Martin Passes St. Joe’s over Parkland in State Quarterfinal
Bethlehem, Pa., Chris Martin came back from a two game injury hiatus and threw two touchdown passes in the first half as St. Joe’s Prep outlasted Parkland, 21-10 in a AAAA state quarterfinal game yesterday at Frank Banko stadium. The earmark of this game hinged on two teams who’s elite running attacks were thwarted by the opposing defense.
“I felt really good this week while taking reps and I knew I’d be good to go” quipped Martin, who suffered a sprained ACL in their PCL championship with LaSalle. “Two weeks ago it didn’t feel good at all and I wasn’t so sure I’d be here today.”
Parkland came in to the game as the District 2/4 subregional champions and a high flying no huddle offense averaging over 30 points a game and great skill position players Devante Cross (QB), running back Kareem Williams and receivers Elijah Redmond and Jarey Elder. Hawk coach Gabe Infante knew he had to slow down the tempo that Parkland coach Jim Morgans ran and that all began with eliminating as many big runs by Williams as possible.
Martin has operated the Prep offense for the last two years and his presence in their backfield has always given opposing defenses much more to worry about due to his dual threat ability. On this day it was apparent that his job was to hand off and throw the football and not run the ball as an option. The Hawks got on the board midway into the opening stanza with a perfectly executed screen pass from Martin to Olamide Zaccheaus that covered 48 yards and the game’s first score.
Two possessions later the Hawks scored in five plays working on a short field, covering 42 yards. The final play, Martin’s 29 yard toss to Justin Montague gave them a two score advantage with still over two minutes left in the first quarter. Later in the half Martin connected on pass plays of 21 and 28 yards which culminated with freshman D’Andre Swift’s 7 yard touchdown run and a 21-0 advantage.
The second half was marked by great defensive play on both teams part. The run defense especially was top notch. Down 21-3, Parkland finally got on the board in the fourth quarter with a seven play, 64 yard drive with Cross’s passing and Williams running. A nine yard touchdown pass from Cross to Elder put the Trojans two scores behind but they could not generate anything more.
This game was marked more by the defensive stands and both teams did an outstanding job stopping the run. Williams got his 100 yards but it took 31 carries. The Hawks great running tandem of Zaccheaus and Swift accounted for only 12 and 10 yards themselves.
The win now pits the Prep with an Eastern final vs District 1 champ Neshaminy next Saturday afternoon at Northeast’s Charles Martin stadium and the right for the winner to represent the east in the AAAA state championship game at Hershey. Parkland ends their season with a 12-2 record and a 42-0 thrashing of Easton in their District final.
Notes: Parkland’s Williams is the brother of Heisman candidate Andre Williams, who has run for over 2,000 yards at Boston College this year. Prep junior left tackle Jon Runyan played a solid game both in run block and pass protection schemes and has verballed to Michigan. He is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jon Runyan. Jarey Elder made an outstanding one handed catch on the ground to keep a late Parkland drive going. Parkland came very close to blocking St. Joe’s first two punts. Prep safety Dillon DeIuliis made a touchdown saving deflection of a Devante Cross pass to a wide open Parkland receiver on the Prep 20 in the first half. All conference kicker Jake Bissell did not play for Parkland due to an injured hip. Prep sophomore linebacker Nick Vandevere sparingly played due to an injured collarbone. The Parkland defense played very solid second half football. St. Joe’s second half possessions were: six and out, five and out, then three, three and outs. Martin had no rushing attempts. He had very good pocket protection. His final passing stats were 13-23 for 241 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 interception. He was not sacked. Parkland’s second half offensive possession dominance was punctuated with them taking 41 snaps to the Hawks 21. Hawk senior Vince Moffit literally never came off the field. He played solid as a safety with a game ending interception. He had or assisted in 10 tackles, had seven carries at RB and fielded three punts flawlessly. LB Ryan McNulty also had 10 stops for the Prep. Punter Pat Walsh had outstanding hang time on most of his punts.
Scoring by Quarter
SJP – Zaccheaus – 48 pass from Martin – Walsh kick – 8:18
SJP – Montague – 29 pass from Martin – Walsh kick – 2:22
SJP – Swift – 7 run – Walsh kick – 3:49
PKL – Williams – 31 FG – :31
PKL – Elder – 9 pass from Cross – Williams kick – 7:34
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