Patriots can’t capitalize vs. PHS
If Freedom football coach Jason Roeder and his team were told before their game with Parkland that they would be trailing 3-0 at halftime, they would probably take that situation.
The Trojans came in to their matchup last Friday night at Parkland with an unblemished record and confidence, but 20 unanswered second half points gave Parkland (5-0 overall, 4-0 EPC South) a 23-point lead and they held on to beat the Patriots 23-7.
“We’ve got to convert and we’ve got to finish drives, especially against a team like this,” Roeder said. “When you get chances to score, you’ve got to score.
“There’s a lot of positives, but we didn’t come here to play OK or to play close for a half. There’s some things we’ve got to clean up moving forward.”
Freedom (3-2, 1-2) indeed had their chances to score early on as the rushing attack found its footing from the get go.
Abdul Beasley (18 carries, 125 yards) strung together a couple of long runs in the first couple of drives in the first quarter, but the Patriots couldn’t find the end zone.
Their defense pitched in by forcing three Parkland turnovers on their first three possessions. But once again, Freedom could not capitalize by putting points on the scoreboard.
In a defensive struggle of a first half, Brian Hanton, the Trojans kicker, was the lone provider for either team. His field goal as the whistle blew for halftime, was the only score, and gave Parkland a 3-0 lead heading into the locker rooms.
But at the start of the third quarter, the Trojans turned it up.
Senior wide receiver Juan Salas caught a touchdown pass from Michael Ruisch and then recorded a pick six within a minute of each other on Freedom’s ensuing drive.
Negative plays and penalties did not help the Patriots to move the ball, but the Parkland defense also had a say. They allowed just 215 total yards to Freedom, and contained electric wideout Alec Huertas (five catches, 85 yards) all night.
Beasley recorded the Patriots only points, tallying a three-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.
Freedom will look to get back into the win column Friday night when they host Emmaus (3-2, 1-2) at Bethlehem Area School District stadium.