Whitehall Jumps Out Early and Holds On To Defeat Rival Parkland 38-24
Flashback to last season District XI playoffs: Nearing the half and Whitehall holding a lead, coach Brian Gilbert decided to go for it on a fourth and one near midfield against Parkland. RB Saquon Barkley ran an end around but was stopped short of the markers. The Trojans took over and scored right at the end of the quarter and went on to win that game.
Moving ahead to Friday night: Whitehall was leading 24-10 late in the 3th quarter. Whitehall faced another fourth and short from near midfield. Whitehall again rolled the dice and this time the ball was handed to Barkley who threw it toward QB Gianni Sinatore in the flat. However Parkland’s Kenny Yeboah was there as well. The ball somehow fell through Yeboah’s hands and into Sinatore’s who galloped down the sidelines for a score to make it 31-10. It was Barkley’s second touchdown pass of the game leading his team to a convincing 38-24 win before a standing room only crowd at Zephyr Stadium in a key EPC South Matchup
The win for Whitehall (5-0) sets up a showdown next week against unbeaten Easton at historic Cottingham Stadium. Barkley finished the night with 30 carries for 162 yards allowing him to win MVP and his team to win the Joe Gerenscer Memorial Trophy awarded for the victors each year.
“We had to start out fast and not get behind,” Coach Gilbert stated. “Parkland is an explosive team. We took some chances and it paid off dividends in the end,” he added.
Barkley got the scoring started by sprinting to the end zone from 25 yards out with 3:34 left in the opening quarter. Sinatore then hit Jake Buskirk with a 13-yard strike early in the second to up the lead 14-0. A Parkland punt put the Zephyrs on their heels at their own 10. Sinatore flipped the ball to Barkley. Barkley in turn threw a perfectly precise pass to a streaking Chad Rex, who outraced the Trojan defenders to a score and a shocking 21-0 lead with 9:50 till half. Connor Ilgenfritz added a 24-yard FG for Whitehall. Parkland avoided being shutout with a 37 yd FG but trailed 24-3 at intermission.
“It feels good to finally get these guys,” Barkley said afterwards. “From practice in August we talked about this game. It feels so good to come out with a W.” He concluded.
The second half was going to be a challenge for Whitehall as Parkland would not go away easy. QB Davonte Cross connected on a 20 yard pass to Yeboah to make the score 24-10. Yeboah had seven catches for 152 yards on the night. After Barkley’s pass to Sinatore, Cross then hit Yeboah again to make the score 31-17 with seven minutes to go in the contest.
Barkley then put the game away with a 52-yard sprint around left end with 2:37 to go. Parkland added another score, a 46-yard pass from Cross to who else, Yeboah, to conclude the scoring. Parkland only allowed 22 points in previous four games.
“We made too many mistakes against a very good team,” said Parkland coach Jim Morgans after the game. “We got bit by a very good team tonight,” he concluded.
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