Liberty falls to PHS
It has been a rough, last three weeks for the Liberty football team. Having to play three of the top-five teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in a row, against two of which were coming off losses the week prior and more motivated than ever.
After winning their first two games to open up the 2018 regular season, the Hurricanes (2-3 overall, 2-3 EPC) have dropped their last three games to Parkland, Easton and Bethlehem Catholic each of the last three weeks respectively.
Last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium, Liberty scored first and led 3-0 until the Trojans (3-2, 3-2) tied it with 0:06 left before halftime. Parkland then blanked the Hurricanes in the second half, and scored 16-straight in the second half, 19 unanswered overall in winning 19-3 and avoiding a three-game losing streak of their own.
“I’m really pleased with the way we played, considering the circumstances,” said head coach John Truby. “We played great defense, especially in the first half. We were on the field a little too much and got tired at the end.”
The circumstances Truby was talking about was the absence of starting quarterback Todd Erney. The three-year starter was hurt in their last game and will unfortunately miss some time this season.
“Todd broke his hand last week and he’ll be out for a while,” Truby said. “I thought Dallas [Holmes] played very well and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in the future.”
Holmes played well in Erney’s absence, and gave his team a chance to win. He finished 6-for-14 for 42 yards through the air, but his dual-threat ability to also run gave Parkland fits all night.
The Hurricanes could not get their offense going though as a whole.
Leading rusher Nasir Legree was held in check all night by the Trojans defense, limited to just 22 yards on 11 carries. The offense as a whole had less than 200 yards of total offense, and was held without a first down in the second half, managing six in the first.
After Sander Sahaydak’s 28-yard field goal with 7:29 to go in the second quarter, Liberty led 3-0 and had done enough to think that it could hold onto the lead.
But the Trojans tied the game with 0:06 left on a 31-yard field goal by Devin Bartholomew.
A Liberty defense, which allowed just 23 yards of total offense and one first down in the first half, had its hands full in the second.
Parkland amassed 218 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the second half, and also added a safety on defense for good measure.
Without their leading rusher in Joey Guida, the Trojans called upon senior Dominic Nelson to step up. Nelson rushed for 132 yards and a score in leading the offensive attack.
“They just came at us in the second half,” said Truby. “It looked like a completely different team.”
Liberty faces another tough challenge Friday night when it hosts undefeated Emmaus (5-0) at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.