Bethlehem Press

Friday, July 3, 2020
Press photo by Linda RothrockJalen Stewart’s touchdown gave the Patriots a late win over Becahi. Press photo by Linda RothrockJalen Stewart’s touchdown gave the Patriots a late win over Becahi.

Patriots steal a victory

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 by Peter Car in Sports

As with any encounter on the gridiron between Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic, fireworks are always on the agenda and last week’s city rivalry contest between both schools showcased that maybe the two best teams in the area reside in Bethlehem.

Jalen Stewart’s one-yard touchdown with seven seconds left in the fourth quarter gave Freedom a 24-21 lead for the comeback victory.

The Patriots stopped Becahi (1-1) on a 4th and 5 at the Freedom 17-yard line midway through the fourth quarter and then chewed up the rest of the quarter, driving 83-yards in 4:59 to steal the victory.

“I was happy to see our resiliency,” said Freedom head coach Jason Roeder. “This was the first we were tested this year and it was good to have our kids come out on top. There’s still a lot of room for improvement and I think we’re trying to figure out our identity, but this was a good win for sure.”

Stewart ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns on the night, while his counterpart at Becahi, Tavion Banks, had a stellar showing, carrying the 28 times for 169 yards and three scores. He will be the focal point of the offense this season and his legs are the primary reason Becahi has an opportunity to win most Friday nights.

While most people didn’t give the Hawks much of a chance to knock off the Pates, head coach Joe Henrich was confident heading into their EPC South opener.

“I think all of us on the staff and the players knew we had a good chance of winning and that’s not just coach speak,” Henrich said. “We believe we’re a really good team, but we made mistakes that cost us. We were right there with them [Freedom]. I’m not big on moral victories, but I think all of us feel good about we are.”

With a tasking week two behind both teams, they now move forward to another challenging week in the EPC South. Freedom travels to Parkland (2-0) Friday night, while Becahi faces another emotional contest against city rival Liberty (2-0).

“We always know Parkland is going to be a very good team,” Roeder said. “The schedule is what it is. Our kids understood that Friday’s celebration was going to be short lived with Parkland this week. We just need to make sure we have better execution this week.”