Crusaders Flatten Kennard Dale to Open Playoffs, 45-24


November 13- The 2010 PIAA District 3 Class AAA football playoffs began this afternoon for the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders. In front of a small but vocal crowd at Landis Field, the Crusaders blitzed the opponent, the Kennard Dale Rams, with a 45 point first half on the way to a 45-24 victory. The Rams, who were the 13th seed in the playoffs (McDevitt is seeded 3rd), spent the first half watching McDevitt players, on offense and on defense, blow past them before rallying to save face in the second half against the Crusader reserves.

            If the usual methods to ascertain competitiveness (strength of schedule, quality of opponents, etc...) were not enough to convince people that this game was a serious mismatch, then the opening kickoff probably did the trick. Junior defensive back Miles Williams fielded his first kickoff of the year, a short boot to the McD 33, and proceeded to slash through the bewildered KD defense on the way to a 77 yard touchdown run. By the time sophomore Connor Maloney had booted the extra point, 14 seconds had elapsed off of the game clock and McDevitt had a 7-0 lead. Maloney's subsequent kickoff was returned to the KD 22 and 3 plays later the Rams were punting, a short boot that rolled out of bounds at the McD 48. Senior Jameel Poteat ripped off a 5 yard run before senior quarterback Matt Johnson dropped back and fired an accurate toss to senior tight end Ted Deily. Deily gathered in the pass, wheeled around and outsprinted the KD secondary to the goal line for a 47 yard scoring play and  a 14-0 McDevitt lead, at the 9:36 mark in the first quarter. The Rams managed a first down on the next series before punting to junior Shaun Seif, who had a beautiful 37 yard punt return spoiled by a blocking penalty. The Crusaders started at the McD 27 and ended at the KD 6 , 14 plays later, thanks to a 14 yard Johnson-Seif connection, 7 Poteat runs and a favorable pass interference penalty. When the drive stalled Maloney drilled a 23 yard field goal to widen the Crusader margin to 17-0. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by KD and junior linebacker Alan Holman recovered at the KD 26. Poteat ran for 4 yards and Johnson scrambled for 13 more before the quarter ended.

            Two short Poteat runs positioned the Crusaders near the goal line as the second quarter began. Johnson then lofted a short pass to Seif, circling out of the backfield in the left flat. The speedy junior followed sophomore Brian Lemelle's block and scored untouched, pushing the lead to 24-0. Then, two plays after the kickoff, the Rams fumbled and junior tackle Tariq Spence recovered at the KD 22. From there it took McDevitt 3 plays to score: a 4 yard Poteat run, a 10 yard Lemelle reception and an 8 yard scoring jaunt by Poteat, who followed junior fullback Jayraun Smith's fine block. The lead had suddenly balloon ed to 31-0, and there was still 9:31 left in the first half. The Rams had limited success on the next series, managing a first down on a roughing-the-passer penalty, before being forced to punt to the McD 33. From there the Crusaders scored in 4 quick plays. First, Johnson connected with Lemelle for a 31 yard gain. Junior Darnell Holland, the starting safety, came on to give Poteat a breather and ran for 4 yards. Then Johnson passed to Deily, and the senior ran for a 30 yard gain, to the KD 2. Poteat finished it from there and, in the process, became McDevitt's all-time touchdown leader. With the lead now 38-0, Kennard Dale still couldn't solve the McDevitt defense and punted for the 5th time in the half, another short one that Seif returned 16 yards, to the KD 38.  Two plays later the Crusaders ran a screen pass to Seif, coming in from left end. Seif juked one would-be tackler, darted away from another and darted to paydirt for a 33 yard touchdown, making the score McDevitt 45, Kennard Dale 0. The Rams proceeded to run 3 more plays to end the half.

            The second half was played under the “Mercy Rule”, which features a continuously-running game clock. The McDevitt coaching staff decided to rest the starters and give the reserves some well-earner playing time. To their credit (and the credit of the coaching staff) the Rams never sulked or hung their heads, and played the second half with passion. KD ripped off a 7 play, 75 yard scoring drive and   added a two point conversion at the 7:10 mark in the third quarter. The McDevitt offense, now quarterbacked by Alec Werner, was cursed by dropped passes and McDevitt had to punt for the first time in the game. The Rams managed to squeeze into Crusader territory before a fumble ended the drive. Holland had 3 impressive runs sandwiched around a personal foul penalty against KD as the quarter ended. Behind Holland's impressive running and the blocking of the second McDevitt offensive line, the Crusaders moved inside the KD 5 as the 4th quarter began. An angry Ram defense stiffened, however, and Werner was sacked on 4th down before McDevitt could do any more damage. This time Kennard Dale went 89 yards in 7 plays, keeping the young McDevitt defense scrambling. A 38 yard touchdown run by Dan Hare was followed by another successful 2 point conversion cutting the McDevitt lead to 45-16, with 3:06 left in the game. After the kickoff Emmanuel Gilkey scooped up a McDevitt fumble and dashed 34 yards for another score and, after a 3rd successful 2 point conversion, the score was a more respectable 45-24. The following kickoff went out of bounds and the Crusaders ran out the clock to end the game.

            Next Friday, November 19th, the Crusaders will return to Landis Field to play the Hershey Trojans. McDevitt faced Hershey in the regular season and won, 49-10. Game time is 7:00 PM.       



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