St. Joe’s Prep awaits in quarterfinal
It was a familiar sight for Parkland football fans last Friday night in the District 11 Class 6A final at Northampton High School. The matchup against Freedom was the second straight season that the two teams squared off in the district championship game, and the second consecutive time the Trojans came out on top.
The opponent that awaits them in the state tournament is once again is St. Joseph’s Prep out of District 12. The two teams met in the PIAA quarterfinal round last year, with the Hawks coming away victorious 38-17. It is a battle of unbeatens and the second- and third-ranked teams in the state in Class 6A Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
In last season’s match up, Parkland (13-0 overall) was within one score at halftime (24-17), but was outscored 14-0 in the second half.
St. Joseph’s (11-0) has been known to have strong teams, and this year is no different. In two of its first three weeks, the Hawks defeated New Jersey power Saint Peter’s Prep and followed that up the following week with a 27-7 win over Archbishop Wood, which is playing in the Class 5A quarterfinals. The Hawks are coming off of a 31-0 victory against Northeast in the District 12 final.
St. Joseph’s is averaging 27 points per game on offense and is giving up just seven points per game defensively.
Marquez Mccray and Marques Mason are dual-threat athletes for the Hawks. They each have at least 30 carries and have thrown 20 times. Brandon Sanders is the main target on the outside.
Parkland has been a more balanced offense in 2017. The Trojans enter Saturday averaging 37.5 ppg
Senior running back Jahan Worth tallied another 100-yard plus game with at least two touchdowns against the Patriots last weekend, and has been running with a purpose. Seniors Mason Malozzi and Nate Wieder and junior Joey Guida have been used to spell Worth, and make sure the ground game doesn’t skip a beat.
Senior quarterback Michael Ruisch has grown into a reliable passer, and has multiple targets that he can rely on at his disposal. Senior wide receivers Juan Salas, Tyler Hays and Cole Wetherhold, along with an underclassman Nick Johnston have all come away with multiple receptions in the district tournament.
The Parkland defense is giving up 9.5 points per game and has even points on the board for the team, recording a safety last weekend by senior defensive lineman Jeremy Sell.
The winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal round matchup will take on the winner of the Coatesville-Garnet Valley in the semifinals.