Running game beats Zephyrs
With the rain coming down and a chill in the air, the Parkland football team headed to the locker room at halftime down 14-13 to visiting Whitehall. A couple of touchdowns by Zach Gilbert and a few key defensive stops helped the Zephyrs to the early lead.
But as the third quarter began, senior running back Frank Guida and junior back Jahan Worth put their games into a new gear and awoke the Trojan offense.
Worth (25 carries for 183 yards) and Guida (20 carries for 105 yards) combined for three touchdowns, each of them getting one in the second half, as Parkland pounded its way to a 26-14 win over Whitehall in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South showdown last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium.
The Trojan defense also held the Zephyrs out of the end zone during the final two quarters after having a 143-minute shutout streak end early in the second quarter via a Gilbert rushing touchdown. It was the third straight win for Parkland (5-1 overall, 4-1 EPC South), which ran the ball 58 times for 336 yards, and did not complete a pass all night.
Leading rusher Nick Suriel was limited because of an injury. The senior finished with nine carries for 42 yards, largely in the first half of play.
“We have Jahan. We have Guida,” said Parkland head coach Tim Moncman. “We have a bunch of fullbacks, too, that can step up and block. We knew the weather and knew the field, so we basically came into it saying we’re going to run the football and limit our throws. It’s a testament to our tight ends and some of our wide receivers. It’s not the kind of night they want, but they stepped up on defense, [Zach Bross] and those guys, Ricky Panella. It was a total team effort.”
Guida put the Trojans out in front in the first quarter with a 4-yard run. Then Brian Hanton connected from 30-yards out (his first of two 30-plus yard catches) to take a 10-0 lead after the first quarter.
But two big plays by Gilbert helped Whitehall (3-3 overall, 2-3 EPC) take the lead back. Gilbert ran 15 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to end the Parkland shutout streak that had extended over the last four games. He later connected with Ryan Klaugh for a 59-yard touchdown pass with 1:55 left in the first half.
The Trojans’ defensive unit, however, forced the Zephyrs into a three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, and Parkland’s offense took control of the game from there.
The Trojans took the lead for good early in the third quarter on Worth’s 15-yard touchdown scamper. Guida put the game away by breaking a tackle attempt and going 54 yards for a touchdown with 4:37 left in the game.
“With the conditions the way that they were tonight, we knew the running backs were going to get our carries,” Guida said. “We had to make the best of our opportunities because the offense needed us the most tonight. Our offensive line had a great week of practice and it showed tonight. They really deserve a lot of credit for the yards that we put up.”
Worth earned the Joe Gerencser MVP award, given annually to the top player in the Parkland-Whitehall game.
The Trojans have another test this weekend, as they travel to take on a surging Bethlehem Catholic team.