In a matchup of two of the top teams contending for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division, special teams play was a vital aspect last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium.
Parkland began three of its first four drives on Freedom’s side of the field, and they took advantage, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal in building a 17-0 lead right out of the gates.
The Patriots couldn’t dig themselves out of the early hole, dropping their first game of the season 38-7.
Three weeks ago the Parkland football team was in a bad spot. Getting beat by Liberty at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium, there seemed to be nothing good that the Trojans could do. It was the first loss of the season, and one that stings to this day.
“What happened to us a couple of weeks ago, we challenged the kids,” said head coach Jim Morgans. “They expect it to come from us, but our leadership, our captains, they were embarrassed by that. They stepped up their game.”
There’s a little-known fact about Humpty Dumpty: he would be able to coach the Parkland boys soccer team even in a conference final. At least that’s what assistant coach Scott Mang said about taking over the team for a game while head coach Patrick Birns served a one-game suspension. Mang did a solid job in leading Parkland to a 3-2 win over Pocono Mountain East and the fourth conference title in seven seasons for the Trojans.
Parkland’s top two singles tennis players paired up for last week’s District 11 doubles tournament.
Patricia Yao and Madi Staiman earned the No. 7 seed in the tournament and won their first two matches last Wednesday before falling to the No. 2 see Friday in the quarterfinal round.
“To make it to the quarterfinals in district doubles is definitely a great accomplishment, especially give their youth,” Parkland head coach Michael Haingston. “They haven’t had a chance to play a whole lot of doubles together.
In Parkland’s loss to Liberty in week 6, the Trojans didn’t look like the same team that took the field the first five weeks of the season. The loss two weeks ago had ugly moments on both sides of the ball, but it was the Parkland defense that could not stop the Hurricanes when it needed to most.
Last Friday night was a different story. The Parkland defense showed up to play and dominated Easton, forcing five turnovers and not allowing the Red Rovers to reach the end zone in a 21-3 victory at Cottingham Stadium.
The good news for Parkland field hockey is that it qualified for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament. The bad news is that they it drew top-seeded Emmaus in the first round and lost 4-1.
Sophomore Allie Bianco scored the lone goal for the Lady Trojans with 17:50 left to play.
Back to the good news, Parkland (6-7-1 EPC, 10-8-1 overall) has some time to prepare for the District 11 Class AAA playoffs, which begin next week.
Parkland and Emmaus combined to score one goal in their two regular season meetings, but the Trojans erupted – if you can call it that – with two goals in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals to beat the Hornets 2-0 and advance to the conference championship against the Pocono Mountain East Cardinals, who are now 16-2 in the EPC and 18-2 overall on the season.
The Cardinals downed Stroudsburg 2-1 in overtime in the other EPC semifinal.
Justin Evans scored just one of Parkland’s four goals last Saturday afternoon, but his was the last and the game-winner in a 4-3 victory over Freedom in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinals at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“It was a big goal for me and for the team,” Evans said. “It was the game-winner so it helped my team win. That’s what matters most, that we’re moving on.”
In the opening 30 minutes it looked as if Freedom was going to win this one rather easily.
Usually when a team holds a 1-0 lead in soccer, especially in a playoff game, there’s a little bit of nail-biting going on, but that’s not the case with Parkland. Their nails are in no danger of being chewed off, because they simply don’t play nervous soccer even with a one-goal lead. That’s how Parkland, 19-1 overall, staved off Nazareth to win 1-0 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals at J. Birney Crum Stadium Tuesday night.
The Parkland football team bounced back from its first loss of the season with a dominating win at Easton last Friday night. Now this weekend, the Trojans will face another test and look to take down Freedom (7-0), the only remaining unbeaten team in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
A week after the Trojan defense was burned by Liberty for 41 points, it did not allow a touchdown from the Red Rovers in taking a 21-3 victory.