Lib­erty scores first, but Kids dom­i­nate

Northamp­ton pulls away for win over Hur­ri­canes

The Morning Call - - Sports - By Corky Blake

It’s not of­ten teams are play­ing for pride just three games into the sea­son. But that’s what was at stake for Lib­erty and host Northamp­ton at Al Er­dosy Sta­dium on Fri­day night in this ab­bre­vi­ated 2020 COVID-19 cam­paign.

Both pro­grams en­tered the game as the only win­less teams at 0-2 in the East­ern Penn­syl­va­nia Con­fer­ence’s six-team Northamp­ton County Di­vi­sion.

Northamp­ton made Se­nior Night a mem­o­rable one with a 38-10 vic­tory over the Hur­ri­canes. But it wasn’t with­out its early anx­ious mo­ments.

Jovon­nie Nunez re­turned the open­ing kick­off from the goal line to Lib­erty’s 45-yard line. Three plays later Lib­erty se­nior run­ning back Jaiden Canada weaved his way around left end and dashed 47 yards for the touch­down just 95 sec­onds into the game. San­der Sa­hay­dak’s PAT made it 7-0.

The Konkrete Kids re­sponded with the next 21 points.

Mike Cruz’s 10-yard run capped a 7-play, 80-yard drive on the pos­ses­sion af­ter Lib­erty’s score. The big play in the march was Owen Baker’s 45-yard run.

The teams swapped in­ter­cep­tions, and it was Northamp­ton that cashed in.

Two plays af­ter Everett Luisi’s theft at

Northamp­ton’s 30 and re­turn to mid­field, quar­ter­back­JoeKer­bacher­dart­ed48­yards un­touched off the right side for a touch­down with 4:57 re­main­ing in the quar­ter. Thetwo-point pass con­ver­sion failed.

TheKid­s­then­con­sumed­morethanfo­ur min­utesinthes­ec­ondquar­ter­fortheirth­ird score—a1-yardrun­byCruz.Thedrive­was kept alive by Lib­erty jump­ing off­sides on fourth-and-three. A Ker­bacher to Mike Cole­man18-yard­com­ple­tion­ad­vancedthe ball in­side the 5for the Kids.

Lib­erty’s pair of pre­vi­ous de­feats were trig­gered by a propen­sity to al­low its op­po­nents to go on scor­ing sprees — 30 straight sec­ond-half points by Eas­ton and 28 con­sec­u­tive first-half points by Beth­le­hem Catholic.

Lib­erty stopped the run when Sa­hay­dak, a Penn State re­cruit, eas­ily split the up­rights with a 46-yard field goal with 1:15 left in the half.

Northamp­ton kicker Ai­den Rein­hard showed he pos­sesses a very strong leg, too. Rein­hard ac­counted for the only points in the third quar­ter with a 43-yard field goal with room to spare. Ear­lier in the quar­ter, Sa­hay­dak was just wide on a 50-yard field goal try.

Cruz scored his third touch­down of the game on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quar­ter for a 31-10 ad­van­tage. That came a play af­ter he was hauled down af­ter a 37-yard gain.

Baker con­cluded his out­stand­ing two-way per­for­mance Fri­day night by re­turn­ing an in­ter­cep­tion near mid­field for a touch­down with 1:09 left. That atoned for his fum­ble at Lib­erty’s 5 just a few min­utes ear­lier.

Cruz un­of­fi­cially fin­ished with 105 yards on 14 car­ries, and Baker added 97 yards on 12 at­tempts.

Ker­bacher was 11-for-19 pass­ing for 98 yards and one in­ter­cep­tion. Mike Cole­man was his top re­ceiver with four catches for 43 yards.

Luisi also re­cov­ered a fum­ble on a kick­off to go with his in­ter­cep­tion.

Canada led Lib­erty with 99 yards on 10 car­ries.

Northamp­ton, which opened the sea­son with losses to Free­dom and Nazareth, re­mains at home next Fri­day to play host to Eas­ton. Lib­erty re­turns to BASDS­ta­dium to en­ter­tain Nazareth. Both games are 7 p.m. kick­offs.

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