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Harding does it again

Written by: on Saturday, September 17th, 2011. Follow Staff on Twitter.


Harding does it again

BETHLEHEM – For a second straight week, Nazareth Area found their team down in the second half and again it was Dan Harding who engineered a comeback. The Blue Eagles overcame a three-touchdown deficit to defeat Bethlehem Liberty in front of 7,000 fans Friday night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.

It was the Liberty Hurricanes who struck first with a Devon Jones 40-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked and the Hurricanes led 6-0.

The Blue Eagles overcame an early turnover, got one back, and Harding went in for the five-yard touchdown run with 3:33 left in the first quarter to tie the game up at six.

The Hurricanes dominated the second quarter scoring with four of the five touchdowns. Jones went in for a 28-yard run. James McCarthy scored on runs of one-yard and 76-yards. The Blue Eagles only score in the quarter came from a Harding to Adam Bridgeforth 16-yard touchdown pass. Michael Harris finished the scoring for the Hurricanes going in for a 30-yard run with 16 seconds remaining in the first half.

Liberty had 15 first downs and over 270 yards rushing in the first half. The Hurricanes went into halftime with a commanding 34-13 lead.

The comeback kids would get the party started in the second half with Nazareth’s freshman, running back Jordan Gray scoring on an 18-yard run. Harding added two more touchdown passes to Andrew Bridgeforth (18-yards and 51-yards) to tie the game up at 34 with nine seconds remaining in the quarter.

The Hurricanes took the lead back with 9:51 remaining in the game.  Stephon Font-Toomer ran right up the middle for a 33-yard run putting Liberty up 41-34.

Harding threw for 394 yards including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Bridgeforth with 38 seconds remaining in the game to bring Nazareth back within one, 41-40. The Blue Eagles decided to go for the win and Harding’s two-point conversion to Dan Shepherd cemented the comeback 42-41.

Harding’s two favorite targets on the night were Adam Bridgeforth who had 12 catches for 143 yards and one score and Andrew Bridgeforth who had 160 yards and three scores.

Liberty’s Quarterback James McCarthy led the way with 215 yards rushing and 73 yards passing.

Nazareth (3-0) hosts William Allen next Friday night. Bethlehem Liberty (2-1) will try to rebound home next week against Whitehall.

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