Zephs fall to Hurricanes
It was the last home football game for twenty Whitehall seniors, and while they lost to Liberty, they still played every down as if a championship was on the line.
No one embodies that spirit more than senior Joe Herman. Herman had four receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He also showed that never-say-die attitude on defense as he chased down a Liberty back from the opposite side of the field to prevent a touchdown late in the second half.
While it wasn’t the senior campaign he had hoped for heading into the season, Herman understands that they’re laying the groundwork for those players who follow, and he’s determined to help them experience as much success as possible.
“What I would like to see is a bright future for our underclassmen,” said Herman.
The starting unit on both sides of that ball is dotted with underclassmen, and Herman said that ability to play with the juniors and sophomores will pay dividends down the line. He said that they have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year. They’ve also been supportive of the seniors this season, and he wants to return that support by playing as hard as he can for the full 48 minutes.
Allen Negrete got the Zephyrs on the board in the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown reception from Anthony Nanaoh. They answered the ‘Canes opening TD drive, as Herman and Chad Hussett also put their stamp on the series with Herman hauling in a 31-yard pass from Jacob Heffner, and Hussett bolting for 15 yards, setting up the Negrete touchdown. With the extra point, the Zephyrs briefly took a 7-6, lead, but Liberty reeled off three consecutive scores before Herman ended that string with a 32-yard TD.
Liberty’s ability to chew up yardage on the ground, finishing the game with 364 yards rushing, paved the way for their 41-21 win over the Zephyrs. They will now look to end their season on a positive note as they travel to Northampton for the final game of the year.
Herman’s first touchdown came on a play where he leapt to make the catch, demonstrating his ability to go above the defense to make a play.
“The first one I was surprised I even caught it,” said Herman. “The defender missed the tackle and I scored, which was great.”
His catch and run cut the ‘Canes lead to 27-14 with 4:31 left in the third quarter, but Liberty answered that score with a Jaiden Canada three-yard TD run to push them back up by 19 points.
Herman said that his second touchdown was a nod from the coaching staff who wanted him to go out on a good note. That 87-yard TD pass was thrown by Theodore Williamson who finished the game for the Zephs. Their faith in Herman proved to be warranted as he raced down the near sideline and into the end zone for Whitehall’s final touchdown on their home field for the 2018 season.
“It was a vertical [route], and it was a perfectly thrown ball by our sophomore quarterback who gives us a bright future ahead of him.”
Herman would like nothing better to end their season with a win against the Konkrete Kids.
“I’ve got one more left here in my senior season, and I want to give it everything I got,” said Herman. “I would love to go out with a W. I don’t care how we get it, I don’t care if I catch any balls, I just want to see a W so I can end my senior season happy.”
Hussett finished the game with 87 yards on 14 carries, while fellow senior Heffner led the team in tackles with eight.
Those seniors who played their last home game included, Jacob Zeiner, Liam Sullivan, Kyle Saylor, Justin Santiago, Nikolas Peacock, Nahum Molina, Mekhi Lee, Ian Kulp, Alex Khouri, Anthony Johnson, Hussett, Ben Hudak, Herman, Jaden Henninger, Heffner, Brandon Gawrys, Robert Furlong, Marino Collazo, Aziz Atiyeh and Carlos Arroyo-Jimenez.