North Penn Rolls Over Liberty

Friday night was supposed to be a hard fought game between the defending Pennsylvania Class AAAA State Champions Bethlehem Liberty and North Penn who were champions of their own district in 2008. There were varying opinions on who would be the victor, but I don't think anyone thought it would end up a blowout. took in the Bethlehem Liberty Hurricanes playing the North Penn Knights on Friday night in a game we had anticipated since the game was scheduled and unfortunately, the game didn't quite end up being the fierce battle we expected it to be.

Bethlehem Liberty started the game with the ball and had a strong drive that only lasted a bit over two minutes. Four-star quarterback Anthony Gonzalez came out with a few running plays and then threw a beautiful pass to hit Stanford commitment Jarrod West in stride for a 54-yard touchdown to put the ‘Canes up 7-0 early.

The Hurricanes defense held strong, received the punt and the offense marched right down field again to get to the two-yard line with a first down and at that point, things looked like they could get ugly quick. Liberty was called for a false start and then an illegal substitution on back to back plays putting them at North Penn's 12 yard line when disaster struck as a Liberty receiver threw a bad pitch on a double reverse that was recovered by the Knights. North Penn drove down field and put a field goal on the board with six seconds left in the first quarter.

Liberty couldn't move the ball after the ensuing kickoff and when West went to punt, he was tackled inside the five which led to a North Penn touchdown run and a 10-7 lead. The game was tied at 10-10 on a field goal by Liberty, but with 1:32 left in the first half the Knights took the lead again with their second rushing touchdown of the night, taking a 17-10 lead into halftime.

The third quarter is where things got ugly, so we'll make this brief. North Penn had their third and fourth rushing touchdowns in the third quarter, putting the score at 29-10 and the Liberty faithful started to head home slowly. Ninety seconds into the fourth quarter North Penn scored on a 25-yard tight end screen, making it 36-10 and the floodgates opened, emptying half of the crowd on the Liberty side.

Liberty took over, stalled and punted the ball to the North Penn one-yard line at that point and with over eight minutes left everyone awaited a long, methodical drive to end the game. On the first play from scrimmage running back Craig Needhammer took the ball 99 yards to seal it at 42-10. Needhammer finished with 219 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries by our count. Liberty took their starting offense off the field at the 8:16 mark.

Jarrod West ended up with one catch for a 54-yard touchdown in the game, the only ball thrown his way that we saw.

Anthony Gonzalez completed 6 of 11 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown and also carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards. will follow up with interviews from North Penn center J.D. Dzurko and Liberty receiver Jarrod West on Saturday. Gonzalez refused to be interviewed after the game.

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