MCDEVITT OUTLASTS HARRISBURG, 21-7
November 6- The Bishop McDevitt Crusaders finished the 2010 regular season this afternoon with a 21- 7 win over the Harrisburg Cougars at Severance Field. The story of the game was the dominant Crusader defense. Although the Cougars were hampered by the loss of quarterback Jalen Fitzpatrick to injury in the second quarter, the McDevitt “D” played with such a relentless fury that Harrisburg would have struggled to score even with the talented Fitzgerald. Defensive linemen DeAndre Lawson, Ted Deily, Frank Simoncelli and Tariq and Noah Spence limited the Cougars to 133 yards rushing, and 85 came on one play. Linebackers Sean Barowski, Brock Dean, Alan Holman and Jayraun Smith covered the field sideline-to-sideline and even accounted for the go-ahead score. The fast-improving secondary, with members Devacio McGowan, Maurice Geter, Darnell Holland and Miles Williams, didn't allow a single completed pass and chipped in with two key interceptions. On offense McDevitt found the going tough all afternoon, but quarterback Matt Johnson fought through the pain of a couple of minor injuries to direct the unit to a pair of scores.
Harrisburg returned sophomore Connor Maloney's kickoff to the HBG 22 and suffered a motion penalty on the next play. Then the shifty Fitzpatrick ran a keeper, but Noah Spence blasted Fitzpatrick from the side, causing a fumble. Holland pounced on the loose pigskin and McDevitt was in business at the HBG 18. Johnson flipped a short pass to senior Jameel Poteat for an 8 yard gain and then threw an incompletion. Poteat fought for 5 yards and a first down on the next play, and then was brought down for a 2 yard loss. Johnson ran a 3 yard keeper before dropping back to pass. He adroitly avoided 2 onrushing Cougars and slipped over right end to score the game's first touchdown, with 10:09 left in the first quarter. Maloney's PAT made the score 7-0, McDevitt. Harrisburg was held to a 3-and-out and Poteat took the ensuing punt and returned it 29 yards, to the HBG 41. A third down sack quickly ended the drive and Johnson booted a 41 yard punt that rolled dead at the HBG 8. Fitzpatrick then ran a keeper for 7 yards before shocking the overflow crowd with an 85 yard touchdown run that looked too easy. Jon Willingham's PAT at the 7:06 mark knotted the score at 7. After Dean returned the short kickoff to the McD 42 Johnson's pass was tipped, then intercepted at the McD 46. The Crusader defense was up to the challenge, though, as Barowski and Noah Spence's pressure on Fitzpatrick forced an incomplete pass on 3rd down. The punt that followed was fielded by junior Shaun Seif at the McD 19 and returned 5 yards. Then, despite a couple of Johnson-Seif hookups the Crusaders were forced to punt again, with Johnson's punt this time rolling dead at the HBG 22. The teams then traded punts again as the quarter ended.
The second quarter began with McDevitt punting to Harrisburg, Johnson's kick stopping at the HBG 28. Then, facing a 3rd-and-16 at the HBG 32, a frustrated Fitzpatrick threw a long wobbler downfield that was intercepted by Geter at midfield. From there Johnson passed for a 9 yard gain to sophomore Brian Lemelle and snuck for 3 yards and a first down one play later. The senior QB then passed to Seif for a 16 yard gain, good for a first down at the HBG 22. On the next play Lemelle gathered in another accurate Johnson pass, but fumbled and Harrisburg recovered at the HBG 11. Then came the turning point of the game. Harrisburg's Ray Burnett tried to sweep around left end but was stopped by Simoncelli and Holman. Dean ran over and ripped the ball away from Burnett, and Barowski followed the bouncing ball into the end zone and fell on it. After Maloney's PAT McDevitt had regained a lead, 14-7, the it wouldn't relinquish. On the second play after the kickoff that followed, Fitzpatrick was flattened by Dean along he McDevitt sideline and left the game for good with an ankle injury. Harrisburg punted to the Crusaders one play later and McDevitt launched a drive that stalled at the HBG 33. The Cougars had time for one more yardless play before the half ended.
Two things became apparent rather quickly in the second half: Jalen Fitzpatrick was not returning to the game, and Harrisburg was not able to move the ball without him. McDevitt Coach Jeff Weachter soon had two goals: to push over an insurance score and run out the clock. McDevitt looked to be on the way for a score on the first possession of the second half, as the Crusaders mixed short Poteat runs with quick passes to Seif and Lemelle. But the Harrisburg defense is a proud bunch, and an 11 yard sack of Johnson turned back the threat and led to a short punt to the HBG 32. The Cougars were soon returning the favor, this time punting a low line drive that Seif fielded on a dead run at the McD 40. The fearless Seif bounced off a would-be tackler and raced down the sideline, finally getting pushed out of bounds at the HBG 32. The 28 yard returned jump-started the McDevitt offense, as Johnson quickly fired a bullet to Lemelle for a 7 yard gain and followed with a 4 yard scramble that moved the chains. One play later Poteat took a pitch and followed key blocks by Noah Spence, Dean and Lemelle to trot untouched into the end zone. After Maloney's perfect PAT McDevitt led 21-7 and Weachter had his insurance score. The Cougars next drive ended with an interception, this time by McGowan, who made a dandy over-the-shoulder pick at the McD 10. The teams then traded punts to end the third quarter.
It was much of the same in the final stanza, as Harrisburg was unable to gain yards on the ground and helpless to stop the Crusader pass rush. McDevitt was satisfied to protect its two touchdown lead with Poteat runs and short passes to Seif and Lawson. Johnson punted twice more, one time pinning the Cougars back at the HBG 9. The final minutes ticked away with sophomore Alec Werner at the controls for McDevitt, as Johnson rested up for the upcoming playoffs.
Next Saturday, November 13th, Bishop McDevitt begins play in the PIAA District 3 Class AAA playoffs. As the #3 seed the Crusaders will meet the Kennard Dale Rams, who posted a 5-5 record in Section 2 of the York County League. Game time is 1:00 PM.
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