Zephs look to clean up D
Whitehall got a good preview of what its offensive potential could be in its 41-28 loss to East Stroudsburg South in its opener last week.
Senior Ali Barkley played his role as the team’s presumed workhorse with 127 yards on 23 carries and two rushing touchdowns, catching another TD for a trio.
But the Zephyrs will need to tighten the reins on defense, a problem area that plagued them last season. East Stroudsburg South’s Christian Arrington ran for 209 yards and scored three times on the ground.
The Zephyrs won’t have a lot of room for error either in the run-happy East Penn Conference as they will travel to meet Easton Friday night, a 40-21 winner over Pocono Mountain East in its opener.
Easton running back Nahjee Adams ran for 239 yards and scored three touchdowns.
“We certainly will have our work cut out for us,” said Zephyrs’ head coach Matt Senneca. “They have a very good running back who also plays well on defense. Their running backs run very hard and that is typical Easton football.
“They have some very good and active linebackers and their secondary also is very good. We know they will come at us hard.”
Senneca expects to see some new possible wrinkles from the traditional Easton game plan. Quarterback Cole Transue had a solid day with his 20-for-24, 216-yard, two touchdown performance, and Chase Holmes had six catches for 129 yards with a touchdown.
“Over the past year, they have shown a two-spread set,” added Senneca. “They can throw the football and have improved.”
Senneca sees Barkley having another busy night and again being a positive for the Zephyrs.
“Barkley will get his work,” said Senneca. “We had a lot of positives out there, but we had a lot of mental mistakes. Everyone performed like we thought they would.”
After Easton, the Zephyrs have a challenging stretch ahead with Emmaus, Freedom, and Parkland on the horizon.
Yet, Senneca plans to take a realistic approach.
“Every week will be a challenge for us,” said Senneca. “There is no week off. We’re pretty healthy and we’ll take it one game at a time.
“This week will be a heckava football game.”
PREDICTION: Follow Senneca’s lead – this should be a heckava football game. It has the makings of another shootout for the Zephyrs in line with their opening game, but it should be closer. The key will be Whitehall being able to stop Easton’s high-powered offense. Easton opened up the game late last week, and this will be another tight one.
The Zephyrs must prove they can stop someone. Cottingham is a tough place to play for a visiting team. It really could go either way, but … EASTON 41-35.