The Whitehall football team's year ended in Bethlehem, but the journey to the Christmas City was decorated with enough shining moments, making it one of the most memorable in recent seasons.
The 2014 season featured enough thrills to satisfy a Dan Brown reader. They played two overtime games, had two other games that came down to the last possession, were part of a 112-point barrage at Easton's Cottingham Stadium that left fans breathless at regular intervals, and beat rival Parkland to win back the Joe Gerencser Trophy.
Now that the calendar has dipped into November, the Whitehall golf team is able to reflect on the past as well as prepare for the future.
The past was a season filled with hope as they had the biggest turnout of athletes under second-year coach John Conrad. They fielded 14 golfers and were excited about their prospects. Once the season got underway, they faced the reality of playing in a new league with a lot of established programs that left them without a win in 2014.
With a loss to Notre Dame-Green Pond, the Whitehall girls volleyball team wasn't able to advance to the postseason this year.
They needed to win one of their two remaining games in order to secure a berth in the District 11 playoffs, but were swept by the Crusaders at home, 25-23, 28-26 and 25-16.
That loss ended their year and wrapped up the 2014 season for the Zephs who finished at 8-10 overall, 7-9 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
It was a year of transition for the Zephs who welcomed a new coach.
After a night filled with missed opportunities and miscues, the Zephyrs still had the chance to either tie or win the football game in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter against Freedom High School.
The Zephs had weathered three costly turnovers when they received the ball at their own 27-yard line with 2:11 to go in the final period. They were trailing by three points and needed to get at least a field goal to have the opportunity to advance to the semifinals of the District 2/4/11 subregional playoffs.
The journey for this year's Whitehall field hockey team ended on the road as they fell to the Red Rovers in the district quarterfinals.
Easton scored two goals in the first period, and then added another in the second to hold on for a 3-2 victory.
Whitehall got a first half goal from Kourtney Cunningham to knot the score at 1-1. That goal was assisted by Cara Bonshak. It came between the two Red Rover tallies, the first by Paige Fackler, the second by Erica Tarsi.
The Zephyrs closed out the season with a resounding win over Northampton Area High School, and in the process secured their playoff position once the postseason begins this week.
Whitehall rolled to a 35-7 win over the Konkrete Kids, maintaining possession of the Cement Bowl trophy, the annual prize awarded to the winner of this cross-river contest. It also cemented their fifth seed slot in the 4A subregional playoffs following Freedom High School's win over rival Liberty, setting up a rematch between the Pates and the Zephs.
It's not very often that you get what you hope for, but for Zephyr head football coach Brian Gilbert, that's precisely what will happen this Friday when they travel to Bethlehem.
After their overtime loss to Freedom on Oct. 10, Gilbert believed his team didn't play up to their capabilities, coming out flat in the first half that allowed the Pates to stay within striking distance of the Zephs. The Pates eventually put together three scoring drives, two in the final 12 minutes that led to the extra session.
The Konkrete Kids are still looking for their first division win in football and would like nothing better than to earn that initial victory at Whitehall's expense.
The Kids have only managed one win this season, and when the Zephs travel to Andrew S. Leh Stadium in Nazareth to play Northampton on Saturday, their minds will be focused on pulling the upset over playoff-bound Whitehall.
In a game that featured 89 points and 885 yards combined between Whitehall and Emmaus, it would be safe to assume that offense played a vital role in the outcome.
But it was actually the specials teams where the impact was felt the most in deciding the eventual winner when the Green Hornets invaded Zephyr Stadium last Friday night.
When the Emmaus football team visits Zephyr Stadium this Friday, they'll be playing for their playoff lives.
The Green Hornets currently sit at 3-3 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (5-3, overall) and are fighting with Pleasant Valley and Liberty High Schools for the final spot. Six teams from District XI will make the 2/4/11 sub regional playoffs, and the battle for the remaining spot will intensify over the next two weeks.