Parkland Produces Dominating Performance, Hands Freedom Their First Loss
Orefield- Since their loss to Liberty a couple of weeks ago, Parkland’s defense challenged themselves not to have that kind of performance again. Last week they only gave up three points to an explosive Easton team. This week they continued to be stingy with the points surrendering only seven and the offense behind Devonte Cross and Erik DiGirolamo led the way to a convincing 38-7 victory over previously unbeaten Freedom in a EPC South showdown in front of a large homecoming night crowd at Parkland Stadium.
Parkland got on the board early in the first quarter after a blocked punt by Palmer Kerch put the Trojans in business at the Patriot 12 yard line. Freedom’s defense held the Trojans to a 27 yard field goal by Donovan Berger which gave them a 3-0 lead.
Freedom’s special teams issues continued again in the second quarter when punter Steven Rold mishandled the snap. Kerch was there to take him down for a loss and give his team the ball at the Patriots 33 yard line, which led to a one-yard run by Cross and a 10-0 Trojan lead.
“We were embarrassed by how we played in the Liberty game. We told our kids they are better than that. Our guys stepped it up the last two weeks. They are doing a great job,” Parkland coach Jim Morgans said after the win.
Freedom played without their starting quarterback Joe Young. The Patriots went with Jonah Gundrum as their signal caller. Gundrum was sacked seven times by the tenacious Parkland defense and they could only muster 137 total yards in the contest. A flanker pass from Alec Huertas to Brennan Reinert that covered 67 yards would be the only points put on the board for Freedom in the second quarter.
Erik DiGirolamo rushed for 94 yards and three scores for Parkland. Two from short yardage and then a bull-dozing 14 yard scamper, breaking several tackles on his way to paydirt to solidify the total team performance on the evening. Devonte Cross continued to impress as well, throwing for nearly 190 yards on 12 of 15 passing and rushing for another 103 yards on 11 carries.
After a Freedom’s punt gave the Trojans the ball on their own 42, Cross sealed the deal with a spectacular 52 yard run cutting through the Freedom defense and taking it down the visitors sideline for a score to make the lead 31-7 midway through the third quarter,
“We got down a couple of scores and we couldn’t get ourselves out of it. We needed to keep up with them especially in the third quarter and we couldn’t get it done. Parkland played a heck of a game. Give them the credit. They got us tonight,” stated a dejected coach Jason Roeder.
Freedom (7-1, 5-1 EPC South) does not have time to dwell on this loss as they get ready for a trip to Cottingham Stadium next Friday to face Easton, who pummeled Liberty 49-14 Friday. Parkland (7-1, 5-1) will face Nazareth, who lost to Whitehall 38-20 Friday.
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