Nazareth completes sweep of Easton, wins District title
NAZARETH – Nazareth (12-1) rallied from a 14-point deficit and scored 28 unanswered points in a 28-21 win over Easton Area (11-3) before a packed house Saturday night for the District 11 4A title at Andrew S. Leh Stadium.
With the win, the Blue Eagles advanced to the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals against LaSalle College High. The game will be played Saturday at BASD Stadium at 1pm.
The Red Rovers started right where they left off from two days ago when they defeated Phillipsburg in the annual Turkey day game 24-8.
The Red Rovers came out throwing right from the opening bell. Senior quarterback Ian Hayden hit Shane Simpson for a 50-yard completion down to the Nazareth three. On the next play Austin Brown went in for the three-yard out and Chris Roubik’s kick put Easton up 7-0.
Easton got the ball right back after a three-and-out by Nazareth. The Red Rovers went right down the field in 10 plays for 73 yards. Brown capped off the drive scoring his second touchdown of the night. His one-yard plunge put Easton up 14-0 with 5:31 to play in the first quarter.
Nazareth started their comeback late in the first quarter. Dan Harding hit Alex Tonnies on third down to the Easton 35 to setup their first score. Harding found Andrew Bridgeforth for the 35-yard strike.
The Blue Eagles defense stepped up. After another stop, Harding started to hit his stride. He found Tonnies who weaved his way through the defense and went 63-yards for the score. The game was knotted up at 14 with 4:21 left in the first half.
The most impressive drive in the first half came late in the half. The Blue Eagles went 15 plays for 75-yards. They were facing a fourth down and 13 but Harding found Shepherd for a 17-yard score with four seconds left in the first half. The Blue Eagles had their first lead of the night, 21-14.
The Blue Eagles went up by two scores on a one-yard Jordan Gray touchdown to cap a 72-yard drive in the third quarter.
But Easton wasn’t done yet. After intercepting a Harding pass the Red Rovers drove 85 yards for a score. Brown’s third rushing touchdown with 4:57 remaining cut the lead to seven.
The Red Rovers never saw the ball again and freshman running back Gray sealed the win on a 7-yard run for a first down and the Blue Eagles ran out the clock.
NOTE: Nazareth’s Dan Harding completed 21 of 33 for 287 and three touchdowns. Freshman running back Jordan Gray had 148 yards rushing. Alex Tonnies had six catches for 116 yards.
This is the first district title since 1989 for Nazareth when they won the Class 3A District 11 title that year.
|E – Austin Brown 3-yard run 11:34|
|E – Austin Brown 1-yard run 5:31|
|N – Andrew Bridgeforth 35-yard pass from Dan Harding :15|
|N – Alex Tonnies 63-yard pass from Dan Harding 4:21|
|N – Dan Shepherd 17-yard pass from Dan Harding :04|
|N – Jordan Gray 1-yard run 7:01|
|E – Austin Brown 2-yard run 4:57|
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