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Freedom tops EHS

It wasn’t a historic passing night for Freedom and it wasn’t a mercy-rule victory, but it was enough to push the Patriots into the District 11 Class 6A semifinals following last week’s 42-21 win over Emmaus.

Instead of passing at will on the Hornets like Freedom did during their regular season encounter, the Pates (10-1) churned out 243 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns to eventually pull away from a feisty Emmaus (5-6) squad.

While the running game was working for Freedom last week, the Patriots needed a timely defensive play to provide a cushion from a mostly back-and-forth affair, when Jalen Stewart punched the game’s final score with a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown with 7:42 left in the third quarter to build the Pates three-score advantage.

“I think the pick-six gave us a three-score lead in the second half, that certainly helps,” said Freedom head coach Jason Roeder. “Jalen made plays on offense for us all night and then made a big defensive play. He’s been great for us all year.”

Stewart shined on the ground throughout the night, compiling 189 yards and two first half scores (one-yard and 57-yard TD runs), while his running mate, Matt Russin, added 50 yards and two rushing scores as well.

Emmaus actually grabbed the lead in the first quarter following a three-yard TD run by Brandon Camire (86-yards). The Patriots then proceeded to run 21-straight points, before Jake Moyer threw a 23-yard TD to Jameel Sanders to make it 21-14.

Freedom marched down field on the ensuing drive and punched it from a yard out with Stewart only to see Camire return the following kickoff 82-yards to make it 28-21 heading into the half.

With Emmaus on Freedom’s heels all night, Russin’s four-yard TD run in the third put the Patriots up two scores, before Stewart’s pick-six was the final gut punch.

“Seems like we see them [Emmaus] a lot every year and they always give us battles,” said Roeder. “They make you defend every part of the field and we’re happy to be moving on.”

The Hornets' Jaden Vazquez (65) and Dimitri Garcia (60) lead the way for ball carrier Chad Newhard during last week's district playoff game.PRESS PHOTO BY ROB MERCHANT Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA