South­ern Le­high runs past Notre Dame

Pa­tri­ots take care of busi­ness of­fen­sively late to seal win

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Stephen Miller

With the ball at its 43-yard line and a fourth down com­ing, Free­dom kept its of­fense on the field late in Fri­day’s fourth quar­ter.

The Pa­tri­ots used their size and strength to ex­tend their game-clinch­ing drive.

Jalen Ste­wart pushed for 2 yards when Free­dom needed 1 for a fresh set of downs against Park­land. Five more car­ries shared be­tween quar­ter­back Jared Jenk­ins, Ste­wart and Matt Russin al­lowed the Pa­tri­ots to en­ter vic­tory for­ma­tion, their 21-18 EPC South foot­ball win at Park­land School District Sta­dium se­cured.

Free­dom (3-0 over­all, 2-0 EPC South) burned the fi­nal 6 min­utes, 38 sec­onds off the clock af­ter Park­land (2-1, 1-1) scored 11 straight points to pull within a field goal. Ste­wart’s 2-yard run on fourth-and-one from the 43-yard line rep­re­sented a show of faith by Free­dom coach Ja­son Roeder.

“With Jalen Ste­wart in the back­field and my guys up front, I had no doubt we were go­ing to get that,” Jenk­ins said. “We need 1 yard and we have a 220-pound Divi­sion I back in our back­field, he’s go­ing to get that 1 yard any­time we need him to.”

Free­dom needed ev­ery yard it man­aged on its fi­nal pos­ses­sion to fin­ish off the Tro­jans. Park­land played with­out three in­jured se­nior cap­tains (Nick Dawkins, Luke Dauber­man and Dante Med­lar). It lost two more play­ers dur­ing Fri­day’s game, forcing kids with lim­ited reps onto the field.

The Tro­jans re­fused to fold, with Nick Johnston de­liv­er­ing sev­eral of their big­gest plays. He re­turned a punt 67 yards for a touch­down to give them a 7-0 sec­ondquar­ter lead. He added 62 yards on a jet sweep to set up a 23-yard Humza Imam field goal late in the third quar­ter and caught a 3-yard touch­down pass in the fourth quar­ter.

A two-point pass from Tan­ner Lewis to Jordan Lewis pulled Park­land with 21-18. It never touched the foot­ball again.

“I’m proud of the ef­fort,” Park­land coach Tim Mon­c­man said. “A loss is a loss; it hurts.

But we’re ask­ing guys to step up, and they did. We bat­tled for 48 min­utes. They’re a hell of a foot­ball team.

“Hope­fully we see them again some­time down the road.”

Jenk­ins turns on the jets

Free­dom built a 21-7 lead in part by turn­ing Jenk­ins loose on the ground. He led the Pa­tri­ots in car­ries (14) and rush­ing yards (76).

Jenk­ins had runs of 24, 20 and 11 yards. Some of his car­ries came via Free­dom’s game plan. Oth­ers were reads against Park­land’s de­fense.

“Park­land is just so good on de­fense, they’re just so sound, you’ve got to try to look for some kind of wrin­kle or some kind of ex­tra against them,” Roeder said. “Tonight it was Jared.”

Jenk­ins also en­joyed an ef­fi­cient night through the air. He com­pleted 17 of 22 passes for 179 yards and two touch­downs.

His first scor­ing pass went for 29 yards to fresh­man Owen John­sonMcCormi­ck. He added a 23-yard strike to Vince Reph (six catches, 73 yards) to give the Pa­tri­ots a 21-7 lead early in the third quar­ter.

Up next

Free­dom re­turns home Fri­day to face Nazareth (3-0 over­all, 2-0 EPC South), which ham­mered Cen­tral Catholic 49-7. Park­land heads to Beth­le­hem Area School District Sta­dium for a Satur­day matchup with Beth­le­hem Catholic (2-1, 1-1).

AMY SHORTELL/THE MORN­ING CALL

Free­dom’s Vin­cent Reph drives down the field against Parkalnd at Ore­field Mid­dle School on Fri­day night.

AMY SHORTELL/THE MORN­ING CALL

Jared Jenk­ins, with ball, and Free­dom held on for a 21-18 win over Park­land in Fri­day’s EPC South foot­ball showdown.

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