City title on the line Freedom
Liberty and Freedom find themselves in similar positions to their 2018 affair when both teams meet up this Saturday at 1 p.m. at BASD Stadium.
The Hurricanes (3-6) need a win and some help to sneak into the District 11 postseason, while Freedom (8-1) is aiming for the city title and the top-seed in districts.
A year ago, Liberty needed to win to clinch a district berth and used a run of five straight second half turnovers by the Patriots to score a 29-10 upset victory that ruined Freedom’s shot at their first undefeated regular season in school history.
This weekend, Freedom head coach Jason Roeder understands what’s at stake in a game of this magnitude and knows his players won’t forget their experience from a year ago.
“It’s awesome to be apart of this game,” said Roeder. “We always remind our kids how fortunate they are to play in a game like this. This week in the lead up to the game and the game itself never gets old, but our guys also understand they have a job to do Saturday afternoon. I’m sure they remember how things played out last year.”
The Pates held off Central Catholic 34-31 last weekend, thanks in part to the Vikings missing a 33-yard, game-tying field goal attempt with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
It was the fifth straight win for the Pates, who hope to lock up the top spot in next week’s district tournament with a win on Saturday.
After grabbing a 34-17 halftime lead over Central, the Pates were held scoreless in the second half and nearly saw the game slip through their hands.
“There’s such a fine line between winning and losing in the EPC South,” said Roeder. “We didn’t tackle well in the second half and our pursuit wasn’t good. The offensive line wasn’t moving people. There’s no magic button on what we have to do better. It’s a lot of things.”
Liberty head coach John Truby understands that as well, as he hopes it’s not too late for his team to make a valiant push toward a district berth, following their 52-27 victory over a winless Whitehall squad last week. It was their highest scoring outcome of the season for Liberty, outside of putting up 70 points in Week 1 win against Pleasant Valley.
“The offense has been slow to get going this season,” said Truby. “We have struggled the previous three weeks to be consistent and at times were physically overwhelmed. Last week was a good boost in confidence. We need the offensive line to play well again if we are going to have a chance against a very good Freedom team.”
With the Hurricanes needing Pocono Mountain East (4-5) to knock off Pocono Mountain West (4-5), which holds the eighth and final spot in the 6A bracket, as well as a win over Freedom to clinch a district berth, Truby knows it’s a tall task for his group, but last year’s evidence proves that anything can happen.
“Our team is so different from last year’s group,” Truby said. “We are so young that the only lesson that I am preaching this week is to just play football. The team that handles the emotions and plays mistake-free football is going to set themselves up for a win.”