McDevitt Rebounds to Pound Eagles, 35-21
September 17- What a difference a week makes! Last Friday night the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders were reeling from a 17-7 loss to Central Dauphin, a game that saw the Rams dominate the line of scrimmage and smother the Crusader's potent offense. But tonight at Chapman Field it was a different story. McDevitt came out breathing fire, posting 14 points in the game's first 6 minutes on the way to a 35-21 victory over the Cumberland Valley Eagles. CV, which came into the game ranked in the top 10 of every Class AAAA poll in the state, fought back valiantly and tied the game before the half was out. But the Crusaders, led by the tandem of seniors Matt Johnson and Jameel Poteat, regained the lead before half time and reestablished dominance quickly in the second half. The offensive line, led by seniors Tony Harris and Justen Garlic, paved the way for Poteat's 231 rushing yards and 465 yards of total offense. On defense key interceptions by juniors Allan Holman and Anthony Shingara changed momentum, and Shingara added a fumble recovery to add to CV's frustration. McDevitt's ever-improving secondary teamed with a relentless pass rush to hold the Eagles usually potent passing attack to 10 completions and 122 yards through the air.
The game began with a CV kickoff into the end zone, so the first drive began from the McD 20. After an incomplete pass Poteat roared through a huge hole to gain 26 yards. A 2 yard Poteat run was followed by a 13 yard completion from Johnson to sophomore Brian Lemelle, and then Poteat fought for 6 more yards, to the CV 33. After another incompletion a patient Johnson found senior tight end Ted Deily over the middle for a 19 yard gain. Two consecutive Poteat runs tallied 13 yards before the rugged senior blasted over from the 1 to finish the 10 play, 80 yard drive. Sophomore Connor Maloney booted the first of his 5 successful PAT's and McDevitt had a 7-0 lead, with 8:24 left in the first quarter.
Maloney's kickoff was returned to the CV 19 and it was the Crusader defense's turn to shine. After an 8 yard gain Holman dropped CV's Jeremy Dipetro for a two yard loss, and then Eagle QB Eric Sawyer tried to throw a swing pass in the left flat. Holman jumped up to block the pass and somehow held on for the interception. Holman's excellent play gave McDevitt the ball at the CV 12 and the Crusaders quickly took advantage of the turnover. Poteat blasted for 4 tough yards before following a pulling Harris into the end zone to post McDevitt to a 14-0 advantage at the 6:06 mark. CV returned the ensuing kickoff to the CV 40 but the inspired Crusader defense forced a 3-and-out, leading to an Eagle punt to the McD 11. Poteat picked up where he left off, breaking off consecutive runs of 10 and 11 yards, but a personal foul penalty against McDevitt soured the advance. A short Johnson pass to senior Courtney Mack came up short of the first down, so Deily came on to drill a 41 yard punt, to the CV 35. The Eagle's running game began to pick up steam and they advanced deep into McDevitt territory before a holding penalty at the end of the quarter pushed them back to the McD 38.
The second quarter started with an 11 yard Sawyer scramble on 3rd down, and CV coach Tim Rimphel decided to go for it on 4th-and-7. It looked like McDevitt had stopped the drive when Sawyer was sacked and fumbled after an obvious holding call against CV, but a last second face mask penalty against the Crusaders offset the Eagle flag and the down was replayed. This time Sawyer completed a 22 yard pass to Colton Kirkpatrick and Sawyer snuck over from the 1 two plays later to narrow the McDevitt lead to 14-7, with 9:17 left in the first half. The aroused Eagle defense forced a 3-and-out of their own and, after a 27 yard Deily punt, CV had the ball at the McD 43. The Crusaders forced 3 consecutive incompletions and the Eagles punted again, but McDevitt was guilty of running into the kicker, a 5 yard penalty. Rimphel decided to forget the punt and go for the first down, but junior linebacker Brock Dean made the CV coach regret the decision by sacking Sawyer for a 3 yard loss. Junior Darnell Holland gave Poteat a breather and ran for 4 yards before Johnson and Lemelle connected for a 22 yard pass, to the CV 34. Three plays later (all Poteat runs) the Crusaders were faced with a 4th-and-2, at the CV 26. McDevitt came out in a Power I formation and Poteat followed his blockers over the left side but was stopped short. Momentum was moving over to the Cumberland Valley side of Chapman Field when the Eagles decided to feature their talented senior, Kevin Snyder. He totaled 18 yards on 2 carries, then caught an 8 yard pass to advance to the McD 44. On the next play the Rutgers-bound Snyder ran a counter play through the McDevitt defense for a 44 yard touchdown run that knotted the score at 14, with 2:41 left in the half. At this point many teams would be happy to head to the locker room with a tie, but the Crusaders weren't done scoring yet. Lemelle began the drive with a 21 yard kickoff return, to the McD 24. An incomplete pass and a delay penalty followed, but Poteat got things back on track with a 6 yard run. Next, Johnson stood tall in the pocket and waved his receivers into position before firing a bullet to Lemelle, who danced for a 33 yard gain to the CV 43. Johnson then dropped off a screen pass to Barowski, and he bulldozed his way to an 8 yard gain. Johnson scrambled for 2 yards to move the chains before throwing a swing pass to junior Shaun Seif that was good for 8 more. On the next play Johnson dropped back to pass as Poteat circled his way out of the backfield and down the left sideline. The senior signal-caller waited for his teammate to clear the defender before launching a rainbow of a pass that Poteat cradled at the five before flashing into the end zone. After Maloney's kick the Crusaders had regained the lead, 21-14, with 54 seconds left in the half. The Eagles made the most of the waning seconds, using short runs and passes to advance to the McD 34 before Deily and junior Tariq Spence sacked Sawyer to end the drive and the half.
The McDevitt defense turned in another big play in the opening moments of the 3rd quarter. The kickoff was returned to the CV 27 and one play later Sawyer tried a pass to Kirkpatrick over the middle, but Shingara alertly picked off the throw and fought off subsequent attempts to pull the ball loose. With the ball now on the CV 46, Johnson wasted no time in cashing in on the excellent field position. He retreated to pass, slipped, regained his balance and fired a long pass, deep downfield. Lemelle was striding toward the goal line as the pass came down and the speedy sophomore gathered it in for the score. The shocking play occurred with only 54 seconds elapsed in the third quarter and stretched the McDevitt lead to 28-14. The Eagles answered by driving from the CV 21 to the McD 12 on 8 running plays (and a Crusader personal foul penalty). On the next play, though, CV's Dan Flynn was stripped of the ball by Deily and junior Deandre Lawson before Shingara jumped on the loose pigskin at the McD 3. Poteat carried for 7 yards, and then 5 more to earn the first down before the talented senior ripped off a 46 yard run, following Barowski's crushing block and weaving through the Eagle secondary before being pulled down at the CV 40. On the next play Johnson ran an option play to his left, faked a pitch that brought an Eagle defender to his knees and sprinted to pay dirt for a 40 yard touchdown run that finished off the 97 yard scoring drive and moved the McDevitt advantage to 35-14, with 5:36 left in the 3rd. On the following kickoff Dipetro broke free and looked like he would score but the sophomore kicker Maloney, all 145 pounds of him, managed to slow Dipetro down enough for help to arrive and down the Eagle on the McD 31. Sawyer completed a 15 yard pass and two short runs led to CV facing a 4th-and-4 at the McD 10. Snyder got the call and fought for the first down, but when the chains were stretched the Eagles had come up inches short and McDevitt regained possession. Leading by 3 touchdowns at this point, McDevitt Coach Jeff Weachter decided to keep the ball on the ground and eat up some yards and clock at the same time. Poteat got the call 4 straight times and recorded runs of 10, 8, 14 and 1 yard. When a motion penalty and an incompletion stalled the advance Deily dropped back to punt and mortared a 43 yarder but the Eagles were guilty of roughing the kicker, so the Crusaders regained possession at the McD 48 as the quarter ended.
The two teams traded punts twice to start the 4th quarter before McDevitt got the ball at the McD 47. Poteat blasted for a 13 yard gain before the Crusaders committed its only turnover of the game, a fumble recovered by the Eagles at the CV 41. four plays later Snyder scooted in on a 5 yard scoring run to make the score 35-21, McDevitt, with 5 minutes left in the game. The rapidly-thinning home crowd sent out a weak cheer when the Eagles recovered the inevitable on side kick at the McD 48. A few McDevitt fans began to squirm in their seats as Sawyer quickly passed to Kirkpatrick for a 22 yard gain, but junior Noah Spence's sack of Sawyer and a motion penalty let the air out of the Eagle balloon. Sawyers 4th down scramble came up short for CV and McDevitt took over at the McD 17. Six Poteat carries included a vital first down that forced CV to use all of its time outs before Deily punted back to the Eagles with seconds remaining. The never-say-die home team managed to penetrate Crusader territory one last time before the McDevitt secondary snuffed out the games' last two passes and the visitor's sideline erupted in celebration.
Next Saturday, September 25th, the Crusaders welcome the Susquehanna Township Indians, coached by McDevitt grad Joel Headen, to McDevitt Field. Game time is 10:30 AM, and Crusader fans are asked to wear gold for a “Gold Rush” Saturday.
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