Pates hand Trojans first loss of season
It’s been a long time since Parkland has lost a regular season football game in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. The Trojans had won 12 straight league games spanning across two seasons.
But in a wild contest last Friday night, the Trojans suffered their first setback since the 2016 regular season finale, falling 21-20 to Freedom at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“Heck of a game,” Freedom head coach Jason Roeder said. “Both teams battled like crazy. Both teams put their hearts and souls out there. We’re fortunate to come out on top.”
The programs have played each other in some important games recently. The two teams have squared off in the District 11 Class 6A final each of the last two years, with Parkland winning both titles.
“Hopefully we learn from it and respond to the adversity,” Moncman said. “I think we’re still a good football team. There’s no rest for the weary. We’ve got Becahi next week and then Liberty. We’re going to have to eliminate those mistakes.”
Parkland fell to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the EPC Skyline Division, while Freedom remains unbeaten at 3-0 and 2-0.
Freedom fell behind 14-0 midway through the second quarter as Parkland rode senior running back Joey Guida, who finished with 136 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, with a majority coming in the first half before suffering an injury in the second half.
The Patriots held the Trojans to just a Devin Bartholomew field goal after they had first and goal. But an interception put Parkland right back into the red zone, and it capitalized on the turnover with Guida’s one-yard touchdown run followed by a two-point conversion.
Needing points before the intermission, Freedom found some on a 10-play, 70-yard drive capped by quarterback Jared Jenkins finding Vince Reph across the middle for a 15-yard touchdown reception to cut the deficit in half with 37 seconds left in the second quarter. It was the first points that Parkland gave up all season.
Tristan Wheeler, who is also a standout linebacker on the Patriots defense, also added a one-yard touchdown run to give Freedom its first lead of the game in the second half.
But the six-time defending district champ Parkland did not go down easily. Quarterback Andrew Lee connected with Christian Hudson for a 32-yard touchdown play with just 57 seconds left in the game and it seemed the game was destined for overtime.
The ensuing point-after attempt went wide, and the Patriots celebrated their second big win in as many weeks after the knocked off Bethlehem Catholic a week earlier.
The Freedom c defense limited Guida to just 33 yards in the second half after the senior ran for 103 in the first.
“We knew where the ball was going for the most part,” Wheeler said. “It was really a mental thing. We went into the locker room (at half) and knew we really had to buckle down.”
Lee was 9-of-16 for 131 yards and the touchdown last weekend. Christian Hudson had four catches for 71 yards and the score, and Chris Lessel led the receiving corps with five catches for 57 yards.