Nazareth remains unbeaten
NAZARETH – Nazareth Area has a new nickname this year, “the comeback kids”. Once again they lived up to the name scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Dan Harding’s six-yard touchdown pass to Alex Tonnies put the Blue Eagles up for good. In a battle of unbeatens, Nazareth Area defeated Bethlehem Freedom 20-16 in a Lehigh Valley Conference win at Andrew Leh Stadium.
On their first possession Nazareth drove down to the Freedom 28 yard line. On fourth down and one, Harding fumbled the ball and Okezie Alozie picked up the ball and ran 72 yards for the Freedom score. Sean Wrobel’s kick put Freedom up 7-0 off the turnover.
The Blue Eagles explosive offense answered right back. They drove 80-yards and Adam Bridgeforth finished the drive with a six-yard run. Jack Portnoy’s kick tied the game up at seven with 6:23 remaining in the first half.
Everyone talked about the offense going into this game, but it was the defense in the first half that was the story. After a scoreless second quarter the teams went into halftime tied at seven. Nazareth came into the game averaging 43 points per game and Freedom 39. Freedom had 130 total yards of offensive and they held Nazareth Area to 118 yards at the half.
Freedom’s defense stopped the Blue Eagles on fourth down and one and took over on their 39. With Halloween right around the corner, Freedom went into their bag of tricks. Alozie took the pitch and threw the ball 45-yards to Frank Bucsi for the first down deep in Nazareth territory. The Blue Eagles defense bent but did not break and came up with the big fourth down stop deep in their territory.
Two plays later Nazareth gave the ball right back and Freedom took over at the Nazareth 13 yard-line. Alozie finished off the drive scoring from five yards out. Freedom led 13-7.
With the Blue Eagles down nine it was time for Nazareth to put together another comeback win in the fourth quarter. They closed the score on a Kani Camacho one-yard score. Freedom led 16-14 with 9:24 remaining in the game.
Freedom tried to run time off the clock, but the Blue Eagles defense bent a little and stopped them. After a Freedom punt, Nazareth took over at their 28 with 6:47 remaining in the game.
The Blue Eagles drove right down the field behind Harding. Harding’s brilliant six-yard pass to Tonnies with 3:05 remaining completed the comeback. The Blue Eagles led 20-16.
This was Nazareth’s fourth come from behind win this season. Dan Harding led the way passing for 227 yards and one score. Adam Bridgeforth had 65 yards receiving and Andrew Bridgeforth added 88 yards.
Okezie Alozie led the way for Freedom rushing for 150 yards. Freedom (6-1) hosts Easton Area next Friday night. Nazareth Area (7-0) hits the road to play Parkland.
Photos provided by Anthony Lauro
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