A wild, wacky Colonial League regular season

Northern Lehigh's Darien Middaugh took the opening kickoff, burst through a hole up the middle, then cut down the left sideline for an 82-yard return for a touchdown in a Week 1 win over Southern Lehigh.

That's how my Colonial League regular-season coverage began.

Bangor's Brett Albinson dropped back to pass and was immediately flushed from the pocket. Scrambling left to avoid a pair of Pen Argyl linemen, he heaved a ball to the back left corner of the end zone. Shavaughn Morris was there waiting to make his first catch of the season on the last play of my Colonial League regular-season coverage.

From start to finish (though Notre Dame and Wilson have a game left), it was a wacky, unpredictable 2012 season.

Here are some of the highlights and observations on the eve of the District 11 and Eastern Conference playoffs:

So much for balance: I said on more than one occasion that the league would be as balanced as ever in 2012, that no team would go unbeaten. Well, not only did Catasauqua finish 10-0, but coach Tom Falzone's club was a touchdown away in one game and an extra point away in another from mercy-ruling the schedule. The Rough Riders were fantastic, outscoring opponents by a whopping 434-69 score.

A great way to finish 10-0 for the first time since 1995 and win the league title for the first time since 1996.

Pain and success: Bangor's Phil Vass, Pen Argyl's Mikey Racciato and Catasauqua's Ra'Von Burton are three of the league's most talented offensive players. All three battled through injuries throughout the regular season.

Their teams' postseason success will depend in part on their health and ability to play through pain.

Out of nowhere, part I: Catasauqua's Zack Bradley, one of the league's nine first-year quarterbacks, became the league's best quarterback. He completed 59.1 percent of his passes — most of which were not dump-offs and screen passes — for 1,678 yards and a school-record 25 TDs. He threw just three interceptions in 159 pass attempts.

Out of nowhere, part II: Phil Vass wasn't even the projected starting Bangor running back in August. All he did was run for 1,501 yards in the first eight games of the regular season before an injury took him out two plays into a Week 9 game and forced him to be in and out the Slaters' Week 10 contest. If not for those injuries, he would be approaching 2,000 yards for the season.

Out of nowhere, part III: Nick Savant wasn't Saucon Valley's starting running back in the first couple of games this season. He finished with 1,222 yards rushing, including back-to-back 200-yard games the last two weeks.

Bad news for the rest of the league, part I: Bradley, Vass and Savant are juniors.

Bad news for the rest of the league, part II: The Rough Riders graduate only seven of 22 starters.

Big-time booting: While Northern Lehigh went through five kickers, Palisades, Saucon Valley and Catasauqua were fortunate enough to each have one standout.

Pirates senior Max Kroschwitz found his way to football only because his club soccer team didn't permit him to play high school soccer.

Panthers senior Nate Schriffert was part of Saucon Valley's success on the football and soccer fields.

And, while the Catasauqua soccer team struggled, sophomore Joe Harakal proved to be a valuable asset to the football program.

Kroschwitz and Schriffert set school records this season.

Harakal likely will be doing the same the next two years.

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