Rams Roll McDevitt, 17-7
September 10- The powerful and motivated front lines of the Central Dauphin Rams were the story of tonight's game at Landis Field, won by CD, 17-7. The senior-dominated units kept the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders from moving on offense, and the Crusaders were constantly unsuccessful in trying to stop the Rams from dominating ball possession. Sophomore running back Zayd Issah led the CD rushing attack by carrying for 174 yards on 31 carries, and sophomore quarterback Brandon LaVia made the most of his 5 completions to add 96 yards. McDevitt was led by senior qb Matt Johnson, who managed to avoid the fierce CD pass rush enough times keep the game close. On defense senior linebacker Sean Barowski, junior end Noah Spence and junior linebacker Brock Dean made most of the tackles.
McDevitt kicked off to open the game and CD's first possession was a preview of things to come. The Rams moved 43 yards on 11 plays, relying mostly on tough inside running by Issah, before turning the ball over on downs at the McD 33. The Crusaders kept the chains moving when Johnson hooked up with junior Khalid Carter on a third down pass that was good for 7 yards, to the McD 45. The drive stalled when Johnson couldn't find an open receiver 3 plays later, so senior Ted Deily punted a beauty that was fair caught at the CD 8. The Rams were held to a three-and-out and followed with a 25 yard punt, so McDevitt had great field position at the CD 38. Senior running back Jameel Poteat, still showing the effects of a hyper extended knee suffered last week, fought for 12 yards on consecutive runs. On the next play the Rams secondary was flagged for an obvious pass interference call, and the quick first quarter ended with McDevitt in the red zone
From the CD 13, Barowski and Poteat took turns plunging between the tackles before a fourth down sneak by Johnson earned a first-and-goal at the 2. Poteat lost a yard on first down and was stopped for no gain on second down. Johnson ran a keeper on third down that gained a yard and McDevitt Head Coach Jeff Weachter elected to go for the touchdown. The Crusaders came out with Poteat lined up in the fullback spot and junior Darnell Holland behind him. At the snap Johnson moved to his right and tried to ride the ball with Poteat on an obvious option play, but the CD defensive line surge blew the play up as the partisan crowd roared in approval. The newly-inspired Rams then rumbled to the McD 33 before the McDevitt defense stiffened by forcing a pair of incompletions. The Crusaders were soon punting, though, and a 13 yard punt return spotted the ball at the McD 45. A LaVia pass to favorite receiver John Schnaars was good for 18 yards as time was running out in the first half. The Rams managed to advance to the McD 10 and Evan Brandes broke the scoreless tie with a 26 yard field goal and the half ended with CD holding onto a 3-0 lead.
McDevitt began the second half with another lackluster 3-and-out possession, and Deily's subsequent punt was a short one, traveling 24 yards. The CD couldn't take advantage and punted back, so McDevitt tried again from the McD 20. After Poteat ran for 3 Johnson hit sophomore Brian Lemelle with a short pass. Lemelle scooted for 3 yards before fumbling and the Rams recovered. A blitzing Holland sacked LaVia for a 6 yard loss before Schnaars grabbed a 26 yard pass, advancing to the McD 2. Issah scored on the next play and CD expanded the lead to 10-0, with 6:09 left in the third quarter. A wacky 12 play, 83 yard scoring drive followed, beginning with a 10 yard kickoff return by freshman Rashad Lawson. Poteat ran for 3 yards, followed by a 9 yard Johnson run that gained a first down. A short pass to Poteat was good for a 21 yard gain, but a blocking penalty dragged the ball back to the McD 30. A 5 yard Poteat run and a 7 yard Johnson scamper kept the drive alive before senior Courtney Mack made a dazzling one-handed catch of a Johnson pass over the middle. The 16 yard gain moved the ball to the CD 42 and was followed by a Johnson-Lemelle connection for 8 more. Poteat ran 3 yards for a first down at the CD 31 before consecutive sacks, totaling 14 yards, seemed to doom the drive. The irrepressible Johnson had other ideas. Dropping back to pass on 3rd-and-24, the agile senior was soon scrambling away from 3 Ram defenders. Johnson scooted to his left before reversing field with a pair of CD linemen in hot pursuit. Just before crossing the line of scrimmage Johnson pulled up and fired a pass to the wide-open Mack, who dashed down the left sideline and avoided a desperation tackle to score the touchdown. Connor Maloney tacked on the PAT and McDevitt had narrowed the lead to 10-7, with 36 seconds left in the quarter. CD advanced to the CD 39 as the quarter ended.
The final quarter began with a 7 yard Dean sack, forcing a 43 yard Ram punt that junior Shaun Seif returned to the McD 19. CD's stout defense frustrated the McDevitt attack again, though, and Deily came on to boot a 42 yarder, to the McD 30. From there the Rams launched the game's final scoring drive, moving 70 yards in 8 plays and utilizing Issah on 6 of them. When the impressive sophomore finally scored from a yard out there was 4:13 left in the game and CD had a 10 point lead. McDevitt's last gasp ended when CD recovered a Crusader fumble at the McD 42 and ran out the clock deep in McDevitt territory.
Next Friday, September 17th, the Crusaders travel to New Kingstown to meet the Cumberland Valley Eagles. Game time is 7:00 PM.
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