Trojans clinch EPC South title
Last season, the Parkland football team dropped the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division championship in the final week of the regular season, on the very last play.
This year, the Trojans made sure it didn’t come down to something like that again.
Senior running back Jahan Worth rushed for two touchdowns and senior quarterback Michael Ruisch threw for three scores, including two to his favorite target Tyler Hays, as Parkland remained undefeated and took down Northampton last Friday night 48-6 at Northampton High School.
Worth, one night after committing to Division I Duquesne University for football, tallied 88 yards and the game’s first touchdown, coming from 29 yards away.
His second score of the night came on the first play of the second quarter. Running mate Joey Guida scored less than three minutes later to give the Trojans (9-0 overall, 7-0 EPC South) a commanding 28-0 lead midway through the first half.
A common connection for the Parkland offense has been Ruisch over the top to Hays. The first touchdown between the two went for 71 yards midway through the first quarter. It was a perfectly-lofted ball that landed in the waiting arms of Hays, who was streaking down the field.
“They were mostly playing cover-three, and Tyler just beat them down the field,” said Ruisch. “I knew he would have it. That was the game plan, to go to him deep, and it worked out.”
“Our play-calling has helped me be successful because our coaches want to go for the deep ball,” Hays said. “If my defender is playing off, I’ll try to make a move and then just beat him down the field. Michael has made plenty of great throws that help my numbers too.”
Once again, Ruisch has answered when his number has been called. Two weekends ago, in the win against Pocono Mountain East, he threw four touchdowns.
“I haven’t been sacked since the Liberty game (Sept. 8),” Ruisch said. “That’s a testament to the offensive line. They keep me comfortable in the pocket, and that helps me keep my confidence level high. My wide receivers have been catching everything I throw their way, and make me look good.”
Hays missed all of the 2016 season because of injury. But to the common fan, it looks like he hasn’t skipped a beat.
“We always work hard in the offseason at Parkland,” said Hays. “I’ve been playing with all of these guys since JV [during] freshmen year. So I’m not new, and it didn’t take long to get comfortable with the offense.”
Ruisch also had another receiver find the end zone. He had a 24-yard touchdown pass to Nick Johnston late in third quarter for Johnston’s first career score.
Junior running back Dominick Nelson also found pay dirt, giving Parkland three running backs that scored touchdowns. Nelson’s was from four yards out on the first drive of the fourth quarter.
The Trojans are undefeated and haven’t really had any close games with every game decided by at least 10 points. They have clinched EPC South Division and the number one seed in districts.
“It’s great to be off to this start, especially with a lot of us in our senior years,” said Hays. “We’ve been together since freshmen year, and have been working hard to be the best we could be senior year. We want to prove what we can do. And there’s more to be done.”
The anticipated matchup with rival Emmaus awaits Friday night on senior night at Parkland School District Stadium.