Trojans bounce back, beat Liberty
The Parkland football team was reeling, both on the field and off. It was facing a two-game losing streak and was forced to deal with some injuries to key players. It needed some positive energy to hit the program.
Some came last weekend.
With the score tied 7-7, the Trojans scored the next 28 points to win 35-7 over Liberty in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division game last Friday night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
The win snaps a two-game skid with losses to fellow Bethlehem schools Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic in the two weeks before facing the Hurricanes.
“This win feels amazing, really good,” said junior running back Isiah Rico. “After those last two games we could’ve gotten down on ourselves and continued to bleed and who knew how the rest of the season would’ve went. But we picked ourselves up and got a big win here tonight. We’d like to say it’s a new season now and finish 6-0.”
Parkland (3-2 overall, 2-2 EPC) was a bit stagnant offensively for the opening quarter or two, but the defense was strong throughout the entirety. They forced two turnovers on the Hurricanes (2-3, 0-3) first two possessions, an interception by Nick Johnston and a fumble recovered after a tackle-for-loss by Angel Ramos.
The Trojans were unable to capitalize, however, even with good field position. The Liberty defense stepped up and held firm, forcing Parkland (3-2, 2-2) into three-and-outs on both ensuing possessions and the first three of the game altogether.
The Trojans broke the scoreless drought on their final drive of the opening quarter thanks to a two-yard touchdown run by Rico, who took the last three carries for 17 yards.
Rico was a prominent part of the rushing attack, finishing over the century mark with 110 yards on 15 carries. He also had one catch for 30 yards.
Rico, along with sophomore quarterback Ty Tremba, starting his first career game, moved the football and were able to help the Trojans offense put points on the scoreboard this week, after just getting seven on the same field just six nights prior.
“We got a lot of push on the offensive line,” said Rico of the difference in the week. “I was able to hit more seams than I have in the last few weeks. We all just got better this week at practice and executed and it showed in the game.”
Some of that push up front was due to senior lineman Nick Dawkins being back in the lineup. He had missed the last three games due to injury. A couple of other key players also returned to the lineup and it was a welcoming sight for the team.
“It’s great to see a lot of these guys back,” Rico said. “I know what it’s like to come back from an injury. To have these guys come back and put together a win like this is just great for them and great for our team.”
Liberty tied the score 7-7 2:37 into the second period.
The Liberty defense once again forced a three-and-out by Parkland on its next possession after the Hurricanes touchdown, but then the Hurricanes did not get a first down of their own in their next drive.
And that’s when the game changed.
The Trojans put together a 10-play drive, including a 23-yard pass play on the first play from Tremba to Johnston, and ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Siggins to take back the lead at 14-7 with 1:55 left. Liberty got an interception thanks to Takwan Mosely right before half, but the score remained 14-7 heading into halftime.
Liberty went three-and-out on the opening third quarter possession and then Parkland scored five plays later on a Rico 15-yard run to go up 21-7. Two punt blocks recovered for touchdowns highlighted the remaining second half scoring for Parkland. Sean Cox and Max Hernandez fell on top of the blocked punts for touchdowns.
Parkland returns home after two weeks away to host undefeated Nazareth on Friday at Parkland School District Stadium.