■ Easton running back Adams romps to 4 TDs in blowout.
Running back racks up 241 rushing yards, 4 TDs
EASTON 44, LIBERTY 7
Easton entered Friday night’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference contest against Liberty with three wins over three winless teams.
Nahjee Adams, the Red Rovers’ star running back, said Easton was anxious to play a quality opponent.
“Actually, all week we were reminding each other this game would shape us for the rest of the season,” Adams said. “It was a good test because Liberty is a good team.”
If the game was indeed a test, Easton aced it.
Adams rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns as the unbeaten Red Rovers routed
Liberty 44-7 on a perfect night for football at Cottingham Stadium.
After the Hurricanes tied the score at 7 midway through the opening quarter, coach Jeff Braido’s Easton squad rolled up 37 straight points over the final three quarters to improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in EPC South Division action.
Liberty, which went toe-to-toe with Bethlehem Catholic in a 27-22 loss last week, fell to 2-2 and 0-2.
“You can only play who’s on your schedule,” Braido said. “We played three teams [Pocono Mountain West, Whitehall and Dieruff] that hadn’t won a game all season. And I told our kids we haven’t proven anything to anyone. This was our first true test tonight.
“I talked to them about playing all 48 minutes of the football game, which we hadn’t done during the first three games. I think they did a pretty darn good job tonight.”
Amazing Adams: A 5-foot-10, 185pound junior, Adams has amassed 927 yards and 12 touchdowns through Easton’s first four games. He averages an astounding 10.9 yards per carry.
It was apparent from the Red Rovers’ opening possession — an 80-yard, 10-play touchdown drive — that Adams was in for another huge night. He carried 21 times for 146 yards and three TDs in the first half.
“My offensive line did a really good job of blocking on the first drive,” said Adams, who was voted a team captain. “When we punched it in, I had a really great feeling we were going to play 48 minutes of football and we did that extremely well.”
“Nahjee’s been great,” Braido said. “He’s humble, he’s very well spoken. And he’s a tremendous leader on and off the field. Obviously, he’s a great weapon to have.”
Adams’ touchdowns came on runs of 11, 1, 5 and 78 yards.
His 78-yarder with 4:12 left in the third quarter made the score 44-7 and set into effect the running-clock mercy rule.
Adams, smartly, mentioned Easton’s O-line of tackles Patrick Shupp and Josh Arias, guards Derek Frinzi and RJ Gisler, center Gio Raso and tight end Dominic Falcone several times in his postgame interview.
“To run for that many yards, it’s all about will,” he said, “and my offensive line and the coaches.”
Stellar second: Easton dominated Liberty 24-0 in the decisive second period, turning two special-teams miscues by the Hurricanes and one turnover into points.
Adams started the Red Rovers’ scoring spree with a 1-yard touchdown plunge early in the quarter.
Then, after Jack Rothenhausler couldn’t scoop up a low snap and Easton tackled the Liberty punter at the Hurricanes’ 19, Red Rovers kicker Jaxon Heinemeyer converted a 31-yard field goal. Liberty then fumbled on its next possession and Easton quickly cashed in as Adams scored from 5 yards out.
Easton’s final touchdown of the first half came after Dominick Apgar blocked a punt. Rovers quarterback Cole Transue scored on the next play, a 4-yard run.
“I think all three phases [offense, defense and special teams] did an outstanding job tonight,” Braido said. “With the competition in our conference, you’ve got to be on in all three phases every week. So hopefully, we can continue with that into next week.”
Canes chatter: Liberty coach John Truby was frustrated with his team’s performance after a solid effort last week.
Senior quarterback Dallas Holmes scored the Hurricanes’ only touchdown, a 48-yard sprint on a designed run. Liberty, though, managed only 34 yards rushing and 72 passing.
“The second quarter, it got away from us,” Truby said. “We didn’t help ourselves in a lot of spots.
“But they came out and they just physically beat us. We definitely did not handle their physicality like we did against Bethlehem Catholic last week. Really, I’m just disappointed we didn’t show up and play better, but give the credit to Easton. They came out and just flat steamrolled us.”
To the future: The Hurricanes and Red Rovers both are back in action on Friday, Sept. 20.
Liberty plays Parkland (2-1, 1-1) at BASD Stadium while Easton welcomes Emmaus (3-1, 1-1) to Cottingham Stadium. Both EPC South contests are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.