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Parkland edges Hornets, wins LVC

Nothing is better than beating a rival. Except beating a rival to win a championship.

The Parkland football team accomplished that feat last Friday night at Orefield Middle School stadium, edging Emmaus 37-30 on senior night. The win gave the Trojans and Whitehall each a share of the Lehigh Valley Conference, the second year in a row that has happened.

"This game meant a lot to me because ever since I was little and playing at North Parkland we were rivals with Emmaus," said Eli Redmond. "We just came together as brothers tonight and we got the win. It was a special one tonight being on senior night."

Parkland (9-1 overall, 8-1 LVC) was crowned league champions in a very similar way as last year, losing the LVC opener to Easton, and then running off eight straight wins.

"If you win this conference one year, you've got to celebrate," said head coach Jim Morgans. "But two years in a row is unbelievable. I'm super happy for them."

Much like digging out of an early hole to win the league, the Trojans found themselves in a hole early in the game.

Emmaus' Wyl Miller ran in from two yards out, and teammate Logan Kober punched in the two-point conversion to give the Hornets (6-4 overall, 6-3 LVC) a 15-14 lead just under two minutes into the second quarter.

Emmaus never gave Parkland any breathing room. Trailing coming out of halftime, the Hornets' Kyzir White blocked a punt, which was recovered in the end zone by Kyle Boney to put them back in front 23-20.

But Trojan quarterback Devante Cross and running backs Kareem Williams and Redmond did enough damage on offense to see their team to victory. Cross rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yarder that put Parkland in front for good. Williams tallied 91 rushing yards, and Redmond contributed two touchdowns.

Once again, the Trojan defense made some plays to secure a victory. Down 37-23 with under three minutes to play, Andrew Davidson broke free for 37 yards and a touchdown to cut the Trojans lead to seven.

The ensuing onside kick failed, but Emmaus had a chance to tie or take the lead with 1:24 to go. Parkland's defense, led by Naze Haddad, David Barber and Preston Saylor, rose to the occasion. The Green Hornets did not gain a single yard on four plays. Parkland took over on downs and got in victory formation to run out the clock.

Parkland's Nick Zambelli, who came away with an interception in the game, credited defensive coordinator Tim Monceman for dialing up the right schemes.

"Coach Monceman does a great job calling the plays and he just puts us in good positions to make plays," said Zambelli. "We have 11 guys that will go out there and make a play every single down."

It was the final regular season game the senior class will play on their home turf, but not the last one.

Cross was voted Parkland's offensive MVP, and Haddad the defensive MVP.

The Trojans will now host Stroudsburg in the Districts 2-4-11 Class AAAA quarterfinal on Friday night.