The District XI 6A football championship game between the Freedom Patriots and the Emmaus Green Hornets appeared to be a matchup of equals.
The two teams had been declared EPC South co-champions after posting identical 9-1 regular season records. Freedom had won the regular season game between the squads 32-31 in overtime after making up a 15-point deficit in the last 1:11 of regulation.
When the final horn sounded on Saturday night in Nazareth and the scoreboard showed a score of 49-17, the Patriots left no doubt as to who was the best football team in the Lehigh Valley.
As head coach Jason Roeder clutched the trophy representing the first District XI football championship in Freedom’s history, he reflected on the win.
“We crossed the finish line tonight. We had to cross the finish line for a lot of guys who came close,” he said. “And we crossed the finish line for a lot of guys who didn’t come close, but who still played their hearts out for Freedom football year-in and year-out.”
The Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks advanced to the District XI 4A semifinals with a 45-13 victory over Blue Mountain on Saturday.
The Hawks entered the game as the #1 seed following a 7-3 campaign in the EPC. Blue Mountain qualified for the last spot in the District XI 4A playoffs despite a 3-7 regular season record and going 0-6 in the Schuylkill League.
Becahi started the scoring on their first drive of the game, traveling 61 yards on 7 running plays. Zaheer Seabrooks got the final touch, taking the ball to the end zone from 12 yards out.
The first quarter of the regular season finale between Freedom and Liberty went as expected in the matchup between the undefeated Patriots and the 4-5 Hurricanes. Liberty’s opening drive resulted in a quick three-and-out and the ensuing punt into the gusting wind set Freedom up at its own 45. It took a little over two minutes and six plays for the Pates’ offense to put up the first score of the game, a 9-yard run by Matthew Russin.
A full moon rose over the East stands at BASD stadium on a chilly Wednesday night as the curtain descended on the Liberty Hurricanes’ field hockey season after a 4-2 loss to Stroudsburg in the opening round of the District XI playoffs in the battle between the 4th and 5th seeds.
The ‘Canes were looking for their third victory of the season over the Mounties after having defeated them 1-0 during the regular season and 2-0 in the first round of the EPC tournament.
The Liberty Hurricanes’ attempt to put a damper on Nazareth’s homecoming ended in a 26-13 defeat Friday night at Andrew S. Leh stadium. The loss extended the ‘Canes losing streak to five games and left them at 2-5 on the season.
The most indelible image from a game with so many dramatic moments was the one of head coach John Truby with his arm around the shoulder of QB Todd Erney in private conversation following the Liberty Hurricanes’ postgame huddle.
When Truby returned to meet with reporters he said, “I thought Todd Erney played a great game.”
Easton entered the game undefeated but untested, as their three previous opponents had combined to post a 0-9 cumulative record. Liberty was 2-1, coming off a loss to Bethlehem Catholic.
“We got off to a fast start,” commented head coach Jason Roeder following the Freedom Patriots’ 68-14 season opening victory over the East Stroudsburg North Timberwolves at BASD Stadium Friday night.
Showing a veteran coach’s gift for understatement, Roeder’s team started the game by holding ESN to a three-and-out following the opening kickoff. The next four plays from scrimmage were: a blocked punt recovered by Freedom at the 12, a 12-yard TD run by Sebastian Gibbs, an interception returned to the ESN 11, and an 11-yard TD pass from Jared Jenkins to Vincent Reph.