Parkland Press

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Focus is on Zephs’ run game

Thursday, September 29, 2016 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

It had been 130 minutes and 35 seconds since the Parkland football team has allowed an opponent to score. Since they gave up two early touchdowns in a 14-6 loss to Liberty three weeks ago, the Trojans have shutout Easton and Freedom’s dynamic offenses in back-to-back weeks.

Parkland defenses have had dominant performances through the past couple of years, under Tim Moncman, the team’s current head coach who was in charge of the defense before taking on the top job this year.

Freedom came in with a 3-1 record, and were led by an explosive quarterback in Joe Young. But the Patriots were limited to just 62 yards in the first half. The Trojans (4-1) also forced two turnovers that led to ten points on the offensive end in the 17-0 victory last Friday night.

“We knew it would be a defensive battle,” Moncman said after the Freedom win. “They have a heck of a defense. We think we’re pretty good too. We’re not the biggest defense in the league, but we’re small and quick. We move around. I like how we swarm to the ball.”

Now they will face another tough test. Whitehall (3-2) has been a surprise team thus far midway through the season. The Zephyrs are on a two-game win streak with consecutive victories over previously unbeaten Liberty and Easton.

Whitehall’s offense comes into Friday night’s game at Orefield Middle School averaging a little over 28 points per game.

Just like the Parkland offense, the Zephyrs feature two running backs that carry the majority of the workload. Tavion George rushed 17 times for 93 yards and a touchdown last week in the win against Easton, and Braxton Marrero had 14 carries for 77 yards and a score. Quarterback Zach Gilbert threw for 74 yards. His favorite target was Jackson Buskirk, who had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.

“If we can stop the run, we let our defensive line and linebackers get after the quarterback, get some pressure on him,” Parkland senior linebacker DJ Hohman said. “That’s how we can beat them. It all starts with stopping the run up front.”

The Trojans look to start off the second half of the season the way they ended the first half, winning important Eastern Pennsylvania Conference games, and gaining momentum heading into district play.