Following a tough overtime defeat at rival Emmaus, the Parkland boys soccer team started getting on a roll, winning its next two games.
Then they ran into the East Penn Conference’s other undefeated team. And just like against the Green Hornets, the Trojans fell just short, dropping a game to Liberty 1-0 last Wednesday evening in EPC action at Parkland High School.
The Hurricanes (7-0, 7-0) scored the lone goal on a penalty shot from Chris Schray. That was all they would need as goalies Blake Koski and Ryan Siegfried combined for six saves and the shutout.
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 Parkland football team came one fourth down stop from getting the ball back with a chance at defeating Freedom last week, but the Trojans could not make the stop. Now Parkland (2-1 overall, 1-1 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South) will look to bounce back and start another win streak when it travels to take on Bethlehem Catholic (2-1, 1-1) on Saturday night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
The Golden Hawks’ only loss of the season also came against the Patriots, who beat Beca and Parkland in back-to-back week.
The Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams have a penchant for playing close games that go until the final whistle. That was once again the case in their matchup last Wednesday.
Emmaus’s Andrew Gaines followed up on a rebound off of a direct kick from about 40-yards away from net and broke a 1-1 deadlock when he scored a golden goal 3:06 into overtime to help the Green Hornets take down the Trojans 2-1 at Emmaus High School’s Memorial Field in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference action.
After an emotional setback to Central Catholic last Tuesday night, the Parkland girls volleyball team had to face rival Emmaus two nights later.
The Trojans, coming off their first loss of the season, were fired up in front of their home crowd. They took care of the Hornets in four sets by scores of 25-18, 24-26, 25-21 and 25-22 last Thursday night at Parkland High School.
The adage is football is a game of inches.
In both the Parkland and Central Catholic football teams’ perspective, that was never more true in their most recent meeting.
On an attempted pass into the end zone on the final play of the game as time expired, the ball went through the hands of a leaping Vikings wide receiver for an incomplete pass. A couple of inches lower, that ball may have been caught.
There is a large youth movement happening in the Parkland boys soccer program. After seeing 10 seniors graduate after last season, and one underclassman leave for an academy program, the Trojans have a small senior class and a team with youth all throughout the pitch.
Head coach Patrick Birns, in his ninth season at the helm, knows the challenges he has in front of him with an inexperienced roster, but there are still some strengths in areas that he is excited about.
It was a different end to a season than anyone around the Parkland football program was used to. The conclusion of the 2018 District 11 football season saw Freedom High School win the district championship over Emmaus. The previous six years Parkland had won every district gold, a run unseen for quite some time.
But the Trojans now look toward a new year and new added motivation to get back to winning trophies.
When Parkland girls soccer head coach Al Haddad looks up and down his 2019 roster, he can smile knowing the talent and experience he will have back for the defending District 11 Class 4A champions.
Eight players from last year’s squad graduated, including four that are on college teams this fall. But the Trojans still boast talent at just about every position on the field.
Everyone around the Lehigh Valley knows the last name Dawkins, and the sport that it is primarily associated with. Darryl Dawkins played for the played 14 seasons in the NBA, primarily with the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers and New Jersey Nets.
Nick Dawkins is a star offensive lineman for the Parkland football team that is committed to play at Penn State University next fall.
So why not basketball?