Liberty scores first, but Kids dominate
Northampton pulls away for win over Hurricanes
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.