McDevitt Stuns Gateway 23-
September 4- The Bishop McDevitt Crusaders opened the 2010 football season today by going toe-to-toe with a traditional Western Pennsylvania power, the Gateway Gators. When the contest had ended on this beautiful September afternoon McDevitt had recorded a 23-0 victory, but don't be fooled by the final score. The Crusaders had to fight for every yard against a tough and speedy Gateway defense, led by dynamic safety Armstead Williams, but the McDevitt defense was even more effective. They held the Gators to a total of 96 yards and only 5 first downs and forced two turnovers, a laudable accomplishment for a rebuilt unit that starts only 2 seniors. Senior quarterback Matt Johnson led the unrelenting Crusader attack, passing for 126 yards and cleverly scrambling for 37 more yards and a touchdown on the ground. Sophomore kicker Connor Maloney chipped in with 11 points on 3 field goals and 2 PAT's, and impressed onlookers with his booming kickoffs.
McDevitt won the opening coin toss and elected to defer, so Maloney kicked off to the Gators and the subsequent return was carried to the GW19. On the first play sophomore QB Thomas Woodson just missed Williams on a long pass, but the fierce Crusader pass rush, a key component in McDevitt's pass defense all day, soon forced a punt to the McD 42. Johnson started off the drive with a bubble screen to sophomore Sean Seif, goo for an 8 yard gain. Senior running back Jameel Poteat then fought for a first down on a 4 yard run. After a 1 yard Poteat tote Johnson found senior tight end Ted Deily over the middle for a 10 yard gain, to the GW 35. A motion penalty followed before Johnson completed consecutive passes, first a 7 yarder to senior Courtney Mack and then a 1 yard toss to Poteat. Facing a 4th-and-4 at the GW 29, Johnson alertly scrambled for 9 yards to keep the chains moving. Two Poteat carries netted 6 yards before bullish senior fullback Sean Barowski blasted up the middle for a first down at the GW 10. A 3rd down sack of Johnson stalled the drive, though, so Maloney trotted on the field and booted a 32 yard field goal to end the 15 play drive and give McDevitt a 3-0 lead, with 4:13 left in the opening quarter. Maloney sailed the subsequent kickoff into the end zone for a touch back and Woodson quickly connected with Williams on a 37 yard pass play. Sophomore tailback Darin Franklin ran for 7 and then a 5 yard facemask penalty against the Crusaders gave Gateway consecutive first downs at the McD 31. The Gators suffered two motion penalties before Franklin ran for 4. On the next play Woodson dropped back to pass as Barowski blitzed up the middle. Woodson veered to his left to avoid the blitz and was promptly flattened by junior defensive end Noah Spence, forcing a fumble. Junior tackle DeAndre Lawson scooped up the bouncing pigskin and returned ti to the GW 40. McDevitt couldn't advance, though, and Deily came on to kick a 39 yard punt for a touchback. Two short Franklin gained 2 total yards and ended the quarter.
The second quarter began with a Gator draw play losing 4 yards so Gateway punted again, a short one that rolled dead at the GW 43. Again the McDevitt offense couldn't generate momentum and the drive fizzled at the GW 37. Another 3-and-out ensued, as Spence shared a sack with his brother, Tariq, on 3rd down at the GW 33. Seif returned the punt to the McD 35 and the Crusader “O” was ready to try again. Things were looking bleak by third down, however, as a penalty and a couple of incompletions led to a 3rd-and-15. Johnson jump-started the drive, though, scrambling for 16 key yards to keep possession. Poteat started to get some running room as he strung together runs of 7, 2 and 15 yards. Once again it looked like the Crusader drive had stalled, as a penalty and 2 incompletions led to a 4th and 13 situation. Undeterred, Johnson threw a bullet to sophomore wide receiver Brian Lemelle, who slanted for a 23 yard gain, to the GW10. Then Johnson dropped back to pass but found no open receivers. The heady senior took off to his left and cruised across the goal line for a 10 yard touchdown run. Maloney's successful PAT with 2:27 left in the half stretched thew McDevitt lead to 10-0. The Maloney kickoff that followed was a thing of beauty. The diminutive sophomore popped the kickoff high in the air, about 40 yards downfield. It looked like the ball would kick out of bounds, but it landed inches from the sideline and bounced straight up. Junior linebacker Brock Dean sprinted toward the falling football and launched himself into the air, grabbing the football before falling down at the GW 23 as coaches and players on the McDevitt sideline exploded with joy. Runs by Poteat and Barowski advanced the ball inside the 10, but the Gator defense stiffened and Maloney tacked on a 23 yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the half to swell the half time advantage to 13-0.
Seif returned the second half kickoff 25 yards, to the McD 27, before Poteat fought for 3 tough yards. On the next play Johnson went back to the slant and connected with Lemelle at the McD 41. Lemelle raced across the field and turned on the jets before he was finally pulled down at the GW 14. The 56 yard pass play set the Crusaders up at the GW 14, but a holding call on the next play pushed the spot back to the 21. Johnson was sacked for a 7 yard loss before scrambling for 8. His 3rd down pass to Lemelle was good for a 5 yard gain but far short of a first down, so Maloney reappeared and split the uprights with a 32 yard field goal. Now leading 16-0, the McDevitt defense continued its domination and forced another 3-and-out, which ended with a high Gateway snap and a 9 yard punt. The 7 play scoring drive that followed put the icing on the cake for McDevitt. It started with a 9 yard Poteat run, followed by a 1 yard Poteat plunge that earned the first down. Sophomore Darnell Holland, who sparkled from his free safety spot, came on to give Poteat a breather and ran for a yard. On the next play Johnson passed to Barowski in the flat and the 240 lb. senior bulldozed his way to an 8 yard gain. Then Holland took Johnson's handoff and disappeared into the pile over center. Somehow he emerged from the other end of the pile and fought to the 2 yard line for a valiant 23 yard gain. A play after Holland's splendid effort Poteat strolled around left end for the touchdown. Maloney's last of his 11 points made the score 23-0, with 3:26 left in the third quarter, and sealed Gateway's fate. The Gators suffered another 3-and-out and were forced to punt again, and then an 11 yard sack spoiled the Crusaders plans as the 3rd quarter ended.
The final stanza began with another fine Deily punt, a 52 yarder that went for a touchback. Woodson produced some excitement by scrambling for 36 yards before the McDevitt defense ramped up the pass rush, which led to 4 straight incomplete passes. The rest of the game was played between the 30's, as Barowski ended one Gateway threat with an interception and the 6th Gator punt ended another. McDevitt was content to run the ball to finish the game, giving Poteat a well-deserved rest and allowing Holland and freshman Rashad Lawson to record varsity yardage and gain some valuable playing time.
Next Friday, September 10th, The Crusaders travel to Colonial Park to play the Central Dauphin Rams. Game time at Landis Field is 7:00 PM.
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