Parkland-Easton will meet again
For a while now, it seems that the road to the District 11 championship always goes through either Parkland or Easton. This year is no different. For the fourth straight season, the Trojans and the Red Rovers will meet in the postseason. The winner will advance to the District 2-11 Subregional championship game.
“These are two great teams, two great programs,” said head coach Jim Morgans. “Ever since I’ve been here, Easton has been a constant in the district playoffs. We have formed a rivalry with them and both of us have won a lot of big games.”
The two teams met this season back on October 16. Parkland (10-1) came away victorious, 21-3 in a defensive battle at Cottingham Stadium.
During that game, the Trojan defense held Easton (8-3) running back Nysir Minney-Gratz at bay, as he couldn’t get much going. Since then, he has been on a tear.
Last weekend, in the Rovers’ 20-3 win over Freedom, Minney-Gratz ran for 75 yards and a touchdown, and he will be a focal point for the Trojans defense.
“He is a dynamic player,” said Morgans. “We held him down the last time we played, but he has gotten better. It is going to be a challenge to keep him down a second time, but it is something we are going to have to do if we want to be successful.”
Parkland has its own playmaker at running back. While Minney-Gratz uses his speed to break away from defenders, the Trojans’ Erik DiGirolamo uses his strength to power over defenders, and in his own right has deceptive speed. The senior ran 26 times for 111 yards and all four touchdowns last weekend in the 28-10 win over Delaware Valley.
“Early in the season we wanted to let Erik play offense,” Morgans said. “But we also wanted to keep him fresh for our defense. He fought his way onto the field and now he doesn’t want to hear anything about being fresh. He’s in good condition and an outstanding running back.”
He is also a first-team All-Star in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division at linebacker.
Senior Quarterback Devante Cross was unable to let loose with his arm as he usually does due to windy conditions last Friday night. But Cross and his favorite target, senior wideout Kenny Yeboah will be primed to breakout against the Red Rovers.
If Friday night is anything like the last time these two met in the District 11 finals a year ago, those in attendance will be in for a treat.