Pates give Parkland first loss
The Parkland football team has relied heavily on its defense over the years. That defense was needed for a final stand against unbeaten Freedom last Friday, but was unable to stop a fourth down attempt and the clock wound down in a 21-18 loss to the Patriots last week in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference showdown at Parkland School District Stadium.
Freedom’s powerful offensive line and skillful backfield took the stage and came through when they needed to most and killed off the final 6:38 off the clock to hang on for the victory.
The Patriots (3-0 overall, 2-0 EPC South) remained undefeated and gave the Trojans (2-1, 1-1) their first loss in a showdown between the two teams that combined to win the last seven District 11 championships.
“I’m proud of the effort,” said Parkland head coach Tim Moncman. “A loss is a loss. It hurts. But we’re asking guys to step up, and they did. We battled for 48 minutes. They’re a hell of a football team. Hopefully we see them again sometime down the road.”
After a Parkland touchdown via a three-yard reception by Nick Johnston from Tanner Lewis, and then a Jordan Lewis two-point conversion midway through the final quarter brought the score to 21-18, the Trojans and their home fans began to get louder.
Freedom had the ball at its own 43-yard line on the ensuing kickoff with a fourth-and-one staring them in the face. Workhorse Jalen Stewart plowed ahead for two yards in what proved to be a game-saving play to keep the ball with the Patriots and allowed them to run out the clock five plays later.
Stewart had a nine-yard score in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7 after Parkland went ahead to open the game on a Nick Johnston 67-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the that frame. But Stewart’s touchdown started a run of 21 straight points for the Patriots.
Parkland had a field goal late in the third quarter, but had drives halted because of fumbled snaps.
“We’ll work on it,” Moncman said. “We have to do a better job of catching it. Those things happen. I don’t blame it on anybody. Our center (Jered Fenstermaker) plays both ways and he’s got (Kaden) Moore (lined up) in front of him. So, sometimes that’s going to happen. Jered is a hell of a football player. He played all the snaps tonight on both sides of the ball.”
Parkland once again was faced with injuries as it played without three senior captains (Nick Dawkins, Luke Dauberman and Dante Medlar). It lost two more players during Friday’s game, forcing players with little varsity experience onto the field.
“We lost another linebacker and another defensive back,” said Moncman. “There were kids thrown in the fire tonight that didn’t get a ton of reps in practice. But, they stepped up and played. We’ll get back to work for Becahi.”
Parkland will play at Bethlehem Catholic (2-1, 1-1) on Saturday night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.