going to be satisfied just making it to the District playoffs this year.”
“We focused on one week at a time, so they didn’t look ahead. We tried to get better each week. The kids bought into that as we went through the offseason and during the preseason and the season.”
It showed as each week they got better and better. The one game stood out for me was the big showdown week nine against Notre Dame. Both teams were 8-0 going into the game. The game was tied at 35 with 56.3 seconds remaining in the game and a perfect season. Somehow they found a way to win the game. A late touchdown pass with 37.7 seconds left was the difference in the game.
Another huge hurdle was beating Bethlehem Catholic for the District 11 3A title and heading to the State playoffs.
“You can see the kids gaining confidence each week and finally feeling they belong. It’s been a long journey for these seniors and that win solidified to them that they belong and they can compete with any teams.”
One of the special thing about this team the hometown fan support. It didn’t matter if it was a home game or they were playing away, they drew huge crowds and none was bigger than the Imhotep game. It seemed the whole town was at that game.
“I told many people this, ‘It was Hollywood like.’ When we left the stadium to head over to Bethlehem for the Imhotep game, our main street was lined. There were people from the school all the way through where we took the bridge to go over to Freemansburg. The fans were just lining the streets and cheering.”
The historic run came to a end that night, but you wouldn’t have known that.
“The game went the way it was and they were their on the way back. They were proud of us no matter what. They still talk about it. One place is naming sandwiches after parts of the team.”
Photo credit: mcall.com
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