Turnovers, penalties hurt Liberty
The last two years, the Liberty football team has had success against Parkland. The Hurricanes have beaten the five-time defending District 11 champs both games during the last two regular seasons, and have had a boosted confidence that many other teams may not have when lining up with one of the state’s better teams.
But last Friday night was a different story.
With a playofflike feel and intensity from both teams during warmups, it was more error than good play when it came to Liberty’s play on the field.
Turnovers and penalties terrorized the Hurricanes (1-2 overall, 0-2 EPC South) as they fell to Parkland 24-7 in their Eastern Pennsylvania Conference home opener at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
Liberty turned the ball over four times, three of which led to points on the Trojans’ ensuing possessions. The Hurricanes also committed nine penalties, which killed off a lot of promising drives.
“That’s a heck of a team over there,” head coach John Truby said about Parkland. “You can’t make the little mental mistakes like we did. They’re well-coached. We knew they were well-coached. We’ve just got to do a better job of getting our kids ready.”
The Liberty defense held firm on their first series, forcing Parkland (3-0, 2-0) to a three-and-out. But on their ensuing offensive possession, the Hurricanes lost the first of two fumbles on the night.
The Trojans took full advantage, and they drove 54 yards on five plays, all by senior running back Jahan Worth that ended in his two-yard touchdown run. Worth led the game with 21 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He has seven scores on the year.
“We have to limit our errors,” Truby said. “You can’t give a team like Parkland extra chances and good field position like we did. [Jahan] Worth is a great back and he’s tough to bring down. He’s been doing it all season, but he had a great game tonight.”
Mason Malozzi gave Parkland a double-digit lead with an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put the score at 14-0.
Junior quarterback Todd Erney rushed for 75 of his team’s 116 yards on 11 carries. But the offense just couldn’t muster up any long-standing scoring drives.
They began the second half by driving to Parkland’s 7-yard line. But in the next four plays they managed just six yards and turned the ball over on downs.
Worth added his second touchdown from four-yards out. That was preceded by another Hurricane fumble inside their own 10-yard line.
Liberty’s touchdown occurred on a blocked punt with 26 seconds left to play.
Trevor Harris blocked the punt and recovered it in the end zone.
After two straight games against two of the top teams in the conference in Easton and Parkland, the Hurricanes find themselves squaring off against another unbeaten opponent when they travel to Whitehall Friday night.