Hornets shut out K-Kids
Emmaus’ defense had its ups and downs over the first three weeks of the 2017 high school football season.
But last Friday against Northampton the Hornets posted their first shut out of the season. And it’s not a coincident that the shut out came just two games after nose guard Joe Barno was cleared to get back with the team after a preseason concussion kept him out of hte first three weeks of the season.
Barno and the Hornets held the Konkrete Kids to negative-34 rushing yards in a 35-0 win. The senior had one sack and two tackles for loss in the first game this season he played in front of a home crowd.
“I think we played very solid as a team and as a unit,” said Barno. “I feel like this is the best we’ve played all year and I’m very proud of my team.”
Emmaus allowed only five first downs while stuffing the run and allowing just three complete passes for 108 yards. Barno’s presence in the middle was a key to the team’s success.
“That’s huge for us,” said Emmaus head coach Harold Fairclough of the three-year starter. “We really missed him the first three games of the season. He makes a huge difference keeping our linebackers clean, taking up double teams. He commands two people to block him.”
The Hornets forced punts on Northampton’s first four possessions while scoring on four of their first five drives.
Sone Ntoh scored on a first-quarter 24-yard run and Noah Breidinger had a pair of one-yard runs in the first half to put Emmaus ahead 21-0. Quarterback Blake Reed found Carlton Lovett with a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the Hornets up 28-0 with 5:04 left in the first half.
Emmaus got the mercy rule clock running when Ntoh ran in for a 10-yard touchdown with 7:11 left in the third quarter.
“Coach told us before the game to limit the big plays and get some turnovers,” said Breidinger, who plays middle linebacker in the Hornets’ 3-4 defense.
Northampton came within five yards of breaking the shut out. The Kids had a first and goal from the Emmaus five-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Two incompletions, a Mekhi Flannigan tackle for no gain and Timothy Higgins’ tackle for a five-yard loss kept the zero on the scoreboard.
“That meant so much to our defense,” said Barno. “That was a big confidence booster.”
While Barno was on the sidelines for his team’s one-touchdown losses to Bethlehem Catholic and Whitehall, he felt joy and relief when he was cleared to get back on the field.
“As soon as I got cleared to play I was psyched,” he said. “I was so emotional in the doctor’s office.
“Those two losses were tough on me,” he said. “Seeing my team go through something like that without me made me a little upset.”
With one of it’s defensive leaders back on the field the Hornets have put together a two-game win streak heading into the second half of the season with several of the top teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference remaining on the schedule.
“We take it week by week,” said Breidinger. “We don’t really care who is up next. Whoever we’re playing, we’re going to play our hearts out.”