Trojans suffer first loss of ‘15
In week 5 against Whitehall, Parkland faced its first deficit of the season. However, it didn’t take the Trojans long to erase that and take a lead against the Zephyrs.
But last Friday night in Parkland’s week 6 game at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium, it was a different story.
Liberty (5-1) scored 34 unanswered points and held on late to defeat the Trojans and hand them their first loss of the season 41-34.
“I can’t explain it,” said head coach Jim Morgans. “You come over here. You’ve got a nice crowd. You’re playing a team that’s 4-1. I was excited about it. We had good practices all week. The kids knew the gravity of this game and that kind of stuff. Once the game started, it didn’t appear that way.”
Parkland (5-1) actually held an early lead, scoring the first touchdown on the first possession of the game.
Senior running back Erik DiGirolamo scored from a yard out, capping a 33-yard drive just three minutes in to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead.
But then the wheels seemed to fall off.
Liberty runs its offense around senior quarterback Doug Erney, and Erney had his hand in a powerful Hurricanes offense, but there were others that contributed to the win.
Squaring off against a strong Trojans defense, which had held its opponents at bay for most of the season, Liberty answered with 316 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Erney also added 204 yards passing and four touchdowns, while guiding the Hurricanes to 34 straight points to take a commanding 28-point lead into the third quarter.
It stunned the crowd and the Trojans. But just like they did the week before against the Zephyrs, Parkland fought back.
Cross completed his next seven passes for 246 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions as the deficit shrunk to 41-27. In that span, which began after the third consecutive Liberty three-and-out to begin the third quarter, the Trojans racked up eight first downs on nine plays totaling 269 yards.
“I don’t think they really changed that much,” noted Morgans. “We set our pass protection to a different side. If that made a difference, I don’t know.
“I thought we did well in the second half, but they probably figured if you get a big lead like that, if you don’t stay involved in the game, which I’m not going to speak for them, but that may have happened. Then you get a couple scores on you and that kind of stuff.”
One play after the span ended, the Trojans went to a trick play, a halfback pass by Nolan Ridgway, and it backfired as the ball ended up in the hands of Liberty safety Justin Haynes.
Cross didn’t have much time or space to get anything going for much of the night. The senior was sacked five times, two of which came on their final drive looking to tie the game.
Cross still finished the night completing 18 of 32 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns, adding 18 carries for 48 yards and two more scores.
“He played an awesome football game,” Morgans added. “It’s what I expect out of him.”
Ridgway caught five passes for 168 yards and a touchdown while adding two rushes for 54 yards.