Bat­tle in trenches

The first Beth­le­hem ri­valry matchup of the 2019 sea­son could come down to play by the young lines

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Stephen Miller

Jared Jenk­ins played in a Dis­trict 11 fi­nal as a sopho­more. He won a share of the EPC South ti­tle and a Dis­trict 11 Class 6A cham­pi­onship as a ju­nior. Jenk­ins still has a hole in his foot­ball re­sume — a Beth­le­hem city cham­pi­onship. He can take the first step to­ward fill­ing that void Fri­day when Free­dom (1-0 over­all) hosts Beth­le­hem Catholic (1-0) in the EPC South’s mar­quee Week 2 matchup.

Jenk­ins, a senior quar­ter­back, and the Pa­tri­ots have had the chance to win a city ti­tle each of the past two sea­sons. Both years they beat Beth­le­hem Catholic only to lose to Lib­erty in their reg­u­larsea­son fi­nale.

Jenk­ins’ fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son matchup with Lib­erty — the Pa­tri­ots and Hur­ri­canes play Oct. 26 — won’t come with a city-cham­pi­onship opportunit­y un­less he leads Free­dom to another win over the Golden Hawks. The Pa­tri­ots won a 38-35 shootout in 2017 be­fore rolling to a 37-20

win last sea­son.

“A ri­valry game is al­ways go­ing to be tough,” Jenk­ins said. “But we re­ally want this, and I think we are go­ing to go out and get the ‘W’ this week.”

Jenk­ins’ con­fi­dence grew last week after his re­built of­fen­sive line played well in its sea­son de­but. Free­dom ran just 22 of­fen­sive plays with its first-team of­fense against East Strouds­burg North. The start­ing Pa­tri­ots earned an early rest by rolling to a 58-0 win.

Sopho­more Braelin Moore, ju­nior Mar­cus Krei­dler and sopho­more Juan Fel­i­cano are first-year starters up front. They teamed with re­turn­ing starters Kaden Moore and Ja­cob Sch­wind to give Jenk­ins enough time to com­plete seven of eight passes for 194 yards and four touch­downs in his short stint.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited about that group up front,” Free­dom coach Ja­son Roeder said. “They move well. They’re re­ally ath­letic kids, and they all put the time in in the weight room. We un­der­stand it’s a work in progress, but we’re re­ally happy with what we think we could have there.”

Like Free­dom, the Golden Hawks per­formed well up front in Week 1. Beth­le­hem Catholic’s O-line cleared space for Tavion Banks and Ma­lik Thomas to com­bine for 204 yards and six touch­downs on just 13 car­ries in a 48-7 win over Dieruff.

Beth­le­hem Catholic hopes to have its full of­fen­sive line in­tact this week. Golden Hawks coach Joe Hen­rich said sopho­more Justin Kanyuk should play Fri­day after miss­ing the Dieruff game.

Last week gave Free­dom and Beth­le­hem Catholic’s new line­men the taste of start­ing in a var­sity game. Roeder and Hen­rich are ea­ger to see how those play­ers per­form in a spot­light matchup.

“That’s what does make it in­trigu­ing and

al­ways makes th­ese games fun,” Hen­rich said. “I do know this — [the Pa­tri­ots are] go­ing to be a phys­i­cal group re­gard­less of who they’ve got in there. That’s the way that they’re coached, and it’s al­ways been that way in our games.”

Bully ball

The Cen­tral Catholic and Park­land coach­ing staffs fea­ture ties aplenty.

Cen­tral Catholic as­sis­tant Jim Mor­gans won big as the head coach at both schools. Cen­tral Catholic of­fen­sive line coach Paul Ha­gadus, Park­land of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Chris Ki­nane and Cen­tral Catholic coach Tim McGorry also have spent time with both pro­grams.

While McGorry liked the way Cen­tral Catholic played on the de­fen­sive line in Satur­day’s 21-7 win over Strouds­burg, he and his staff know Park­land will bring a stiffer chal­lenge.

“We’ve been in the weight room since I got there in Fe­bru­ary,” McGorry said. “Park­land’s been in the weight room for years. You can see the difference right there. Their phys­i­cal­ity — they’re strong, and they bully you around.”

Cen­tral Catholic’s big­gest chal­lenge will be han­dling Park­land’s front seven on de­fense. The Vik­ings com­mit­ted nu­mer­ous men­tal er­rors on the of­fen­sive line against Strouds­burg, hin­der­ing their pro­duc­tion. They can­not af­ford a re­peat to stay with the Tro­jans.

“We’re go­ing to have to play a re­ally clean game, and have to step it up from a phys­i­cal­ity stand­point,” McGorry said. “That’s just the na­ture of play­ing Park­land.”

Scour­ing the South

■ Em­maus will be with­out in­jured left tackle Justin Ro­man for a few weeks. James San­tichen started at left tackle against Allen and will stay there Fri­day against Nazareth.

“He’s do­ing a very nice job so far,” Em­maus coach Harold Fair­clough said.

■ Beth­le­hem Catholic moved from No. 4 to No. 3 in Class 4A in this week’s Pen­nlive state rankings. Free­dom stayed at No. 6 in Class 6A.

APRIL BARTHOLOME­W/THE MORN­ING CALL

Free­dom’s Kaden Moore is one of the few ex­pe­ri­enced line­men who will take the field Fri­day when the Pa­tri­ots face Beth­le­hem Catholic.

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