Last Friday night was hyped up to be another typical Parkland-Easton clash in the Class AAAA subregional football tournament. But the Trojans quickly put that notion aside with dominant performances on both sides of the ball.
A 24-point second quarter put the game out of reach, as Parkland’s defense pitched a shutout in a 37-0 mercy rule win against the Red Rovers at Parkland School District Stadium. The Trojans move on to this Friday’s subregional final against
The journey might be over, but the memories will last a lifetime.
Four years ago the players that are now seniors on Parkland’s girls volleyball team came into the program hoping to uphold a legacy of success. They didn’t just uphold a tradition of greatness, they took it a step further.
Playing from behind isn’t something the Parkland girls volleyball has to do often. But that didn’t concern the Lady Trojans went they fell into a two-game deficit in Saturday’s state championship match against Hempfield.
When the stakes were at their highest, the Lady Trojans played their best, coming back to win the match 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-15, 15-16, 15-12) and earn their second straight state championship.
The Lady Trojans opened up their PIAA first round game against Cumberland Valley with a three-goal barrage in the first 10 minutes of the game, but remarkably, it wasn’t enough.
The Eagles came back with four second-half goals and a 4-3 win. The loss eliminated Parkland from the state tournament.
For a team that allowed just five goals all season coming into the game, the offensive outburst by Cumberland Valley was certainly unexpected.
For a while now, it seems that the road to the District 11 championship always goes through either Parkland or Easton. This year is no different. For the fourth straight season, the Trojans and the Red Rovers will meet in the postseason. The winner will advance to the District 2-11 Subregional championship game.
“These are two great teams, two great programs,” said head coach Jim Morgans. “Ever since I’ve been here, Easton has been a constant in the district playoffs. We have formed a rivalry with them and both of us have won a lot of big games.”
The Parkland football offense has some dynamic playmakers. Many opposing defenses key in on quarterback Devante Cross and wideout Kenny Yeboah, who have connected for eight touchdowns this season. But last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium, senior running back Erik DiGirolamo did all of the scoring in powering the Trojans past Delaware Valley 28-10 in the quarterfinals of the District 2-11 Class AAAA tournament.
En route to its current unblemished record of 25-0, the Parkland girls’ volleyball team hasn’t been tested too often.
But the Lady Trojans knew a time would come when adversity would pop up, even just a little bit. Head Coach Mike Krause understood that the team’s trip to Arizona in early October, one in which Parkland faced some of the country’s top teams in the Nike Tournament of Champions, would play a key role in those gritty situations come postseason play.
A brief moment in Tuesday’s PIAA Class AAA semifinals proved that Parkland was prepared for some adversity.
For two-and-a-half quarters, the Emmaus football team looked like ready to pull off an upset of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference favorite Parkland in the final game of the regular season.
The Hornets scored first and trailed by only two points with just over a minute left in the third quarter last Friday night in Orefield. And they needed a win for any shot at a District 11 playoff berth.
But the Trojans athleticism took over and was too much for Emmaus (5-5 overall) as the Trojans came away with a 35-12 last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium.
Rivals Parkland and Emmaus met for the District 11 championship in boys soccer last Thursday at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
The two teams are very familiar with each other, having played three other times this season, including in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, with the two teams playing to a scoreless tie in the first meeting and then splitting the next two games. With a trip to the PIAA playoffs on the line, Emmaus came away with a 2-0 win over the Trojans last week.
You can never count out a champion until the final whistle, or in this case the final point. Although it did not lose a game in the district championship match, the Parkland girls volleyball team was challenged by an upbeat Nazareth squad that jumped up and down and celebrated each and every point.
But in the end, the top seeded Trojans got the better of the Blue Eagles by scores of 25-17, 25-17, and 25-20 to win the District 11 Class AAA title for the fifth time in six years.
Even when they weren’t at their best, the Trojans found a way to win.