November 19th- The Bishop McDevitt Crusaders advanced to the semifinals of the PIAA District 3 Class AAAA football playoffs tonight by blasting the Hershey Trojans, 63-0, before an enthusiastic crowd at Central Dauphin's Landis Field. The game was a rematch of a November 6th contest, won by McDevitt, 49-10. In that game Hershey jumped out to a 10-0 lead before the Crusaders rallied for 49 unanswered points. Tonight McDevitt dominated from the start, putting up 42 first half points that allowed McDevitt coach Jeff Weacher to clear his bench in the second half.


For the second week in a row junior Miles Williams returned the opening kickoff, but this week's 1 yard return was 70 yards short of last week's scoring jaunt, starting the Crusaders at the McD 35. Senior running back Jameel Poteat ran for 13 yards before senior quarterback Matt Johnson passed McDevitt into Trojan territory with a 13 yard connection with sophomore Brian Lemelle. Two short Poteat runs and an incomplete pass wasn't enough to keep the drive alive, though, so Johnson pooched a punt that rolled out of bounds at the HER 17. Junior Noah Spence's sack on third down then set the stage for Hershey's first punt, which was fielded by Poteat and returned 43 yards, to the HER 10. The rugged senior then carried three consecutive times, the last a 5 yard scoring run that got McDevitt on the scoreboard. Sophomore Connor Maloney booted the first of his 9 successful extra points and McDevitt had a 7-0 lead, with 6:14 left in the first quarter. Maloney's deep kickoff then had the Trojans starting at the HER 8. They managed to advance to the 23 before McDevitt senior Frank Simoncelli recovered a fumble and returned it to the 7. Johnson lofted a floater to Lemelle on the next play for a 7 yard touchdown and the McDevitt lead expanded to 14-0. Two plays after the ensuing kickoff Crusader senior Sean Barowski fell on another Hershey fumble, this time at the HER 21. An 8 yard pass to Spence, a 9 yard Johnson plunge and a 4 yard Poteat run led to a 21-0 McDevitt lead and the rout was on. The Trojans then used a good kick return to advance to midfield as the first quarter ended.


Two plays into the second quarter Hershey fumbled for the third time in the game and the  junior Darnell Holland recovered at the McD 48. Johnson quickly went up top to Lemelle for 16 and then found junior Shaun Seif for consecutive completions, a 9 yarder and a 2 yarder, to advance to the HER 25. A facemask penalty against Hershey on a Poteat run followed, and then Poteat followed massive senior guard Tony Harris through the tiring Trojan line into the end zone to stake the Crusaders to a 28-0 lead, with 9:05 left in the first half. Hershey was soon forced to punt again and the Crusaders began the next drive from the McD 41. Johnson started things off with a sideline pass to senior Matt Boland and the lanky receiver sprinted for a 37 yard gain. One play later a Johnson-Lemelle hookup spotted the ball at the HER 7. It only took Poteat two carries from there to score his fourth touchdown of the evening, giving McDevitt a 35-0 first half lead. A chop block penalty against Hershey had the Trojans operating deep in their own territory on the next series, and matters got worse for the visitors when Spence forced a fumble on a sack and senior Ted Deily cradled the loose pigskin at the HER 13. Johnson took off one play later, avoiding the pass rush and bouncing across the goal line with 4:33 left in the half. Hershey went three-and-out and punted, but the Crusaders were hampered by a holding penalty and a sack so Johnson punted back to the Trojans, at the HER 37. The brutal McDevitt defense quickly forced yet another punt and Seif returned the kick 30 yards, to the HER 45. Any hopes for a final score were doused by a fumbled pitch and an illegal shift penalty, so Johnson took a knee to end the half.


The “Mercy Rule”, with its continuously running game clock, was in effect for the entire second half, but the Crusaders didn't waste any time adding to the 42-0 lead. On the second play of the third quarter junior cornerback Devacio McGowan stepped in front of an errant Hershey pass and returned it 38 yards for his first score of the 2010 season. The McDevitt forced another punting situation for Hershey, and the Trojan's miserable evening was just about complete when the snap on the punt attempt sailed over the punter's head and McDevitt recovered at the HER 8. With sophomore quarterback Alec Werner now leading the attack McDevitt took advantage of the miscue by featuring Holland at tailback. The speedy junior ran for 3 yards and then finished things off with a 5 yard touchdown run for a 56-0 lead, with 7:07 left in the third quarter. Hershey  tried to advance as the game clock wasted away, but the McDevitt reserves were up to the task, turning back the Trojans and forcing a fake punt attempt that was thwarted at the McD 39. From there Werner led a 9 play, 61 yard scoring drive that used up the rest of the third quarter and a good deal of the fourth. Beefy freshman Ben Mosey started the drive with a 1 yard run, then Werner completed consecutive short passes, for 5 yards to senior Courtney Mack and for 4 yards to junior Khalid Carter. Junior fullback Jayraun Smith, who also excelled at linebacker, rumbled for 10 yards and a facemask penalty tacked on 15 more. Smith then ran for 6 yards and then 1 more behind the active McDevitt reserve offensive line. Mosey added 2 more carries to net 9 yards before Smith ripped through the middle of the Hershey line to score from 12 yards out. Hershey then put together its longest drive of the game, advancing to the McD 36 before the McDevitt youngsters on defense stood their ground and forced an incompletion on fourth down. Mosey then took advantage of his varsity playing time by ripping off a series of impressive runs, as the promising freshman led the final drive deep into Hershey territory before the game ended.

Next Friday night, November 26th, the Crusaders take to the road to meet the Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers for a District 3 Class AAA semi-final contest. Game time at Pioneer Field is 7:00 PM.


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