Trojans cruise to win over Panthers
As an undefeated team facing a winless team, it might not seem like much was on the line for the Parkland football team Friday night.
However, the Trojans played like the game meant everything, handing Pocono Mountain West a 63-20 loss on the Panthers’ home field.
“Our kids played hard.,” said Parkland head coach Jim Morgans. “Our kids don’t [look past any opponent]. They haven’t. This group of seniors has great leadership. They prepare themselves for these games.”
With the best teams on their schedule looming over the next six weeks, Parkland didn’t play a perfect game, but there were no signs of the overlooking the under-matched Panthers.
“As coach Morgans always says, respect everyone and prepare for every game like it’s any other opponent,” said defensive lineman David Hohman. “We don’t underestimate anybody. It was a normal practice week like we were preparing for Easton or anybody.”
Parkland’s offense went three-and-out on its first possession then scored every time it got the ball back in the first half to go ahead 56-0 in the first half.
After forcing a Panthers’ three-and-out to start the game, Parkland then had to punt on its first possession. When it was mishandled by the West returner, the Trojans got the ball back and were in the end zone two plays later.
Erik DiGirolamo scored his first of three touchdowns on a 22-yard run with 9:54 left in the first half.
Parkland’s next drive started at the 27-yard line and last just one play as Jahan Worth took took it the distance for a 14-0 lead with 5:59 left in the first quarter.
Following another Panthers punt, Parkland put together a five-play drive that spanned 72 yards and ended with DiGirolamo’s second touchdown on his second carry of the game.
Minutes last DiGirolamo scored his third touchdown of the game on just his third carry, a 2-yard plunge that gave Parkland a 28-0 lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
While DiGirolamo was happy with the win, he wasn’t pleased that the Trojans didn’t dispatch of the Panthers even more efficiently. “I think that we have to use these type of games to get better instead of just getting by with the win,” he said. “We need to make our weaknesses and our strengths in these kind of games and just get better.”
The Trojans went up 35-0 when Devante Cross hit Juan Salas with a 19-yard touchdown pass. Cross found Ridgeway for a 4-yard strike a few minutes later to put Parkland ahead 42-0 with 6:59 left in the first half.
Salas also scored on defense, taking an interception 35 yards for a score and a 48-0 lead with 5:22 left in the second quarter. Zach Bross picked off a pass on the Panthers’ next possession. That set up Ridgeway’s 68-yard touchdown run that made the score 56-0 at halftime.
Cross completed 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Kenny Yeboah caught four for 62 yards. That all came in the first half.
Ridgeway led the team in rushing with four carries for 79 yards.
DiGirolamo had three carries for 50 yards and three scores. Jahan Worth carried the ball four times for 28 yards and a score. All those stats except for one of Worth’s rushing yards came in the first half.
“We had struggled to run the ball the past few weeks,” said DiGirolamo. “We did a good job up front [against West]. We were missing our starting right tackle tonight. We had another senior, Andrew Bennett step up in that position. He did a good job there. The whole front played well tonight.”
Once again, Parkland defense was stifling. The Panthers failed to get across midfield on their first six possessions and only accomplished it once out of nine first-half drives.
Parkland’s second- and third-team players got a lot of playing time in the second half and Morgans would like to see them battle the Panthers’ starters more evenly.
“When you give up seven points that’s fine,” he said. “But not 20 points. It’s like coach Moncman said, when you go in on second team or third team or whatever it is, you’re still representing Parkland High School. They should play with a little bit more intensity.”
Parkland finished off a somewhat lighter part of its schedule after securing early-season wins over Dieruff, Northampton and Pocono Mountain West. With Whitehall on the slate for next week and several of the Trojans’ traditional rivals coming up over the remainder of the season, the players are excited for what’s to come.
“Everybody on the team is looking forward to it,” said Hohman. “This is the part of the season that we live for. We’ve been looking forward to this since doubles.”