The Morning Call (Sunday)

Trojans’ depth leads to dominant win

No. 2 Class 6A team in the state has plenty of weapons

- By Gary R. Blockus

Newsflash. Bethlehem Catholic held Parkland’s Trey Tremba to just 75 yards rushing. In the first half.

It didn’t matter. Tremba scored a pair of first half touchdowns, quarterbac­k Luke Spang ran for one, threw for three, and Connor Johns caught two of them in the opening half as undefeated Parkland, the No. 2 Class 6A team in the state, celebrated Homecoming with a 40-3 win in Orefield on Friday night.

“I thought Spang did an amazing job of keeping plays alive,” said Bethlehem Catholic coach Ty Ward. “We couldn’t get hands on him; we couldn’t get him to the ground. Parkland is second in the state for a reason.”

Spang went 16-of-26 passing for 205 yards and three TDs with no intercepti­ons. Tremba, who played just the first half, gained his yards on just 13 carries and caught two passes for 16 yards, plus, he intercepte­d Becahi sophomore quarterbac­k Cayden Vassa at the end of the first half.

“That was my first pick in a high school game, so that felt pretty good,” a smiling Tremba said between celebratio­ns with team and family.

Johns, a Penn commit, caught five passes for 105 yards, and formed a deadly trio with Jendel Sanchez and Leo Dauberman.

“The pass protection broke down a bit, and Spang had to scramble,” Johns said. “When he scrambles, the defense has to respect what he can do on the field. It gave me a chance to get behind the defense, and he found me … twice. It’s a testament to where we can go with the ball. We don’t have to focus on one person because we have so many weapons.”

Parkland put on a show for the Homecoming crowd in the first half, rolling to a 33-0 lead, just two extra points shy of making it a mercy rule game to start the second half. The Trojans didn’t reach that threshold until 2:38 left in the third quarter.

“We came out in the second half and didn’t score,” Parkland coach Tim Moncman said in a quick critique. “I felt we got complacent and didn’t make plays. We’ve got to fix that. I thought we ran the ball OK, not great. I thought we threw the ball pretty good. Defensivel­y, we played lights out.”

With Becahi’s defense making a concerted effort to shut down Tremba, Spang broke through on a keeper for a 1-yard score on Parkland’ opening possession, and Aiden Gallagher’s kick made it 7-0 just 3:36 into the game.

Spang found Robbie Ruisch for a 33-yard gain on the first play of Parkland’s second possession to get the ball to the Becahi 29. Tremba carried five times for 21 yards, capped by a 2-yard score for a 14-0 lead with 4:23 left in the opening quarter.

About the only mistake the Trojans made the entire first half was a fumble by Spang after he pulled the ball back on a fake handoff and lost control of the ball.

Becahi recovered at its own 46, but the Trojans defense responded with another threeand-out stand.

The Trojans needed just 1:05 to go 80-yards – aided by an interferen­ce penalty – with Tremba crashing in from the 8. The PAT kick was blocked, and Parkland led 20-0 with 10:02 left in the opening half.

Johns proved to be Spang’s favorite target the rest of the half, hauling in scoring passes of 20 yards and 18 yards to make it 33-0 at the half. Tremba ended Becahi’s hopes for a first half score by intercepti­ng Vassa with seconds left in the opening half, and Parkland set to receive the opening kick of the second half.

Despite Becahi’s good defensive effort, Tremba gained 75 yards on 13 carries. Spang responded by completing 11-of-17 passes for 167 yards with Johns catching four balls for 77 yards and two TDs. Meanwhile, the stifling Parkland defense allowed just 25 yards rushing and 65 yards through the air.

The Trojans were stifling on defense, allowing just one first down in each of the first two quarters while forcing six three-andouts.

Spang turned it into a mercy rule game with 2:38 left in the third quarter with a 13-yard TD pass to Sanchez, and Parkland went with heavy substituti­ons for the rest of the night. Julius Reyes had a pair of fourth-quarter sacks.

Jeremy Fyrer’s 32-yard field goal with 2:58 left in the game ended the Golden Hawks’ scoreless streak at 12 quarters. They hadn’t put any points on the board since the third quarter of their Sept. 23 game.

“I just think that it’s good for our kids to not see a zero, and really good for our kicker to get out there in a real game and make a kick,” Ward said.

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