EHS downs Easton, 30-20
The Hornets didn’t need a statement win. But they sure wanted one badly.
With two weeks remaining the in the regular season, the Emmaus football team put together it’s best overall game of this season and came away with a 30-20 win over Easton.
Emmaus played its best defensive performance of the year, while making plays on special teams and showing a balanced offense. The Hornets (6-3) also cut down on penalties and mistakes that have plagued them this season.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” said Emmaus head coach Harold Fairclough. “I’m sure when we go back and look at film we’ll find some things we can get better at, and that’s a good thing. We wanted to cut down on penalties and we had a couple, but not a big number of them.”
The Hornets have had as many as 13 penalties in a game this year. They had none in Friday night’s first half and just three for the game.
“We cleaned it up this week,” said Josh Artis, who blocked an Easton punt and recovered it for a touchdown. “Especially offensively it was definitely one of the cleaner games.”
Emmaus got a pair of first-quarter touchdowns when quarterback Blake Reed went 6-for-6 on the Hornets’ first two possessions, including touchdown passes to Izaiah McPherson (four receptions, 50 yards) and Carlton Lovett (one catch, 51 yards).
“Most people think we don’t have a passing game, we just run the ball,” said Artis, who had two receptions for 24 yards. “That proved to everyone that we’re a balanced team.”
Reed went 10-for-16 in the game for 145 yards and got the ball to five different receivers. Emmaus rushed for 165 yards in the game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays so it’s big for us,” said Fairclough. “When [Reed] sits in the pocket he can deliver some nice balls and we have guys that can make plays. It’s huge to keep us balanced and keep the defense honest.”
Easton got within one score when Scott Poulson his Jakob Herres for a second-quarter touchdown, but Anthony DeCresci made field goals from 33 and 24 yards put his team ahead 20-7 at halftime.
Artis’ blocked punt came on the first possession of the second half. It not only put the Hornets ahead 27-7, but also kept momentum with the home team.
“When we watched film the way the punter is up so close,” said Artis. “We designed it so Noah Breidinger would take out the wing and I would loop around him. There was a huge gap there.”
Poulson found Eddie Olden for a 13-yard touchdown to cut into the lead just make it 27-13 with 6:19 left in the third quarter.
Another DeCresci field goal, this one from 35 yards, made it 30-13 before Poulson threw his third touchdown pass of the game and second to Herres to make it 30-20 with eight minutes remaining.
But the Emmaus defense came up with what could be its biggest stop of the season on the Rovers’ next possession. And the Hornet offense got a couple first downs to eat up the final 3:40 of the game clock.
While the Rovers piled up 349 yards in the game, they converted just four of 12 third downs and only made it on one of four tries on fourth down.
The Rovers (6-3) had just eight possessions in the game and Emmaus forced three turnovers on downs and two punts.
“Defensively, we gave up a play here or there,” said Fairclough. “I’ll take that effort to shut down the run. They’ve got some good guys on offense. Defensively that was one of the better games we played all year. I’m proud of those guys.”
Emmaus’ defensive linemen Joey Barno (four tackles) and Grant Ritter (3.5 tackles) and linebacker Ben Maehrer (3.5 tackles) led the way up front, while defensive backs Nick Roselli (4.5 tackles) and Deonte Castro (4 tackles) also helped shut down the Red Rovers.
The Rovers came into the game ranked second in the District 11 Class 6A rankings, which makes them the best team the Hornets have beaten all season.
“It’s a huge win,” said Artis. “No one expected us to win this game. We came out and played hard and came out with the win.”