Hornets host Trojans in regular season finale
Like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the Parkland Trojans will field a quality football team. Their reputation is well-known and they are an established Lehigh Valley powerhouse. They consistently turn out well-disciplined, fundamentally sound football teams. They usually have great individual talent and are always well coached. They are a football machine.
But this year’s version of Troy is 6-3, and in last week’s game against Easton, the team was embarrassed. The Trojans were never in their Oct. 19 contest, as the Red Rovers jumped on them early and often, then put it on cruise control in a 41-14 shellacking. Parkland amassed just 214 yards in total offense and spent most of the evening shooting themselves in the foot, committing four turnovers and 104 yards in penalties.
None of that matters to Emmaus football coach Harold Fairclough, whose team is 8-1 and will host Parkland at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 at East Penn School District Stadium in the season’s final regular season game.
“I don’t care what their record is,” said Fairclough. “I don’t care about that (Easton) game. They are a great football team.”
The Emmaus-Parkland rivalry needs no introduction. The Battle for the Cedar Crest Cup brings out the best in both squads and each school’s fans.
“This community really gets fired up for this game, and that’s a good thing,” said Fairclough. “From our standpoint this week we have to focus on ourselves. It’s the same thing I say every week.”
The Parkland offense is led by quarterback Tanner Lewis, whose passing has improved as the season has progressed. He enjoyed his finest statistical game of the season Oct. 5 against Whitehall, when he completed 11 of 12 passes for 147 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Lewis is completing 66.7 percent of his tosses. He’s also a threat to run, averaging 6.1 yards per rush. Andrew Lee has also thrown 44 passes for Parkland this season.
The Trojan rushing attack has been effective, but not dominant. They were practically nonexistent against Easton, as the Red Rovers controlled the line of scrimmage. The Trojans managed 57 yards in 22 carries. Running back Dominic Nelson has gained 447 yards on 86 carries for an average rush of 5.2 yards and five touchdowns this year, and is arguably the team’s most consistent back. Angel Santos, Colton Peischl, Asher Reede and Ryan Zolotsky have all had touches throughout the season.
Parkland’s passing game features some quality receivers. Connor Bernecker has caught 29 passes and Christian Hudson has 25 receptions this season, giving Lewis options in the pocket. Chris Lessel and Luke Dauberman have also contributed.
The Trojan defense will almost certainly tested by Emmaus’ prolific offense. The Parkland defensive line has been anchored by Zac Fitzgerald and Adam Piston. along with Conner Bernecker and Nick Johnston in the secondary. They typically give up yards grudgingly and have a penchant for violence.
“They have one of the best defenses in the conference and they’re going to be ready,” Fairclough says.
In preparing for Parkland, the Emmaus coach said he will continue to preach the same message he has all year.
“The bottom line is we’re going to have to take care of the football and minimize mistakes,” he said.
Like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, you can count on a fierce Battle for the Cedar Crest Cup on Friday night.