Hornets fall to PHS in season finale
On a night in which its offense was nearly extinct, the Emmaus football team was defeated last Friday night by the Parkland Trojans 24-3 (8-2) in each school’s regular season finale at Parkland School District Stadium.
Too many mistakes and too much Parkland defense made this installment of the “Battle for Cedar Crest” a miserable one for Emmaus. The Green Hornets (5-5) were held to their lowest scoring output of the season. In 53 plays, Emmaus managed just 128 yards and eight first downs and converted only four of 14 third-down plays.
“Nothing we didn’t see before,” said Emmaus head coach Harold Fairclough of Parkland’s defense. “They just played well. They’re healthy. Their front seven really played well. We made a few mistakes up front, made a few mistakes blocking on the edge.”
The Trojan defense not only slowed down, but practically shut down Emmaus running back Brandon Camire. Entering the game with four 200-yard games and leading the District 11 with 1,494 yards rushing, the star running back was not a factor. With the exception of one 19-yard gain, Camire was neutralized, carrying 17 times for 37 yards.
With the rushing attack stuck in neutral, the passing attack acquired an increased burden. Quarterback Jake Fotta, starting his first game, did a respectable job, going 10-for-18 for 109 yards. His longest pitch went to wideout Jameel Sanders for 32 yards, who also led the Green Hornet receivers with four receptions.
Sanders was involved in what was the game’s turning point.
Down 14-0 in the second period, Sanders picked off a Parkland quarterback Ty Tremba pass and looked like he would return it to the house. But the elusive Sanders was tackled by his shoestrings. The Emmaus offense couldn’t cash in and settled for a 27-yard Alex Orlando field goal on the last play of the first half to cut the Trojan lead to 14-3.
The Parkland offense was a different story. Tremba was running a balanced attack, and his running game gobbled up more than 200 yards. Isiah Rico was nimble and quick and never got burned at the candlestick. The talented Trojan offensive line did occupied their defensive line counterparts and the Emmaus linebackers were not able to plug the holes with regularity. Rico was used like a blunt instrument, consistently gaining modest yardage until his final tally read 23 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown.
“If you don’t tackle well you’re going to be in trouble,” said Fairclough. “But credit to him, he runs the ball hard. We just missed some tackles that helped him out. It’s stuff we can certainly correct.”
Tremba was cool as a cucumber, hitting seven of 11 passes for 119 yards and two touchdown passes and one interception. He also gained 31 yards on seven carries to keep the Green Hornet defense honest.
Reece Wieder led the Emmaus defense with six solo tackles. Chad Newhard had four solos and three assists.
Following the game each year, game MVPs are awarded for both teams on each side of the ball. Emmaus had Camire and Adam Heiserman earn the hardware on offense and defense respectively in the “Battle for Cedar Crest.”
The Green Hornets will have an opportunity to avenge an earlier loss this season to Freedom when they meet the Patriots in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class 6A playoffs, at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“I told them this one, in my mind, is over and done with,” Fairclough said. “We have to put together a good game plan for next week. We did enough during the regular season to earn another week, which is great because the kids worked hard all season. But now the goal is to keep playing. One loss and you’re done. We have to prepare, we have to execute, and we have to earn another week.”