NAZARETH – The end of Friday’s game marked the last home game for the seniors. Many seniors stayed on the field a little bit longer to take it all on.
Leading the way in this win was a pair of seniors. Mason Kuehner helped lead the way catching 11 passes and making spectacular plays on both sides of the ball. Sean Kinney was a force on defense all night to help shut down Northampton’s offense. Along with the seniors was sophomore quarterback Peyton Falzone who threw for two touchdown passes and rushed for one to lead the Blue Eagles to a 21-7 win over Northampton Friday night in the District 11 6A semifinals at Andrew S. Leh Stadium.
“Northampton is a good team and they are big up front,” said Nazareth Head Coach Tom Falzone. “They gave us fits tonight. But I am proud we were able to endure this game and get through it. We are back to where we want to be.”
The Blue Eagles are right back where they want to be, a rematch with Parkland for the District 11 6A title. Parkland defeated Emmaus Friday night 21-14.
“That one night in Parkland was our only loss,” said Falzone. “We talked about it then and we said keep it in the back of your mind but don’t focus on that and these kids have done that the rest of the season. Now we are there and we can focus on it and get ready.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Nazareth’s offense started to click. In the drive, the Blue Eagles faced a fourth-and-five on Northampton’s 16. They got the first down as the first quarter ended. Falzone threw a perfect pass in the corner of the end zone to Kuehner who made a beautiful 16-yard touchdown catch. Nathan Baker kicked the extra point and made it 7-0 Blue Eagles with 11:55 left in the first half.
On Northampton’s next possession, they got a kickoff return by Tristen Pinnock to midfield. But the Blue Eagles’ defense stiffened and took over on downs at their 31. The Blue Eagles moved the ball down the field on their next series. The 15-play drive ended on a missed 20-yard field goal attempt by Baker with 6:08 remaining in the first half.
After a three-and-out by Northampton, the Blue Eagles were on the move again. Kuehner made a great move and got behind the defense for a 44-yard catch. Two plays later, Falzone pump-faked and hit Logan Hilarczyk in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown catch. The Blue Eagles doubled up their lead to 14-0 with 2:45 remaining in the first half.
Northampton moved the ball into Blue Eagles territory late in the first half. But it was the defense that got the job done. Kinney tackled running back Billy Stuhldreher for a one-yard loss on third down and Marquez Wimberly stopped Stuhldreher with no gain on fourth down. Nazareth took over with 41 seconds remaining in the first half on their 39. At halftime, the Blue Eagles led 14-0.
Nazareth’s defense forced a punt on Northampton’s first drive of the second half. The Blue Eagles’ offense took over on their 42 after the short punt by the K-Kids.
The Blue Eagles started the second half right where they left off with tough defense and an offense that moved the ball down the field. The drive ended up with a Falzone four-yard touchdown run to put the Blue Eagles up 21-0. Falzone finished the game with 257 yards passing two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
“He did well tonight, but there are some things we need to clean up and get better at,” said Coach Falzone. “I am proud of him for the way he stepped up tonight.”
Northampton got on the scoreboard late in the game. Quarterback Gavin Taff hit Pinnock on a crossing route for a 28-yard touchdown catch with 8:41 remaining in the game. Pinnock finished the night with six catches for 70 yards.
There was no more scoring in the game and the Blue Eagles moved on to play Parkland in the District 11 6A Finals.
Kuehner finished the night catching 11 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown. On defense, Kinney made several tackles and was a force all night. The Blue Eagles defense held the Northampton offense to 123 total yards.
“The defense did awesome tonight only giving up that one scoring drive,” said Falzone. “We knew they wanted to grind the ball and they did. It was a total team effort tonight.”
Northampton was without their star running back Caden Henritzy for most of the game due to an injury from last weekend.
Nazareth 21, Northampton 7
NAZ: Mason Kuehner 16-yard pass from Peyton Falzone (Nathan Baker kick good) 11:55
NAZ: Logan Hilarczyk 14-yard pass from Peyton Falzone (Nathan Baker kick good) 2:45
NAZ: Peyton Falzone 4-yard run (Nathan Baker kick good) 4:06
NO: Tristen Pinnock 28-yard pass from Gavin Taff (Aaron Gutkowski kick good) 8:41
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