Big second half lifts Trojans
Heading into last week’s game against Liberty, the Parkland football team was searching for a win. It needed one. Following two consecutive defeats to Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic, the Trojans squared off against a third Christmas City squad and hoped to stop the bleeding.
Both teams were riding two-game losing streaks and were hungry for a victory.
Last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium, the Hurricanes scored first and led 3-0 until the Trojans (3-2 overall, 3-2 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference) tied it with six second left in the first half. Parkland then blanked the Hurricanes in the second half and scored 16 straight points in the second half, 19 unanswered overall, in winning 19-3 in an EPC South Division game.
For Parkland’s defense, the key to the game was stopping Liberty’s leading rusher Nasir Legree, especially since its starting quarterback, Todd Erney, was out injured.
Legree was held in check by the Trojans, limited to just 22 yards on 11 carries. The Hurricanes posted less than 200 yards of total offense and were held without a first down in the second half after managing six in the first two quarters.
“Our focus was on Legree, obviously, he’s a heck of a back,” said head coach Tim Moncman. “We wanted to shut down their run game and force them to throw. I thought defensively it was one of our best efforts of the season.”
After Sander Sahaydak’s 28-yard field goal with 7:29 to go in the second quarter, Liberty led 3-0 and had done enough to think that it could hold onto the lead.
But the Trojans tied the game on a 31-yard field goal by Devin Bartholomew just before halftime.
The Parkland offense had totaled just 23 yards and amassed one first down in the first half. It needed a spark, and found one in a senior running back.
Without their leading rusher in Joey Guida, the Trojans called upon Dominic Nelson to step up. Nelson rushed for 132 yards and a score in leading the offensive attack.
A Liberty defense had its hands full in the second half.
Parkland amassed 218 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the second half, and added a safety on defense for good measure.
“They told us to focus on our jobs,” Nelson said about the coaches’ halftime speeches. “Our minds weren’t in it in the first half. I don’t really know why. We all focused much better and played great in the second half.”
Nelson could have opened the second half scoring, but lost the ball at the Liberty 2-yard line.
On the Trojans next drive, they climbed on top for good. A 12-play, 59-yard drive was capped by Angel Santos mowing into the end zone for a three-yard touchdown run.
The Trojan defense stuffed Legree in the end zone for a safety, and Nelson capped the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown.
After two straight home games, Parkland travels to take on Nazareth (2-3, 2-3) on Friday night at Andrew Leh Stadium. The Blue Eagles are coming off an upset win over Becahi last weekend.