Trojans fall to SJP
Not many football teams have been able to hang with St. Joe’s Prep this season. Only two in-state opponents have come within 30 points of the Hawks.
Parkland put up the best effort it could and hung around with St. Joe’s for most of the first quarter before falling 49-14 in last Saturday’s PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
The loss ends the Trojans’ season with a 13-1 record that includes league and district titles.
“I’m just proud of these kids,” said Parkland head coach Tim Moncman. “They won a district title and went undefeated in the regular season. They’re a special group. Making the final eight is a great accomplishment for these kids.”
The Hawks, which are now 12-0 including wins over two out-of-state opponents, jumped out to a 14-0 lead with touchdowns on their first two drives Saturday.
The Trojans answered with a 10-pay drive capped by Jahan Worth’s 1-yard touchdown drive to make it 14-7 late in the first quarter.
But the Hawks responded with a 94-yard kick off return touchdown from Marques Mason. The return came on Parkland accepted an illegal fair catch penalty on its first kick. Mason, who scored four times in the game, made the most of the second chance and his team scored 35 straight points to take a 49-14 lead late in the third quarter.
“The kick off return breaks your back a little bit,” said Moncman. “It just wasn’t our day today.”
The Trojans couldn’t run the ball against the Philadelphia Catholic League champs, which had not allowed more than one score in its four playoff wins. Worth, a 1,000-yard rusher this season, had just four carries for two yards in the first half.
“Size-wise, they were pretty big and were not huge,” said Moncman. “With our situation at tight end we figured we would have to throw the ball. With one tight end out and one banged up we knew our best chance was to throw.”
Senior quarterback Michael Ruisch completed 16 of 36 passes in the game for 161 yards, but a tenacious Hawk pass rush kept him under pressure as he was sacked four times and forced out of the pocket on other occasions.
Juan Salas caught five passes for 44 yards. Worth finished the game with 23 yards on 12 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks’ Brandon Sanders caught four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown in the game, while Mason ran for 57 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Bucknell University commit Kolbe Burrell ran for 72 yards and touchdown on nine carries. SJP quarterback Marquez McCray completed nine of 14 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 11 times for rr yards.