Trojans face Pates for sixth straight D-11 title
The District 11 Class 6A championship game will have a similar look to it this season as it did in 2016.
First-seed Parkland (12-0 overall) and sixth-seeded Freedom (7-5) will meet Friday night at Northampton High School for the second consecutive year. Last season, the Trojans beat the Patriots 24-14 for their fifth straight district title.
Parkland took down perennial playoff rival Easton last weekend in the semifinals 52-10 to advance to the final round of District 11 play. The Trojans came back in the fourth quarter to defeat Liberty in the quarterfinal round 36-23 the week prior.
“It feels great,” said senior quarterback Michael Ruisch. “It’s tradition. At Parkland, we’re kind of expected to be playing at the highest level each year, and we want to live up to those expectations. We want to bring another district championship to Parkland.”
Freedom enters the game off an upset win over third-seeded Emmaus and then taking care of seventh-seeded Pocono Mountain West in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.
“They have an outstanding defense and their quarterback has grown up a lot over the season,” said head coach Tim Moncman. “They are focused and playing at a high level in every aspect of the game.”
The game will feature a similar look offensively, as both teams are well-balanced through the air and on the ground.
Last week against Easton, Ruisch went 7-for-12 for 171 yards and two touchdowns, while finding five different receivers. Senior running back Jahan Worth had 17 carries for 132 yards and three touchdowns, a week after running for five scores against the Hurricanes.
“He has run with a purpose and the offensive line has done an outstanding job in the run game and pass protection,” Moncman said.
The Patriots feature a quick, dynamic running back, much like what Parkland saw with Liberty’s Nasir Legree. Abdul Beasley rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries, and added an interception on defense last week against the Panthers.
Sophomore quarterback Jared Jenkins can win games with his arm or his legs. Last week he rushed for over 165 yards and completed 10-of-15 passes for 170 yards. He has athletic wide receivers to look to, with senior Alec Huertas leading the way.
Parkland beat Freedom 23-7 back in week five on Sept. 22.