October 1- Tonight's game against the Lower Dauphin Falcons was a showcase for McDevitt senior quarterback, Matt Johnson. The LD coaches decided to stack the line of scrimmage to control the Crusader's rushing game, which is led by senior Jameel Poteat. This strategy allowed Johnson to pick apart the Falcon's secondary and he responded with 16 completions in 19 attempts, good for 301 yards and 3 touchdown passes. McDevitt quarterbacks (sophomore Alec Werner finished the game) targeted 7 different receivers and directed an offense that gained 20 first downs and over 400 yards of total offense. On defense junior end Noah Spence continued his amazing season by again dominating the line of scrimmage, and the Crusader defense added 2 fumble recoveries.

McDevitt won the coin toss and elected to receive, then watched the opening kickoff sail past the goal line for a touchback. On first down from the McD 20 Johnson threw a short bubble screen to junior Sean Seif and Seif motored 61 yards, to the LD 19. After 2 Poteat runs netted 5 yards Johnson hit sophomore Brian Lemelle with a 14 yard scoring pass. Sophomore Connor Maloney tacked on the first of his 6 successful PAT's and McDevitt had a 7-0 lead with only 1:43 off the game clock. The Falcons then controlled the ball for 10 plays, moving from the LD 28 to the McD 27 before surrendering the ball on downs. The Crusaders advanced to the LD 48 before a fumbled exchange was recovered by LD at the McD 45. On the next play, though, junior defensive back Maurice Jeter stripped the ball from a Falcon runner and senior linebacker Frank Simoncelli pounced on it, returning the ball to the McD 32. Using a Johnson-to-Seif connection that was good for 21 yards, the Crusaders moved into LD territory as the first quarter ended.

McDevitt's possession ended after an incomplete pass and a holding penalty, so Maloney punted to the LD 17. The Crusader held LD to another 3-and-out so the Falcons punted the ball back, a 43 yard effort that rolled dead on the McD 43. Johnson began this scoring drive with a 12 yard swing pass to Poteat, followed by an 8 yard Poteat run. Johnson went back to Poteat on the next play after avoiding the pass rush, floating another pass in the flat that Poteat turned into a 26 yard gain, to the LD 14. Poteat ran for 5 and then senior fullback Sean Barowski bulled for another yard. Poteat appeared to have a touchdown on the next play but a holding penalty moved the spot back to the LD 10. After an incompletion Maloney came on to attempt a field goal but McDevitt caught a break. Lower Dauphin was hit with an off sides penalty, moving the ball to the LD 5. McDevitt head coach Jeff Weachter decided to go for the first down and Poteat temporarily quieted the Crusaders' notoriously fickle fans by gaining the first down. On the next play Poteat powered over the goal line and McDevitt's lead had grown to 14-0, with 7:12 left in the half. The Falcons then put together a 62 yard scoring series, highlighted by a 60 yard pass from quarterback Casey Kulina to end Brad Ebersole. Marco Palermo ran the final 2 yards and Lower Dauphin narrowed the lead to 14-7 at the 6:28 mark. After another touchback the Crusaders took only 6 plays and 2:20 to travel 80 yards and re-establish the 14 point lead. Johnson began the drive with an 11 yard gain to Lemelle and passed again to the swift sophomore for 16 more yards one play later. After Poteat was stuffed for a yard loss Johnson sailed a deep pass down the right sideline that Seif hauled in for a 43 yard advance. Now on the LD 11, Johnson finished things off with a bullet pass to senior Matt Boland. The connection was Boland's first career touchdown and made the score 21-7, McDevitt, with 4:08 remaining in the half. In the next series the Falcons tried a shuffle pass but Spence caught Palermo from behind and forced a fumble. Alert junior Anthony Shingara made the recovery and McDevitt had excellent field position at the LD 23. The Crusaders actually went backwards from there, courtesy of a penalty and a sack. Now facing a 3rd-and-17 at the LD 30, Johnson correctly anticipated a Lower Dauphin blitz and floated a rainmaker down the left sideline. Boland ran under the toss and gathered it in for his second score in less than 3 minutes, as the McDevitt lead bulged to 28-7. The last Falcon series was stalled by a Spence sack and the home team ended the half with a 3 touchdown deficit.

The second half began with an LD 3-and-out and the Falcons punted out of bounds at the McD 33. Two Johnson-Lemelle connections moved the Crusaders to midfield but the drive stalled and Maloney punted to the LD 10. The Falcons were pinned near the goal line thanks to another Spence sack, but a splendid 65 yard punt appeared to rescue the home team. The Falcons were flagged for for procedure on the kick, however, and were forced to replay the down. This time the snap sailed over the punter's head and out of the end zone for a safety, and McDevitt had a 30-7 lead. After LD's free kick the suddenly listless offense couldn't advance, leading to a 31 yard Maloney punt to the LD 35. The Falcons were equally ineffective and, with the aid of a blocking penalty against the Crusaders, pinned McDevitt back at the McD 7 as the third quarter ended.

The final quarter started with a 2 yard Poteat run, followed by a 9 yard Johnson-to-Poteat effort that moved the chains. Lemelle hauled in another accurate Johnson toss for a 15 yard gain, to the LD 33. From there Poteat followed Barowski's brutal block and sprinted down the left sideline for a 67 yard scoring jaunt, leading to a 37-7 McDevitt lead. After the next Falcon possession fizzled out at midfield Werner relieved Johnson and promptly passed to Courtney Mack for an 18 yard gain. Three plays later freshman Rashad Lawson squirted around left and and dashed down field for a 46 yard touchdown run that accounted for the final score. The Falcons tried desperately to score again against the McDevitt reserves, but the Crusaders withstood the final 9 play drive by holding fast at the McD 14 as the clock ran out.

Next Saturday, October 9th, the Crusaders welcome the Cedar Cliff Colts to McDevitt Field. Game time is 10:30 AM


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