EHS hosts Pates in football playoff opener
For the second consecutive year, the Emmaus and Freedom football teams will meet in the District 11 Class 6A tournament.
Last season they met in the district semifinals, this year it will be a round earlier as the Patriots (5-5 overall) travel to East Penn School District Stadium Friday night to take on the Hornets (6-4) in the quarterfinal round.
The teams also met in on the last Friday in September this season with Freedom coming out on top 24-17.
“It’s a new season, the past two games [against Freedom] don’t matter,” said Emmaus head coach Harold Fairclough. “We need to be physical, eliminate the penalties, and play like our hair is on fire for 48 minutes. They are a good football program and we will be in for a big test”
During the regular season matchup, Emmaus was without starting running back Lubens Myers due to injury. Having Myers back and healthy will be a big component this time around.
Freedom is coming in off a loss to Liberty. But Fairclough doesn’t think the loss affects the way they are playing.
“They are physical up front on both sides of the ball,” Fairclough said. “They have explosive players at the skill position. Defensively, they bring pressure from all over the place. They are fast and physical and will be tough to deal with.”
Running back Abdul Beasley has 809 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Quarterback Jared Jenkins has thrown for 2,128 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wide receiver Alec Huertas caught 52 balls for 802 yards and five touchdowns.
The Patriots offense is averaging 25 points per game, and they have given up 20.5 points per game defensively.
Emmaus enters on the heels of a 42-7 defeat at Parkland last weekend, its biggest deficit of the season. The loss ended a three-game win streak.
“That’s over and done with. It’s a brand new season,” said Fairclough. “We have to play like we want to extend our season. We need to do everything with a sense of urgency: lift, watch film, practice, etc.”
The Hornets are averaging 35.3 ppg and giving up 24.3 ppg.
Junior Sone Ntoh has rushed for 1,058 yards and 14 touchdowns. Senior Blake Reed threw for 1,430 yards and 19 touchdowns. Leading receiver Deonte Castro has 24 catches for 467 receiving yards and six scores.
The winner earns a trip to the district semifinals against the winner of No. 2 seed Stroudsburg and No. 7 seed Pocono Mountain West next Friday night.