Parkland next for WHS
It’s not the season that both Whitehall and Parkland envisioned heading into the 2018 football season, but records never matter when these two rivals meet, and that’ll be true this Friday when they clash in Orefield.
Parkland and Whitehall are usually accustomed to being part of the mix of contenders vying for an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title, but this season has both teams on the outside of that title talk. Parkland won the EPC South Championship last year, but their two losses this season virtually puts them out of contention since both Freedom and Emmaus have yet to suffer losses. Meanwhile, Whitehall’s lone victory heading into the game came against Allentown Central Catholic in week four.
But toss all that out.
Whitehall and Parkland will play as if they’re both looking to win an EPC Championship. It’s a game that could very well define the way the rest of the season plays out for both teams.
Parkland comes into the game with a little momentum, having defeated Liberty and Nazareth the last two weeks. In their 10-point win over the Blue Eagles, Trojan quarterback Tanner Lewis threw for 129 yards, including two touchdowns, and also rushed for 67 yards.
Whitehall is coming into the game after losing to Bethlehem Catholic, another game in which they couldn’t get things rolling offensively in the second half.
Head coach Justin Kondikoff said that Parkland is really stout up front on both their offensive and defensive lines. He said that Parkland remains a team that’s more rushing oriented, but Parkland is more than capable of beating an opponent through the air. Leading that running attack for the Trojans is senior Joey Guida who is averaging a little over 9 yards a carry this season. He comes into the game with 435 yards rushing.
Parkland is still an explosive team. Despite their two losses, they’ve still put up 193 points through six games.
Kondikoff said that it’s imperative that they tackle better than have in some of their losses. They need to get off their blocks quickly, find the football, and make a play.
“The biggest thing on defense is to focus on our keys,” said Kondikoff.
He said this week’s preparation for the annual grudge match is where it all starts.
“We need to be motivated at practice,” said Kondikoff.
He also doesn’t want to overload them.
“We have to keep it simple, fine the good matchups and exploit those good matchups,” Kondikoff said.
One of those matchups they’ll rely on is getting receiver Allen Negrete in space. He had two touchdowns of over 50 yards last week, and now has 413 receiving yards on the season. Both he and fellow wideout Joe Herman (245 receiving yards) have caught four touchdowns this year.
Quarterback Anthony Nanoah is coming off his best game through the air, throwing for 160 yards and two TDs. He now has 781 passing yards this season. He also leads the team in rushing with 301 yards.
Chad Hussett and Ali Barkley can also break big plays on the ground. Hussett has 270 yards on the ground, while Barkley has rushed for 215.
Kondikoff also said that it’s no secret that they have to put a whole game together. He said that they can’t afford to falter in the second half. That means that the Zephyrs will need all phases clicking to defeat the Trojans. Kondikoff knows that they have the ability to hand a third loss on the Trojans, but they need to tackle and keep Parkland from moving the chains.
“If we focus on our keys, and we do that, we’ll be in the game,” said Kondikoff.